Let the sand stay where the people lay

Mahalo to The Maui News for its informative piece Dec. 12 about the Inland Sand Quantification study. David Goode, director of the Department of Public Works, recommends the sand not be shipped off-island but rather be stockpiled on Maui for future uses, such as beach replenishment and cement production.

He states: “As long as the removal is not detrimental to cultural artifacts” the entire Puuone sand dune complex in Central Maui is protected under the Wailuku-Kahului Community Plan as a Wahi Pana (significant traditional place).

The county is required by law to comply with the provisions of the community plan. The sand dunes are the site of the historic Battle of Kakanilua in which hundreds of Hawaii island chiefly warriors perished. The Puuone sand dunes are a well-documented burial ground for kanaka maoli living in the area. In fact, it was recently disclosed that over 700 burial sites have been found in the Maui Lani project district, and one site may have countless burials.

It’s time to protect what is left of this hollowed ground. As a kanaka maoli, it is painful to watch the continued desecration of my ancestors, and it is time for the first people of this land to be respected and treated with dignity. I say, any further removal of sand is detrimental to cultural artifacts, and to kanaka maoli who still live and breathe the culture of our ancestors. Let the sand stay where the people lay.

Noelani Ahia