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Native American Graves Protection and

Repatriation Review Committee

Dispute Findings


Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee Findings and Recommendations Regarding a Dispute Between Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei and the Bishop Museum
June 1 , 2005

[Federal Register: June 1, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 104)]
[Notices]
[Page 31514-31515]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr01jn05-117]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

National Park Service

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review
Committee Findings and Recommendations Regarding a Dispute Between Hui
Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei and the Bishop Museum

AGENCY: National Park Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: At a March 13-15, 2005, public meeting in Honolulu, HI, the
Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee
(Review Committee) considered a dispute between Hui Malama I Na Kupuna
O Hawai'i Nei and the Bishop Museum. The dispute focused on whether
three items from the Island of Moloka'i in the possession of the Bishop
Museum are subject to repatriation under provisions of the Native
American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The Review Committee
recommended that the Bishop Museum proceed toward repatriation of the
three objects to the appropriate claimants.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On May 2, 2003, the Bishop Museum published
a Notice of Intent to Repatriate in the Federal Register. The notice
identified a small wooden image carved into human form and a cowrie
shell as unassociated funerary objects culturally affiliated with the
Moloka'i Burial Council, Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei, and the
Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

On August 29, 2003, Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei filed a
claim with the Bishop Museum to repatriate the small wooden image and
cowrie shell.

On October 21, 2003, Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei asked the
Bishop Museum to explain why a rock oyster shell pendant that had also
been previously listed as an unassociated funerary object on the
museum's Moloka'i inventory had not been included in the May 2, 2003
notice.

On November 8, 2004, Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei requested
the assistance of the Review Committee in resolving its dispute with
the Bishop Museum. The request also included an allegation that the
Bishop Museum failed to comply with the repatriation provisions of the
Act.

On December 17, 2004, the Review Committee's designated Federal
officer acknowledged receipt of the November 8, 2004, request and
identified questions as to whether the rock oyster shell pendant was an
unassociated funerary object or whether the museum had right of
possession to the three items as issues of fact with which the Review
Committee might wish to assist in resolving. The same day, the
allegation of failure to comply was referred to the Director, National
Park Service for investigation.

On February 2, 2005, the Bishop Museum notified the Review
Committee that the museum intended to publish a Notice of Intent to
Repatriate identifying the rock oyster pendant as an unassociated
funerary object. The museum also notified the Review Committee that it
did not intend to assert right of possession to either the cowrie shell
or the rock oyster pendant. The museum did assert a right of possession
to the carved wooden figure.

On February 18, 2005, the Review Committee's designated Federal
officer notified Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei and the Bishop
Museum that the Review Committee had agreed to assist in the resolution
of the dispute at its next meeting.

On March 1, 2005, the Review Committee's designated Federal officer
sent letters to two claimants inviting them to provide information to
the Review Committee: Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts and Na
Lei Ali'i Kawananakoa.

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
On March 13-15, 2005, the Review Committee considered the dispute
as presented by representatives of Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i
Nei, Bishop Museum, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Royal Hawaiian Academy
of Traditional Arts, and Na Lei Ali'i Kawananakoa and made the
following findings:

[[Page 31515]]

1. The identification of the carved wooden image, cowrie shell, and
rock oyster pendant as unassociated funerary objects is not in dispute.
2. The Bishop Museum has asserted it has right of possession to the
carved wooden figure.
3. A claim of right of possession to an unassociated funerary
object requires a museum or Federal agency to provide evidence that the
unassociated funerary object was acquired with the voluntary consent of
an individual, Indian tribe, or Native Hawaiian organization with
authority to alienate the cultural item [25 U.S.C. 3001 (13)].
4. Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei presented evidence to
support a finding that the Bishop Museum does not have right of
possession to the carved wooden figure.
5. The Bishop Museum failed to overcome the inference that it does
not have right of possession to the carved wooden figure.
6. There are multiple claims for the three cultural items.
7. A museum or Federal agency must repatriate cultural items within
90 days of receipt of a written request for repatriation that satisfies
the requirements of 43 CFR 10.10 (a)(1), except where the exemptions of
43 CFR 10.10 (a)(3) and 10.10 (c) apply. However, there is nothing in
the statute or regulations that state that the repatriation is
automatic at the end of the 90 days.

The Review Committee recommends that:
1. The Bishop Museum proceed toward repatriation by continuing its
process of consultation to determine the appropriate claimant(s) for
the three unassociated funerary objects; and
2. When repatriation takes place, the transaction is documented in
a fashion consistent with Hawaiian state law.

The National Park Service publishes this notice as part of its
administrative and staff support for the Review Committee. The findings
and recommendations are those of the Review Committee and do not
necessarily represent the views of the Secretary of the Interior.
Neither the Secretary of the Interior nor the National Park Service has
taken a position on these matters.

Dated: May 20, 2005.
Rosita Worl,
Chair, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review
Committee.
[FR Doc. 05-10816 Filed 5-31-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4312-50-S

 

 
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