Would you let someone dig up your tutu’s grave?

In 2012 I was making limu lei in the backyard of one of the plaintiffs who is now suing to stop sand mining and the continued desecration of the sand hills. Back then, despite testimony against the Maui Lani project, developers were pushing it through by manipulating laws, promising parks and ignoring archeological evidence, anything that would get them what they wanted: to make millions building homes on the bones of the ancestors.

We took the leis to the construction site off Waiko Road and traditional practitioners conducted a ceremony for the disturbed iwi kupuna. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew I walked on sacred ground and was participating in a much-needed tradition. With heavy hearts, pule was given, leis and water were offered, and my prayer was “forgive us ancestors.” I could feel the mana there. Afterword, we took the leis to the ocean and released them.

Maui Waena Intermediate, also built in the sand dunes, requested a ceremony be done to calm the spirits, citing “energetic” disturbances in their cafeteria and playground. Again, the spirits felt present. I felt someone grab me by the shoulder as I held the leis.

Why do I write this? Iwi kupuna are the mana of this land. Their desecration continues. Oahu has been sold thousands of tons from these sacred hills to build their doomed railway.

Sand mining needs to stop. Support the county moratorium. Call your council member today.

Sierra Knight