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Decolonizing Heritage Management in Hawai‘i

Advances in Anthropology
2013. Vol.3, No.3, 127-132
Published Online August 2013 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 127
Decolonizing Heritage Management in Hawai‘i
Peter R. Mills, Kathleen L. Kawelu
Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Hilo, USA
Received March 5th, 2013; revised April 6th, 2013; accepted April 13th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Peter R. Mills, Kathleen L. Kawelu. This is an open access article distributed under the Crea-
tive Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any me-
dium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Hawai‘i struggles with many issues confronting heritage management programs globally. While some
State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) regularly engage in long-term planning and public outreach,
the Hawai‘i SHPO often struggles with regulatory backlogs, staff reductions, and frequent staff turn-over.
Nevertheless, grass roots efforts to better manage Hawaiian cultural sites are becoming more prevalent.
We summarize key trends that have affected Cultural Resource Management (CRM) in Hawai‘i since the
1960s and address how the relationships between CRM professionals and indigenous communities have
transformed over that time. One of the largest obstacles to the decolonization of heritage management in
Hawai‘i has been the under-representation of CRM professionals from descendant communities. A con-
tributing factor is a common perception that CRM (as it is often manifested in archaeological studies prior
to development) is antithetical to Hawaiian values. A second factor is that state regulations require prin-
cipal investigators in CRM firms to obtain graduate degrees in anthropology or closely related fields, but
opportunities for graduate training in Hawai‘i are limited. Here, we make the case that community-based
archaeology is a vital aspect of Hawaiian cultural revitalization, and that the extension of graduate pro-
grams in heritage management to predominantly indigenous communities is essential to decolonization
Keywords: Heritage Management; Cultural Resource Management; Indigenous Archaeology; Polynesia;
Hawai‘i; Applied Archaeology
In 1935 the Historic Sites Act established a new category of
historic properties in the United States known as National His-
toric Landmarks (NHLs). This designation was intended to
provide stewardship and funding for historic properties of spe-
cial significance across the nation, and NHLs remain a highly
significant part of US federal historic preservation efforts. One
of the seven National Historic Landmarks on Hawai‘i Island is
Mo‘okini Heiau, which is a monumental Native Hawaiian stone
ritual site associated with the famous voyager Pa‘ao, who ar-
rived in Hawai‘i many generations before Captain Cook
reached the islands in 1778. The roughly rectangular stone-wa-
lled enclosure, approximately 3000 m2 with walls up to four
meters high and three meters thick, was once surrounded by an
expansive chiefly residential complex that continued for at least
a mile to the south of the heiau (Cordy, 2000).
The site is an atypical tourist stop. It sits in a remote location
along the northern coast of Hawai‘i Island in the midst of old
sugar plantation fields, which have erased many of the features
of the chiefly complex. The 4-wheel drive track which runs past
the site, is usually pocked with muddy pools deep enough to
float a small rent-a-car and submerge the radiator grills of
pick-up trucks. Consequently, most visitors wend their way
around the mud pits on foot for about a mile from the last sec-
tion of paved road. The land is managed by Hawai‘i State Parks,
which mows a grass lawn surrounding the heiau, but no em-
ployees are on permanent duty. On a typical day, anyone who
ventures to Mo‘okini Heiau will be in solitude, with nothing
but the sun and wind to contend with while strolling around the
site. In the winter months, humpback whales are usually visible
from the site, breaching amidst the white-caps off the North
Shore. For anyone sensitive to the colonial environment which
has rendered this ancient cultural site into a quaint and isolated
scenic adventure often taken by non-culturally affiliated tourists,
the very act of visiting Mo‘okini evokes an uncomfortable
sense of misappropriation. The solitude, lack of shade, and
constant wind can close in on one’s senses, disengaging visitors
from the frenetic pace of the surrounding world, and creating an
anachronistic sense of being in the past, or in a post-apocalyptic
future, or both. The illusion of timelessness in the sparsely in-
habited landscape is only interrupted by the presence of a single
bronze plaque mounted on a small boulder outside the heiau
entrance. It is embossed as follows:
What is particularly noteworthy about the bronze plaque is
that someone has nearly pounded the embossed words
“UNITED STATES” and “US” into oblivion. The sustained
effort necessary to obliterate these words would have been an
emotional catharsis, likely expressing contempt for the US
government that helped overthrow the indigenous Hawaiian
monarchy in 1893. The act reclaimed Mo‘okini for Hawaiian
people as a significant part of indigenous heritage, and rejected
its imperialist appropriation as heritage of the United States.
The symbolism of this act is poignant and emblematic of the
global themes represented in this volume. As anthropologists
engaged in heritage management, we are uncomfortably aware
of how anthropology and heritage management can contribute
to colonialism. The Historic Sites Act was intended to preserve
and commemorate cultural heritage for the benefit of the nation,
but the history of the United States is filled with nationalistic
hegemony and indigenous resistance, and heritage management
is frequently an embattled stage on which these contests play
out. Although the bronze plaque was probably placed at the site
in good faith and with good intentions, the language on the
plaque was clearly offensive for understandable reasons.
A successful post-colonial heritage management system in
Hawai‘i has to recognize these contested histories in order to
overcome the colonial past and help decolonize the present.
From a distance, one might assume heritage management pro-
fessionals and indigenous communities are united by a shared
opposition to colonial perspectives and rampant development,
but the portrayal of anthropologists and archaeologists as a
manifestation of the colonial enterprise in Hawai‘i remains
quite common. Others envision archaeology as part of a process
to eliminate indigenous people from the landscape entirely, in
what is called “settler colonialism” (Kauanui, 2008; Kelly,
2009; Ratner, 2011). Hawai‘i is clearly undergoing a crisis in
heritage management. The Hawai‘i State Historic Preservation
Division, underfunded and understaffed, has been unable to
meet federal standards for historic preservation review,
prompting the National Park Service to issue a report detailing
the shortcomings of the office in March of 2010 (National Park
Service, 2010). Frequently, development plans continue to de-
stroy and encroach on Hawaiian burials, exacerbating percep-
tions of heritage management as a superficial approval process,
“rubber stamping” development projects, while providing little
meaningful protection to cultural sites (Collins, 2010; Kawelu,
2007, in press).
Despite these ongoing crises, a number of recent develop-
ments demonstrate substantial indigenous engagement within
archaeology and heritage management in general, and here we
focus on some of the positive changes taking place in Hawai‘i.
To contextualize the current situation, we review some of the
major transformations that Hawaiian heritage management has
undergone since the 1960s.
1960s: Heritage Management without Preservation
The governmental infrastructure that offers some limited
protection for Hawaiian cultural sites from modern develop-
ment was largely non-existent until the 1970s. The National
Historic Preservation Act (16 USC 470) passed by the US
Congress in 1966 established a preservation program for federal
undertakings, but with a few notable exceptions, it took several
years for the act to have much impact in Hawai‘i (Kirch, 1999),
and companion state legislation had not yet been drafted.
A condominium development project in Kahala, on the outs-
kirts of Honolulu, O‘ahu serves as an anecdotal representation
of the 1960s era. Most archaeology in Hawai‘i at that time was
research-oriented, and conducted through the Bernice P. Bishop
Museum (established, 1889) in Honolulu. In August of 1963
Bishop Museum archaeologist Robert N. Bowen excavated a
human grave in Kahala, after it had been accidentally exposed.
From the coffin and associated moepu (grave goods), Bowen
estimated that the individual died in the 1820s-1840s
(McManamon, 1998). The property where the grave was found
was owned by Bishop Estate, a private land-trust (and separate
entity from the Bishop Museum) founded in 1883 through the
will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the great granddaughter of King
Kamehameha the Great, and dedicated to creating “educational
opportunities in perpetuity to improve the capability and
well-being of people of Hawaiian ancestry” (Kamehameha
Schools, 2010). The name of the trust was changed to “Kame-
hameha Schools” in 2000, and it is currently ranked as the 13th
most wealthy private trust in the world with a net endowment
estimated at 7.2 billion dollars (Accuity, 2012).
Over the next three years, despite the presence of the burial,
Bishop Estate proceeded with plans to convey the land to the
Kahala Beach Corporation, a private developer intending to
construct a condominium complex. No state laws in 1966 re-
quired Bishop Estate to search for additional burials, and con-
struction workers began grading the site with heavy equipment
in preparation for the proposed development. Within the first
week of January 1966, three more human burials were exposed,
and archaeologist Robert Bowen again returned to the site, and
organized a small team of volunteer archaeologists from the
Bishop Museum to salvage what they could. The construction
schedule was briefly halted, and over the month of January,
twenty-five coffin burials were excavated and documented by
Bowen, as well as other well-known Bishop Museum archae-
ologists including Lloyd Soehren, Yosi Sinoto, Peter Chapman,
and William Kikuchi. Dates of associated grave goods ranged
from the early 1800s to the early 1900s, and the “discoveries”
were regularly featured in the local newspaper, the Honolulu
Star Bulletin. The headlines described the cemetery as a “sig-
nificant archaeological find,” and positively portrayed the ar-
chaeologists as community servants salvaging Hawaiian history
from the inevitable effects of modern development. By Febru-
ary 7 the developers hired Greenlawn Funeral Home, Ltd. to
begin removing any remaining burials with heavy equipment.
Over the next two days, an undetermined number of burials
were exhumed in fragments or graded over, but a total of 33
individuals from the cemetery ended up in Bishop Museum
collections. These remains spent three decades at the Bishop
Museum, and were eventually repatriated under the Native
American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)
in 1998 (McManamon, 1998).
As the story unfolded in the Honolulu Star Bulletin over the
months of January and early February 1966, one woman of
Hawaiian ancestry came forward and reported that several
members of her family had been buried in the cemetery as re-
cently as 1922, including her father, her sister, and her husband.
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
Two years later, on 4 January 1968, the woman and her son
filed suit against the Bishop Estate Trustees, Kahala Beach
Corporation, Pacific Construction Company, and Greenlawn
Funeral Home for desecrating the cemetery. The suit claimed
that although Bishop Estate owned the land around the ceme-
tery, they did not own the burial plots, and had no right to sell
them in fee simple in a conveyance to Kahala Beach Corpora-
tion (Honolulu Star Bulletin, 5 January 1968). This case is not
unique for that time, but serves as a benchmark for the nature of
development as well as community perceptions of archaeology
and archaeologists in relation to unmarked burials. Although
two lineal descendants sought redress for the desecration of
their relatives’ graves, the general lack of community protest is
noteworthy, as are the observations that the archaeologists were
presented in a benign light in the newspaper stories, and were
not named as defendants in the lawsuit.
1970s-1990s: Two Steps Forward and One Step Back
In 1976, the Hawai‘i State legislature passed Chapter 6E of
Hawai‘i Revised Statutes that established a review process for
development projects conducted under the purview of the state
and counties. Although the implementation of legislation is
rarely as ideal as the language expressed in the statutes, the
statement of intent in Chapter 6E is worth quoting:
The legislature declares that the historic and cultural heri-
tage of the State is among its important assets and that the
rapid social and economic developments of contemporary
society threaten to destroy the remaining vestiges of this
heritage. The legislature further declares that it is in the
public interest to engage in a comprehensive program of
historic preservation at all levels of government to pro-
mote the use and conservation of such property for the
education, inspiration, pleasure, and en- richment of its
citizens. The legislature further declares that it shall be the
public policy of this State to provide leadership in pre-
serving, restoring, and maintaining historic and cultural
property, to ensure the administration of such historic and
cul- tural property in a spirit of stewardship and trustee-
ship for fu- ture generations, and to conduct activities,
plans, and programs in a manner consistent with the pres-
ervation and enhancement of historic and cultural prop-
erty (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, 1976).
With the passage of Chapter 6E and the establishment of a
regulatory process to implement the National Historic Preserva-
tion Act, a bureaucratic infrastructure was established to iden-
tify and hopefully protect “significant” cultural sites from the
effects of modern development. Additional funds were set aside
to assist the one-person State Historic Preservation program
first administered through the Division of Hawai‘i State Parks,
which grew in to a separate division, Hawai‘i State Historic
Preservation Division (SHPD), with an expanded professional
staff by 1990 (Collins, 2010). As the SHPD began to regularly
require developers to complete archaeological inventory sur-
veys of their project areas, many cultural sites on the Hawaiian
landscape began to be identified. While the first projects were
largely completed by Bishop Museum archaeologists and state
employees, the volume of development in the state created
opportunities for numerous new private archaeological con-
sulting firms (Kirch, 1999). By the 1990s, over 26 of these
private firms were regularly operating in Hawai‘i, and continue
to operate today.
Concurrent with these developments, there was a major re-
surgence in Hawaiian cultural revitalization in the 1970s, mani-
fested through the reintroduction of Hawaiian language and
culture in educational settings and in daily practice. Issues per-
taining to the preservation and restoration of Hawaiian cultural
sites featured prominently in the movement. Kathleen Kawelu
(2007) summarizes three flash-point events in this era. One was
the effort to end the use of Kaho‘olawe Island for US military
bombing practice, and the return of its management to Hawai-
ian cultural practitioners. A second was the State’s expenditure
of over 17 million dollars through the early 1990s to contract
Bishop Museum to excavate sites in the way of a proposed
federal highway project (H-3 freeway, O‘ahu), with little
chance to re-route the highway around highly significant sites.
The third event, initiated in 1986, was the excavation of over
1000 burials from a known burial dune site at Honokahua,
Maui in order to construct a resort. Unlike the Kahala condo-
minium project, the excavations at Honokahua were accompa-
nied by large protests on Maui and at the State Capital on
O‘ahu. As a consequence, the excavations were belatedly
stopped, the human remains were re-interred, and the resort was
redesigned, but the public image of archaeology in Hawai‘i was
badly damaged.
Unlike the Kahala project in the 1960s, the conduct of pri-
vate consulting firms on high-profile projects such as H-3 Free-
way and Honokahua justifiably facilitated the perception of
archaeology and archaeologists as an exploitative manifestation
of cultural violence perpetrated as a “bus-stop to development”
(Kawelu, 2007, in press). Following such high-profile debacles,
it was not surprising that most college students of Hawaiian
ancestry were not attracted to the field of archaeology, and
archaeologists working at universities in Hawai‘i found it easier
to conduct their research elsewhere (White & Tengan, 2001).
By 1997 archaeologist Patrick Kirch voiced his concerns on
these matters at the annual Society for Hawaiian Archaeology
conference. Although he noted that some students of Hawaiian
ancestry were still engaged in archaeological studies, he was
concerned about the general lack of archaeological engagement
with descendant communities (Kirch, 1999).
As a negative reputation of archaeology gained traction re-
sulting from projects like H-3 and Honokahua in the late 1980s
and early 1990s, additional roadblocks increased the distance
between heritage management professionals and descendant
communities. In Hawai‘i, state regulations require that principal
investigators working for one of the 26 firms licensed to con-
duct archaeological research possess “a graduate degree from
an accredited institution in archaeology, or anthropology, with a
specialization in archaeology, or an equivalent field” (Hawai‘i
Administrative Rules, 2002). With archaeology’s bad reputa-
tion in descendant communities, and lacking accessible gradu-
ate programs within financial, geographic, and philosophical
reach of descendant communities, the state regulations served
to exacerbate a disassociation between archaeologists and Na-
tive Hawaiians.
While Patrick Kirch praised the progress of the Hawai‘i State
Historic Preservation Division in 1997, he cautioned that staff-
ing of the office might suffer as the “deregulation” trend swept
through the American populace, which is precisely what hap-
pened in Hawai‘i (Kirch, 1999). As early as 2002, there were
vacancies in the O‘ahu Island archaeologist position that re-
mained open for years. By 2008, various bills before the State
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legislature sounded the alarm, such as Senate Bill 2906 that
stated “The legislature finds that historic preservation in Ha-
wai’i is presently in a condition of unprecedented confusion
and disarray, making it nearly impossible for the State to meet
its cultural obligations and legislative mandates to manage his-
torical properties for the benefit of the various descendent
communities. The discovery, identification, and preservation of
archaeological sites, human burial sites, and other historic
properties are increasingly threatened” (Hawai‘i Senate Bill,
2008). Four years later, in 2012, the State Historic Preserva-
tion Division still struggled to meet the demands of a Federal
“Corrective Action Plan” (National Park Service, 2012), neces-
sary to sustain federal funding of nearly 50% of the agency’s
budget. The largest failure of the office is that many positions
requiring graduate degrees remain unfilled.
Ongoing and Envisioned Solutions for
Decolonizing Heritage Management in Hawai‘i
The decolonization of Heritage Management in Hawai‘i is
undoubtedly a complex process, but it involves at least two
major components: 1) envisioning and creating heritage man-
agement programs that engage directly with descendant com-
munities; and 2) increasing opportunities in descendant com-
munities for graduate education in heritage management.
Engaging Descendant Communities
In the last decade, there has been an explosion of new institu-
tional and grass roots efforts in which descendant communities
have taken on active roles in heritage management. Although
Kirch’s 1997 address stressed that some Native Hawaiians
sought a moratorium on archaeology in Hawai‘i, others have
called for partnership with—and leadership from—descendant
communities to do better archaeology (Cachola-Abad, 1999,
2013; Hall, 2013; Kawelu, 2013; Nāleimaile & Brandt, 2013).
A unifying theme in the calls for improved archaeological prac-
tices in Hawai‘i is qualitative improvements in the level of
engagement with contemporary Hawaiian communities (Ten-
gan, 2001). A shift in perspective is required, for example in-
stead of viewing and interpreting “archaeological sites” as sig-
nificant only for their data, these cultural sites should be
viewed as vital parts of a living Hawaiian culture.
As examples, we highlight four community-based projects
that began independently on different Islands. First, on the
Kona side of Hawai‘i Island, the for-profit arm of Kamehameha
Schools (Kamehameha Investment Corporation) began restor-
ing Hapaiali‘i Heiau, a massive 15th-Century stone ritual plat-
form, on their property which also included the Outrigger
Keauhou Beach Resort. Local Native Hawaiian families were
involved in planning the project, and the restoration work in-
volved detailed plane-table and alidade mapping of the struc-
ture before reconstruction began. The mapping was mostly
supervised by Keone Kalawe, a Native Hawaiian trained in
anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, and who had
gained experience in mapping while working with a private
archaeological consulting firm. Through educational programs
run by another cultural practitioner from Kona, Mahealani Pai,
Kamehameha Schools students often helped with the mapping
and reconstruction work and shared in the pride of having par-
ticipated in restoring a significant monument of Hawaiian cul-
ture. The project was so successful that by 2008, restoration
continued at another nearby heiau, Ke‘eku, and in 2012, Dr.
Greg Chun with Kamehameha Schools began implementing a
decision by the Board of Trustees of the Kamehameha Schools
to close the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort and begin demo-
lition of the hotel. In its place, Dr. Chun has been planning the
establishment of a Native Hawaiian educational center that will
make use of cultural sites in the Kahalu‘u-Keauhou region as a
long-standing educational program in cultural heritage (Kame-
hameha Schools, 2013). With the collaboration of the inde-
pendent not-for-profit Kohala Center, a highly organized effort
is underway to turn Kahalu‘u Bay and the associated uplands
into a cultural and environmental learning center (Kohala Cen-
ter, 2013).
On Maui in 2006, a Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner
Kawewehi Puyndyke began a two-year long “Lo‘iloa Project”
to restore the stone-terraced taro cultivation fields (lo‘i) in Iao
Valley State Park. Over 100 community members were regu-
larly involved in clearing overgrowth and stabilizing the ancient
walls, and again archaeological documentation of the original
features was incorporated into the overall project. The project
was featured in a documentary film, Hookele waa: Turning
the Canoe—Navigating a Sustainable future for Maui (Miller,
2010) which won the Audience Award at the Maui Film Festi-
val in 2010.
On O‘ahu, Ross Cordy, the former head of the archaeology
branch at the State Historic Preservation Division, moved from
his regulatory job into a teaching role at the University of Ha-
wai’i, West O‘ahu, where he has now spent over a decade
working with predominantly local students on applied archaeo-
logical projects. In the late 1990s, he and his research partners
began the Wai‘anae Valley Archaeological Field Project that
engaged with local high school students and college students to
teach science, local history, and survey skills that students
could then use to obtain jobs (Cordy, 2001, 2002). Similar to
the Lo‘iloa Project on Maui, the archaeological research com-
bined with larger community efforts to restore ancient terraced
agricultural fields for taro cultivation, through the Ka‘ala Cul-
tural Learning Center (Ka‘ala Farm, 2013).
On Kaua‘i a not-for-profit community organization Nā Pali
Coast ‘Ohana was formed to care for cultural sites on the re-
mote northern shore of the island (Nā Pali Coast ‘Ohana, 2013).
Their main initial focus has been on Nu‘alolo Kai State Park,
which is well known for its deeply stratified sites where salt
spray from the surf contributed to the excellent preservation of
organic items such as bark cloth and pandanus mats located in a
fishing village under an overhanging cliff. The sites at Nu‘alolo
Kai were being damaged by shoreline erosion, goats, and hu-
man activities. Nā Pali Coast ‘Ohana organized teams to clear
invasive vegetation, plant native flora, and document various
archaeological features. Team members work closely with Ha-
wai’i State Parks archaeologists in these endeavors, and regu-
larly presented the results of their work at the annual Society
for Hawaiian Archaeology meetings. In 2010, the organization
received the first ever “Hawai‘i Cultural Stewardship Award,”
granted jointly by the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology and
Nāki‘i ke Aho (2013), an independent organization of archae-
ologists of Native Hawaiian ancestry (Nāk’ikeaho, 2013).
Increasing Opportunities for Graduate Education
The brief list of ongoing activities mentioned above clearly
demonstrates that descendant communities are actively engaged
at a grass-roots level in managing their heritage, and in many
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
cases they are working with archaeologists or as archaeologists
on their projects. But, as previously mentioned, state regula-
tions require that principal investigators in heritage manage-
ment hold graduate degrees in the field. As faculty at the Uni-
versity of Hawai‘i at Hilo, the authors recognize that many of
our undergraduate students are of Native Hawaiian ancestry,
and hope to obtain leadership positions in archaeology or re-
lated fields, so they are not just volunteering for grass-roots
organizations or working for low wages as field laborers. An
essential counter-point to those who have portrayed anthropol-
ogy and archaeology as being inherently colonialist is that it
depends on who is practicing archaeology and anthropology,
and for whose benefit. To be certain, the world of cultural re-
source management cannot simply be separated into good in-
digenous cultural resource managers and bad colonial non-na-
tive professionals. Cachola-Abad (2013) recently summarized
many of the key issues and conflicts of interest that have
plagued cultural resource management in Hawai‘i, and without
a strong State Historic Preservation Office to regulate the qual-
ity of research, it is difficult for contracted archaeologists oper-
ating in a competitive-bidding world to regulate themselves,
much less address the larger heritage management issues.
Despite these challenges, many of our Native Hawaiian stu-
dents are intent on transforming the field of heritage manage-
ment in Hawai‘i; they feel a responsibility to the culture and the
kūpuna (elders, ancestors) to map and document cultural sites
to protect them, or minimally at least document them before
bulldozers arrive. Instead of leaving these tasks to non-native
archaeolo- gists with fewer personal connections to the heritage,
and who may or may not feel that same responsibility, they
have chosen to enter a discipline held suspect by many in their
communities. The problem remains that there is limited access
to graduate level education in Hawai‘i. Many local undergradu-
ate students regularly work in entry level positions at private
archaeological consulting firms or for government agencies, but
they hit ‘glass ceilings’ that do not allow them to open their
own firms or to advance in the institutions that they work for.
In Western academia, there is often a misperception that the
best graduate educations will always be obtained by concen-
trating the best faculty at the best schools where the best poten-
tial students will enroll. Given the social, economic and educa-
tional inequities that keep many indigenous peoples from at-
tending the “best” schools, it is not surprising to find that Na-
tive Hawaiian students remain poorly represented at many elite
academic institutions, and if those same institutions offer the
only chance of obtaining leadership positions in Hawaiian heri-
tage management, then colonial inequities will continue to
dominate the field. By establishing localized training in heri-
tage management, we seek to create more (and better) profes-
sionals who are well-versed in the specific heritage manage-
ment issues that are most relevant to Hawai‘i, and who are
more trusted in descendant communities because they have
familial connections to those communities.
There is one large “flagship” campus in Hawai‘i (UH Mānoa)
with an enrollment of approximately 20,400 students, of which
17% (3470) possess some Hawaiian or Pacific Islander ances-
try, and it currently offers the only graduate degrees related to
heritage management in the state. Since 2007, UH Mānoa has
offered a Master’s degree in Applied Archaeology that trains
archaeologists for non-academic professional positions in Asia
and the Pacific. On average, however, only two to three stu-
dents are admitted in the Applied Archaeology M.A. program
each year, some of whom are developing their areas of exper-
tise in Southeast Asia. Because at least 200 individuals with
graduate degrees in archaeology or anthropology regularly
work in Hawai‘i, many of those individuals have been trained
outside of Hawai‘i. A recent national study of the Cultural Re-
source Management profession has predicted that the number of
archaeologists with graduate degrees will need to double to
meet the expected demand in the next 25 years (Altschul &
Patterson, 2010). Of an estimated total of 19,150 archaeological
jobs, 85% will be filled with MA level archaeologists. In total,
only three students of Hawaiian ancestry have obtained Ph.D.s
in archaeology (Kawelu, 2013); clearly extant graduate pro-
grams have not dramatically changed the overall demographics
of heritage management in Hawai‘i, and we need to consider
The immensity of the workforce needed for heritage mana-
gement in Hawai‘i and throughout the Pacific calls for more
extensive graduate opportunities that will reach new pools of
students. One partial solution would be to expand graduate
opportunities to smaller campuses (Mills, 2001). The Univer-
sity of Hawai‘i at Hilo is currently developing a M.A. program
in heritage management. The campus on Hawai‘i Island has
4000 students, and 30% (1200) identify as Hawaiian or Pacific
Islander, and approximately 50 - 70 of those students will ob-
tain undergraduate degrees in anthropology. Because many of
these students are older or already have children, few are finan-
cially or logistically able to participate in graduate programs on
other islands or on the US Mainland. The intent is to signifi-
cantly expand the range of educational opportunities to train
heritage management professionals, and more effectively reach
target populations. Furthermore, a cultural impact assessment
program has yet to be developed in the islands, so the curricu-
lum will include ethnographic training as well as archaeology,
and will be more directly focused on Pacific Islander communi-
ties. The anthropology department has also developed long-
term collaborative relationships with the campus’s College of
Hawaiian Language, which developed the first M.A. and Ph.D.
programs in the nation that awards degrees for research written
and defended in an indigenous language. With the expansion of
Kamehameha Schools’ own K-12 focus on cultural heritage,
UH Hilo has a ready and willing partner. Kamehameha Schools
is encouraging UH Hilo’s efforts to develop a M.A. program,
by supporting our efforts to hire the faculty necessary to create
the program. The authors envision launching the program with
a cohort of nine students. Thus, the benefits of bringing a
graduate program to a smaller campus offer qualitative im-
provements in the graduate experience that can overcome the
quantitative differences in campus enrollments.
The State of Hawai‘i drafted “Chapter 6E” with an eloquent
statement of intent in 1976 that directed the State to take a
leadership role in preserving, restoring, and maintaining the
state’s historic and cultural properties. Unfortunately, market
forces and colonial infrastructure continue to disassociate mod-
ern descendant communities from their own heritage. High-pro-
file failures in the heritage management regulatory process have
contributed to a vicious cycle which fosters stigmatization of
heritage management professionals as desecrators of the past.
Many (but certainly not all) in descendant communities remain
distrustful of professionals in heritage management, but luckily
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. 131
Copyright © 2013 SciRes.
this is changing. Other issues persist such as high staff-turnover,
poor-funding, and poor-morale for those in regulatory positions.
This situation increases the likelihood that future high-profile
failures will occur, and the viscous cycle will be repeated.
Despite these conditions, many grass-roots movements conti-
nue to foster working partnerships and positive educational
experiences related to the care and protection of cultural sites.
Herein, we recognize (as many have) that heritage management
cannot function effectively as purely academic or regulatory
exercises, but need to continually engage with descendant
communities. Moreover, it is essential to remove the roadblocks
of colonialism that have kept individuals in descendant com-
munities from obtaining leadership positions in government,
education, and private consulting related to heritage manage-
ment. In order to accomplish this, we argue that the conven-
tional model of establishing elite graduate programs in heritage
management at the largest regional academic institutions (to the
exclusion of smaller institutions) needs to be changed. As an
alternative, we suggest redesigning and repositioning heritage
management graduate programs to make them more accessible
to descendant communities.
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... Over the past few years, archaeology (and anthropology in a wider sense) has seen an intensification of the process of self-reflection that has included widespread acknowledgment of the discipline's colonial roots, environmental impact, and perpetuation of individual and structural racism and white supremacy (Mills and Kawelu 2013;Franklin et al. 2020;Jobson 2020;Flewellen et al. 2021;Reilly 2022). These issues have a particular tangibility in archaeology because we often destroy the resources that our discipline relies on, and because our data collection must often take place in the physical location where stakeholder communities reside. ...
... Flewellen et al. (2022) in particular have advocated for 'slow archaeology', shared Primary Investigator responsibilities between stakeholders and archaeologists, and a focus on capacity building, as ways that our discipline can improve, and small island scholars (both local and non-local) are providing context-specific guidelines. These include, for example, the St Eustatius Afrikan Burial Ground Alliance (see kok 2022) and the Statia Heritage Research Commission (Haviser et al. 2022) in the Dutch Caribbean, and Kawelu (2015), Mills and Kawelu (2013), and the Kali'uokapa'akai Collective (2021) in the Hawaiian Islands. We strongly believe the onus is on archaeologists to promote social justice through deconstructing their power and privilege and making concerted efforts, alongside structural changes in cultural resources management and academia, to facilitate community agency and authority in heritage practices. ...
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Ongoing discussions about the problems of white supremacy and colonialism in archaeology are useful but have not, thus far, fully considered the exacerbated effects of these issues on small islands. In this opinion piece, we, two white women academics from the Global North with extensive experience working in the Dutch Caribbean and the Hawaiian Islands, observe these exacerbated effects in governance, academic hegemony, and community relations, and call for more consideration of the effects of our discipline in small island contexts. Ultimately, in line with the observations of local, descendant, and Indigenous scholars, we argue that archaeologists must invest in de-colonial, antiracist, and social justice efforts in heritage fields and industries by foregrounding the wishes and needs of island communities. This may involve modifying or altogether abandoning current motivations and practices to build a discipline that can be a positive rather than a negative in island worlds.
... However, promoting rock art is often part of a colonizing framework instituted after Rock art and rock art promotion are concepts originating within Western academic frameworks. They impose heritage perspectives and values that do not recognize or articulate with local Pacific cultures/communities/needs/priorities (Liston et al. 2011;Mills and Kawelu 2013;MacKenzie et al 2015). The categorical idea and definition of rock art does not fit the storied land and seascapes of many Pacific Island people. ...
... The program evolved from a simple field school to a worktraining program which seeks to produce young scientists by offering them summer jobs in a career they aspire to pursue one day surrounded by professionals who all teach in colleges and universities to which they plan on applying. Archaeology as a discipline has a history of asserting its desire to contribute to issues of social justice, and at times some have proclaimed that archaeology has the power to change the world (Jones forthcoming;McGuire 2008). Through training youth about the importance of archaeology and how it can be used as a tool for historical revisionism, we are empowering them to explore the history of their shared past. ...
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This article discusses how Co-Principal Investigators that designed and executed the Estate Little Princess Archaeology Project (ELPAP) came together as a community, to demonstrate how such a formation within the discipline, with all its ups and downs, facilitates the skills needed to conduct community archaeology. By using the ELPAP as a case study, this article provides a multiscale examination of the ELPAP, expanding the discourse on community archaeology to include community building practices among archaeologists, between organizations, and with communities impacted by archaeological work.
... This argument distances the interests of archaeologists from those of local descendant communities. In contrast, recent explorations of the intersection of oral history and archaeology (Kirch, 2018) have opened space for community-driven archaeological practice, and a role for indigenous archaeology Mills and Kawelu, 2013;Phillips and Allen, 2016). Although the role of Pasifika people in archaeological research has a long practical history increasingly acknowledged in co-authorship and processes of community consultation, there has been less explicit exploration of a role for indigenous theory in archaeology. ...
Theory in the Pacific, the Pacific in Theory explores the role of theory in Pacific archaeology and its interplay with archaeological theory worldwide. The contributors assess how the practice of archaeology in Pacific contexts has led to particular types of theoretical enquiry and interest, and, more broadly, how the Pacific is conceptualised in the archaeological imagination. Long seen as a laboratory environment for the testing and refinement of social theory, the Pacific islands occupy a central place in global theoretical discourse. This volume highlights this role through an exploration of how Pacific models and exemplars have shaped, and continue to shape, approaches to the archaeological past. The authors evaluate key theoretical perspectives and explore current and future directions in Pacific archaeology. In doing so, attention is paid to the influence of Pacific people and environments in motivating and shaping theory-building. Theory in the Pacific, the Pacific in Theory makes a significant contribution to our understanding of how theory develops attuned to the affordances and needs of specific contexts, and how those contexts promote reformulation and development of theory elsewhere. It will be fascinating to scholars and archaeologists interested in the Pacific region, as well as students of wider archaeological theory.
... In the next century of archaeological research in Oceania, indigenous mapping (Chapin et al., 2005) may come to define many new aspects of visualization in field methodology as more and more Pacific islanders are trained and become leaders in archaeological practice (e.g. Kawelu, 2007;Kirch 2000, p. 39 -40;Martinsson-Wallin, 2011;Mills and Kawelu, 2013). ...
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Actes de la journée de la Société préhistorique française - Paris 30 janvier-1er février 2014
The deceased person given the label of SK 3379 by archaeologists working at the Swinegate site in York, United Kingdom, provides an interesting perspective into the world of Early Medieval Northern Europe. This person, aged around forty-six at time of death, had cranial features unlike those typically found in the area, but rather pointed towards a biology found in Africa. Informally named ‘The African’, this person went on display at the Jorvik Centre as part of its post-flood revival. This article examined the background and significance of this person as well as the choices in display and narrative around them. It looks at the way the ‘African’ of St Benet’s became the ‘Arab’ in the Jorvik Centre, and the coloniality of the choices underlying such a choice. Finally, through visitor interviews, a decolonial approach to re-storying this person, the ‘Black Viking’ is forwarded. This article contains images of displayed human remains.
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A guide to Cultural Resource Management in New Zealand. Designed for NZ-based archaeologists. Cover, Table of Contents and Bibliography uploaded.
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In this paper we look at relations between anthropology, cultural studies, and native studies on the basis of their practice in the Pacific, focusing particularly on the history of anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i. We draw attention to the absence of Pacific Islanders and, specifically, of Hawaiians as authors, agents, and practitioners of anthropology. Having noted these absences, we probe disciplinary practices that (re)produce boundaries of inside-out, native-other, repres e n t e r- re p resented in Pacific scholarship. In part i c u l a r, we examine ways in which fieldwork as both ideology and practice enforces separation between anthropology and native studies. Another development calling attention to the boundaries of anthropological discourse is the emergence of significant numbers of native authors and activists concerned with issues of culture, history, and politics. In contrast to the relative absence of indigenous practitioners of anthropology in the Pacific, recent years have seen a virtual renaissance of fiction writing and video production by Pacific Islanders, creating new forms of cultural criticism akin to interdisciplinary cultural studies in other parts of the world. As anthropology reconceptualizes the objects of its research, devises new approaches to fieldwork, and otherwise engages in dialogue with a range of interlocutors, the discipline is being redefined with as yet indeterminate results.
How did we get here? Three-and-a-half-day school weeks. Prisoners farmed out to the mainland. Tent camps for the migratory homeless. A blinkered dependence on tourism and the military for virtually all economic activity. The steady degradation of already degraded land. Contempt for anyone employed in education, health, and social service. An almost theological belief in the evil of taxes. At a time when new leaders will be elected, and new solutions need to be found, the contributors to The Value of Hawai'i outline the causes of our current state and offer points of departure for a Hawai'i-wide debate on our future. The brief essays address a wide range of topics-education, the environment, Hawaiian issues, media, tourism, political culture, law, labor, economic planning, government, transportation, poverty-but the contributors share a belief that taking stock of where we are right now, what we need to change, and what we need to remember is a challenge that all of us must meet. Written for a general audience, The Value of Hawai'i provides a cluster of starting points for a larger community discussion of Hawai'i that should extend beyond the choices of the ballot box this year.
Archaeology in Hawai‘i has reached the century mark, and public perception of the discipline as a marginal esoteric pursuit has changed to one that associates the practice with land development and colonialism. The sociopolitical climate surrounding archaeology in the Hawaiian Islands is charged, and controversial events have contributed to present-day tensions. However, to understand these tensions we must go beyond anecdotes. This article presents narratives about the sociopolitical history of Hawaiian archaeology as conveyed in ethnographic interviews with Native Hawaiians and archaeologists. Themes brought forth in these narratives include discussion about the persistence of a living Hawaiian culture and the varying degrees of archaeological commitment to that culture. Ultimately an approach is sought that emphasizes Native Hawaiian people and culture and reframes archaeology in a supporting role. Through such reframing, issues of the practical application of archaeologically constructed knowledge for descendant communities are addressed, and the capacity of the discipline to advocate for Native Hawaiian communities is increased. Changing the current trajectory of historic preservation in Hawai‘i to encompass a collaborative approach to cultural stewardship is necessary for the viability of the discipline as well as for the perpetuation of Hawaiian culture.
A sociopolitical history of Hawaiian archaeology: Kuleana and commitment
Kamehameha Schools and subsidiaries consolidated financial statements and supplementary schedules
  • L L P Accuity
Accuity, L. L. P. (2012). Kamehameha Schools and subsidiaries consolidated financial statements and supplementary schedules. df
Culture resource management challenges in Hawai'i. SAA Archaeological Record
  • K Cachola-Abad
Cachola-Abad, K. (2013). Culture resource management challenges in Hawai'i. SAA Archaeological Record, 13, 33-34.
He pane ho'omālmalama: Setting the record straight and a second call for partnership
  • K Cachola-Abad
  • E H Ayau
Cachola-Abad, K. & Ayau, E. H. (1999). He pane ho'omālmalama: Setting the record straight and a second call for partnership. Hawaiian Archaeology, 7, 73-81.