Judge rejects Hui Malama motion to dismiss lawsuit
U.S. District Judge David Ezra yesterday denied a motion by the Native Hawaiian group Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'i Nei to dismiss a lawsuit seeking the return of 83 cultural objects to the Bishop Museum.
In a 21-page ruling, Ezra said Hui Malama "has not presented any new or valid reasons for dismissal of this case."
The items were "on loan" by the museum to Hui Malama members, who reportedly buried them alongside human remains in the Kawaihae Caves Complex on the Big Island.
Two Native Hawaiian groups that last year filed the suit against Hui Malama maintain that they and others have not had a chance to weigh in on the final disposition of the items that Hui Malama members say have been placed back in the caves where they were first taken by Western explorers in 1905.
While Ezra ordered the items returned to the museum, an order reaffirmed by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Hui Malama has refused to disclose their exact locations. A Hawaiian style mediation between the two parties began last month in an effort to settle the matter out of court.