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2003-09-11
Honolulu, HI. Lawsuit Accuses Wal-Mart Of Desecrating Ancestral Gravesites.

Wal-Mart makes no bones about unearthing human remains in order to build yet another store. On May 31, 2003, we reported on Wal-Mart's excavation of human skeletons in Hawaii, and of the local opposition to their project. A non-profit corporation and a local resident have filed a civil lawsuit against Wal-Mart and state officials in the First Circuit of Hawaii seeking a permanent injunction to stop work on a two story, 317,000 s.f. retail development on crowded Ke'eaumoku Street in downtown Honolulu. The project consists of a Wal-Mart and Sam's Club double-decker, and a four level parking garage for 1,600 cars, set on 10.5 acres of land. Wal-Mart began construction on the site last January, having conducted what plaintiffs call "an abbreviated archaeological inventory survey". When Wal-Mart began to dig, they uncovered no less than 25 sets of human remains. The lawsuit, brought by the non-profit Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai'I Nei, and by Paulette Ka'Anohiokalani Kaleikini, charges that state officials conspired with Wal-Mart "to deliberately and intentionally seek to effect the removal of burial remains in conscious disregard" of state law, and then "improperly cared for those exposed remains, and allowed water and sewage to seep into the excavation pits containing the exposed remains." The lawsuit claims that there are "still significant undiscovered human burial remains" on the Wal-Mart site, and that Wal-Mart has been allowed to engage in "improper and illegal removal" of these remains. Wal-Mart's conduct is called "extreme and outrageous", and has denied lineal descendants of the buried to have access to, maintain, and worship the remains "in the tradition of their ancestors". The litigation asserts that Wal-Mart and government officials violated state law against the desecration of grave sites, and caused relatives to suffer "extreme emotional distress and injury". The plaintiffs want Wal-Mart to be enjoined from any futher illegal conduct, and for descendants of those disturbed remains to receive damages for the desecration of family graves.

What you can do: For more background on this case, contact the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, or info@sprawl-busters.com. Wal-Mart has unearthed skeletons in Tennessee, New York, Massachusetts, Arizona, and other locations. For similar stories, search this database by "bones".










 
 
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