Ka Hoʻina: Coming Home documents the legacy of repatriating iwi kūpuna
(ancestral remains) by Native Hawaiians who have been trained under the
direction of respected cultural practitioners Edward and Pualani Kanahele.
What started off in December 1988 from the archaeological disinterment of
over 1,100 ancestral Native Hawaiians from Honokahua, Maui led to the
establishment of Hui Mālama I Nā Kūpuna O Hawaiʻi Nei, an organization
dedicated to the proper treatment of ancestral Native Hawaiian remains. Over the
past 30 years, Hui Mālama and its members have overcome the struggles of
advocating for the cultural protection and right to care for iwi kūpuna. With more
than 6,000 sets of iwi kūpuna from more than 60 different museums, institutions,
and agencies around the world, the team set off again on a journey 7,000 miles
from home for one of Hui Mālama’s final repatriations as an organization to return
over 140 sets of iwi kūpuna.
Ka Hoʻina: Coming Home highlights how a strong foundation in supporting
one another was critical to the success of the entire Hui Mālama organization as
they worked to reintroduce this traditional practice of caring for iwi kūpuna
despite pushback even from their own community. Ka Hoʻina: Coming Home
takes you through the timeline of cultural reawakening, and a shift in perspective
from something “eerie” to simply a natural part of caring for your ancestors.