Kailua Burials Historic Topic

Kailua Historical Society will look underground for its next community discussion, set for 7 p.m. Sept. 23 at Trinity Presbyterian Church.

“Honoring the Departed: Kailua’s Burials” will feature a panel of caretakers, family representatives, current ‘Iwi council members, cemetery historian Nanette Napoleon and archaeologist June Cleghorn.

“The burials are scattered all over the place,” said KHS president Paul Brennan, a semi-retired archaeologist himself, “and people should be aware.”

Despite the lack of central, public cemeteries like Kaneohe has, the Kailua ahupua’a was not devoid of human burials, Brennan said. “Many remains, both pre-contact and later, have been found widely throughout our community by natural exposure and construction disturbance. In fact, ‘iwi continue to be exposed in the center of town as the Target property, the adjacent housing complex, and the former Arby’s site have witnessed probes beneath the soil.

“Archaeological monitoring is required by the state, anticipating the uncovering of human remains.”

The program will explore how such “discoveries” are or should be handled, and where the remains should be re-interred. Other questions: What protocol should be used? Who should preside over these transfers? What patterns of ancient burials are suggested? Further, where were/are family cemeteries located within Kailua? Have others been bulldozed away during road and building construction?

With the formulation of the Kawainui Marsh master plan looming, KHS believes this forum is an appropriate way to consider the final resting place for Kailua’s ancestors.

The church is located at 875 Auloa Road. For more information, call 262-7316.