Maui News

Bill on Sacred Native Burial Traditions Becomes Law

June 30, 2015, 3:55 PM HST
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Maui Now file photo by Carlos Rock.

By Maui Now Staff

Governor David Ige today signed several bills into law during a ceremony a the state Capitol including a measure that allows traditions relating to Native Hawaiian burials to continue without the threat of criminal prosecution.

Senate Bill 1166 relating to the penal code was signed into law, becoming Act 171. The measure is aimed at protecting sacred Native Hawaiian traditions of preparing deceased beloved family members for burial.

Governor David Ige said the law clarifies ambiguities in state law and allows these traditions to continue.  In a press release issued today, Gov. Ige said, “This measure just makes it crystal clear that our laws will allow for anyone wanting to exercise the traditional burial practices of Native Hawaiians, that they would be allowed to do so.”

Kamana‘opono Crabbe, Ka Pouhana and CEO of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs also commented saying, “Hawai‘i is a special place and these new laws will help educate government officials on cultural protections guaranteed by the State Constitution and protect Hawaiian cultural practices.”

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Earlier today, the governor also signed a bill into law that makes it mandatory for certain state councils, boards and commissions to attend a course on Native Hawaiian customs and rights to be administered by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

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Another bill relating to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, House Bill 209, was signed into law relating to the OHA budget.  The new law provides OHA with nearly $3 million in general funds from the state in each of the next two fiscal years, matched by more than $6.4 million a year in OHA funds.

More than 70% of the general funds will be used to support direct services for individuals, families and community groups.

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