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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, January 7, 2006

Letters to the Editor

CROSSWALKS

SAFETY OF PEDESTRIANS STILL A MAJOR ISSUE

The new pedestrian law doesn't go far enough.

Since moving to Hawai'i, I have never had so many near-misses with cars as a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Sometimes, drivers stop, other times they don't.

Not enough is being done to ensure the safety of pedestrians, despite a recent change in the law that drivers must stop rather than yield if a pedestrian is in a crosswalk on the driver's side of the road. A tougher approach needs to be taken on our busy roads.

Why can't we have a system in which cars must be stationary at a red light while pedestrians are crossing the road? There are too many drivers not adhering to speed limits, and there are many cars driving through red lights, especially those making a right turn.

We need greater law enforcement to protect pedestrians.

Susan Small
Honolulu

SACRED DUTY

HUI MALAMA SHOULD NOT REVEAL BURIAL LOCATION

On Dec. 28, a good friend, Edward Halealoha Ayau, was found in contempt of court and held in custody by U.S. District Judge David Ezra for the refusal by Mr. Ayau, and other members of Hui Malama I Na Kupuna 'O Hawai'i Nei, to provide the specific location of Hawaiian funerary items.

Mr. Ayau, along with other Hui Malama members, has taken on the sacred responsibility of caring for the bones and burial objects of our Hawaiian ancestors with the utmost seriousness and diligence.

In order to protect these bones and burial objects, Hui Malama cannot, and should not, divulge their exact location. This is a traditional Hawaiian religious belief well-documented by native and non-native scholars and currently practiced by Hui Malama. Mr. Ayau is being wrongfully persecuted for his convictions and fidelity to this longstanding religious belief and practice.

Regardless of whether or not you support the mission and purpose of Hui Malama, the courts cannot be allowed to dictate what is and what is not a valid Hawaiian cultural belief and practice or that of any other belief system. The courts cannot be allowed to force an individual to betray his or her belief system and commit perjury to one's religious convictions.

Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians alike need to protest Judge Ezra's persecutory actions against Hui Malama for being true to themselves and what they stand for.

Ua ola no i ka pane a ke aloha (There is life in a kindly reply) 'Olelo No'eau, Hawaiian proverb.

Joseph Keawe'aimoku Kaholokula
Department of Native Hawaiian Health, John A. Burns School of Medicine

CLAIMS PROCESS

ONLY ABORIGINALS CAN HAVE SAY ON ARTIFACTS

The federal Native American Graves Repatriation Act (NAGRPA) controls the issues involving Native American artifacts mistakenly loaned by Bishop Museum to Hui Malama.

Congress enacted NAGRPA to return looted aboriginal property to the original owner. NAGRPA could be renamed "Indigenous Graves Repatriation Act" and mean the same thing since "indigenous" is identical to "Native American."

When a person is an immigrant to Hawai'i, or is descended from immigrants to Hawai'i, you cannot be indigenous and you cannot be Native American. Only Hawai'i's aboriginal people can be and are in fact indigenous. Everybody else is descended from immigrants. Apparently all claimants in this situation are identical to those who compose the racial group found to not be Native Americans recently in Doe vs. Kamehameha. An immigrant can become an American but cannot ever become a Native American. Because descendants of immigrants are not Native Americans in federal law, they have no claim under NAGRPA.

The Akaka bill would have to first pass for descendants of immigrants to Hawai'i to actually have a claim. Congress is not likely to confer on this racial group a status superior to everyone else in Hawai'i in a political atmosphere that ranks America's immigration problems near the top.

The stolen artifacts must be returned to Bishop Museum, and the claims process start all over again, but this time only with those who really are Native Americans.

F.N. Trenchard
Hale'iwa

NEW CITY FEE

STILL PHOTOGRAPHERS GETTING A RAW DEAL

I understand that Mayor Hannemann has signed into law Bill 64, which requires still photographers to pay a fee for shooting weddings and other special events in city parks and other recreation facilities.

I have been a still photographer for years and am disappointed that we have to pay this fee. Why do "Silver Man" and "Gold Man" and every other mime on Kalakaua Avenue get by without having to pay a fee for use of the 'aina tax free on top of it.

Give me a break!

Joe Carini
Honolulu

FUN RUN

MARATHON CLINIC WILL GET YOU UP TO SPEED

For all of you who witnessed the Honolulu Marathon, or read about it, and said quietly under your breath, "I wish I could run a marathon ... " your wish can come true by joining the Honolulu Marathon Clinic.

Every Sunday morning at Kapi'olani Park, Dr. Jack Scaff, cardiologist and founder of the clinic, shares his expertise about running. His training program stresses recreational, slow, conversational long-distance running in an enjoyable, fun environment.

With encouragement from Dr. Scaff and his staff, not only did I complete the marathon, I ran fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

More important than qualifying for Boston, the clinic got me off the couch. I lost 35 pounds of useless blubber from my waistline, and I've never felt healthier.

The clinic is free and open to everyone with a crazy wish of finishing a marathon and getting into shape. All ages are welcome. The clinic resumes on March 12 at Kapi'olani Park at 7:30 a.m.

Russell Flemming
Waialua