Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bankruptcy and ancient Native Hawaiian Burials

I recently wrote in a blog entry that I tend to provide links to the Honolulu Star Bulletin more frequently that the Honolulu Advertiser because after a while the Honolulu Advertiser limits access to their articles if it is older than 2 months which is different than how the Star Bulletin handles back issues. While doing a google search however, I found a relevant 1-year old article from the Advertiser that ties in nicely with this blog entry.

Both Pacific Business News and the Honolulu Star Bulletin report that General Growth Properties Inc. is having financial troubles. Pacific Business News provides that, "Last week, General Growth Properties reported a quarterly loss of $15.4 million, suspended its shareholder dividend and said it would halt plans for any new construction or development."
The Star Bulletin reported "General Growth, beset by falling funds from operations and plagued by a tightening global credit market that's making it difficult for companies to obtain financing, is trying to sell off properties and cut costs to weather the rocky economic climate."

General Growth Properties is relevant to burials because one of its development projects unearthed many ancient Native Hawaiian burials.

A May 2, 2007 Honolulu Advertiser article explained that more than 45 sets of ancient Native Hawaiian remains were found at the Ward-area project site; and the future home of a Whole-Foods store. Originally 11 sets of human remains were found. Then later, and supposedly to the "surprise" of General Growth, 36 more Native Hawaiian ancient remains were found in the same area. Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners expressed concern as to the culturally and spiritually insensitive treatment of these unearthed burials. Attorney Moses Haia is reported in the article as wanting the human remains stay in the place in which they were found.

Honolulu Magazine also has a 2007 article on the Ward burials issue also, titled Bones of Contention.  The article appears to be quite thorough and more lengthy that the previously cited Honolulu Advertiser article. Unlike the Honolulu Advertiser article, Honolulu Magazine is more critical. Honolulu Magazine reported that, under state law, SHPD is tasked with protecting vestiges of Hawaii’s past. Its staff is supposed to review proposed projects for potential harm to historic sites and burials. If a site could be affected, SHPD is supposed to require the developer to hire an archaeologist to survey the property before any construction begins and make sure the survey is done right. That way, the developer can redesign the project while it’s still being planned, as opposed to being built.

This never happened at the Ward Village Shops.

The articles are a year or more old and since the disturbance of those buried remains, construction has resumed. It's interesting now to see what will come of General Growth Properties given its current financial situation. Will the corporation have to discontinue its development efforts because of its inability to refinance? Will General Growth have to resort to selling its property at Ward? Neither article discusses the burials issue as it relates to General Growth so you may be reading it here first. This is definitely something to keep an out for. 

Below is a map of the area and the other a picture of the site.  The map comes from the Honolulu Advertiser and the photo comes from Honolulu Magazine


Kiapolo said...

Kinda like how people in California are protesting against the Mormon church and desecrating their temples and chapels about their stance on Prop. 8, and then California is all burning to hell after that...


One said...

Do you have a source we can refer to, to learn more about this desecration to Mormon temples and chapels?