‘iwi kupuna

Jun 8, 2011

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) has commissioned $62,000 to Ka Huli Ao for research and publication on information of Native Hawaiian rights and ‘iwi kupuna (ancestral bones).

Ka Huli Ao is the Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law, which is run by the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law. Working with OHA, Ka Huli Ao plans to provide community members with educational books on Hawaiian rights and artifacts. “Our target audience is the community,” says Kapua Sproat, assistant law professor at UH–Manoa. According to her, Ka Huli Ao will conduct further studies and work to translate current material to be more reader-friendly for the community. “We’re looking to explain issues not from a legal frame, but a cultural frame and a native perspective.”

Although matters concerning indigenous Hawaiians drive the content, Sproat adds that the resources are targeted towards anyone interested in Hawaiian law.

“It’s easy to reprint what law says, but it’s a challenge to interpret that and explain to community members why this matters,” she says. Using this fund toward cultural empowerment, Ka Huli Ao will be able to expose the skeletons in Hawaii’s closet.

Contributed by Honolulu Weekly and by Kathleen de Lara