Na Iwi O Na Kupuna O Mokapu v. John Dalton

894 F. Supp. 1397 (1995)

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Na Iwi O Na Kupuna O Mokapu v. John Dalton

United States District Court for the District of Hawaii
894 F. Supp. 1397 (1995)

KL

Facts

John Dalton, the secretary of the Department of the Navy (defendant), awarded a contract to the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (Bishop) (defendant) to prepare an inventory of human remains that had been disinterred from the Mokapu Peninsula in Hawaii, pursuant to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). NAGPRA was created to ensure that Native American remains and artifacts remained in the custody of Native American tribes and organizations. The purpose of the inventory was to obtain an accurate list of human remains and funerary objects and determine a minimum number of individuals represented by the remains. During the inventorying process, Bishop staff held several meetings with individuals from Native American organization Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawai’i Nei (Hui Malama) (plaintiff) to discuss the process and provide preliminary reporting. After the inventory was done, Hui Malama sued Dalton and Bishop on behalf of the human remains, called Na Iwi in Hawaiian, alleging that Dalton and Bishop violated NAGPRA by failing to return the Mokapu remains quickly enough and by conducting additional scientific research without permission. NAGPRA did not specifically allow for a cause of action filed by human remains. Dalton and Bishop moved for summary judgment, asserting, among other arguments, that human remains did not have standing to sue.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ezra, J.)

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