It seems as though former President Barack Obama and his team haven’t learned much from scary movies.
There are a few rules that horror movies always seem to live by. If you get bitten by a zombie, you’ll become one yourself. Vampire hate sunlight and garlic. Werewolves can only be killed by Silver Bullets.
Oh, and as always, don’t build your home on a burial ground. Apparently, No. 44 never got the memo.
On a Wednesday morning in early July, the Oahu Island Burial Council logged on to Zoom for its monthly meeting. Members, who are appointed by the governor to oversee and consult on the treatment of Native Hawaiian remains, faced a long agenda. Bones had been found at a variety of construction sites. Some were discovered under a sidewalk, others near a waterline replacement project.
Kamuela Kala‘i was there to speak up for ancestors in Waimanalo, a Native Hawaiian community in eastern Oahu. In January, workers had found human remains, or iwi kupuna, as they reshaped a multimillion-dollar oceanfront lot into a luxury compound being developed by Marty Nesbitt, the chair of the Obama Foundation and head of a Chicago-based private-equity firm. The bones were unearthed in an area where the owners were planning a swimming pool and septic system, and they were reburied months later on another part of the property. A state official made the decision to relocate the remains.
Kala‘i was furious with the developers.
“All over the place, our kupuna, somehow it is OK to sacrifice them for the sake of buildings and cesspools and swimming pools,” Kala‘i said, her voice trembling. “It’s not OK. It’s not OK. I will say that until the last breath in my body can say it.”
And that’s not all:
Then, in January, workers found two more sets of human remains as construction began. For months, the bones were stored in what state officials referred to as a “temporary curation facility.” Kala‘i, who visited the iwi kupuna on the property in April, said they were being stored in the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet inside a construction trailer. She said the baskets containing the bones were covered with black mildew.
Mary Nesbitt must not be very superstitious.