OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Burial Councils

OHA Seeks Island Burial Council Candidates

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) continuously seeks qualified candidates to recommend to the governor as nominees for appointment to fill vacancies on the island burial councils. The deadline to apply to OHA for the current round of recommendations is Friday, October 18, 2013. This webpage provides:

Island Burial Councils

There are five island burial councils serving the following areas: Hawaiʻi, Maui/Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi/Niʻihau.  There are five island burial councils serving the following areas: Hawaiʻi, Maui/Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi/Niʻihau.  With the enactment of the new island burial councils law, Act 276 (Session Laws, 2013), the number of representatives for the Kaua‘i/Ni‘ihau, O‘ahu, Maui/Lāna‘i and Hawai‘i island burial councils were reduced from 15 to nine and the Moloka‘i island burial council from 15 to five.  Each council may have at least one representative for each of its regions and up to three landowner/developer representatives, with the exception of Moloka‘i which may have up to one landowner/developer representative.

Kuleana of Island Burial Councils

The island burial councils play a crucial role in the care of iwi kūpuna (ancestral remains) found in Native Hawaiian burial sites. Island burial council members meet on a monthly basis to:

  • Determine whether previously identified Native Hawaiian burial sites will be preserved in place or relocated.
  • Assist the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and its State Historic Preservation Division in developing an inventory of Native Hawaiian burial sites.
  • Make recommendations regarding appropriate management, treatment, and protection of Native Hawaiian burial sites, and on any other matters related to Native Hawaiian burial sites.

General Selection Process

The governor appoints members to the island burial councils from lists developed by OHA and DLNR.  By law, at least two  regional representatives on each of the island burial councils must be selected from a list of candidates provided by OHA.  The state Senate confirms all governor-appointed island burial council members.

OHA’s Recommendation Process

OHA submits a nomination list to fill current and impending vacancies annually. Our goal is to ensure that all regional representative positions are filled so that the island burial councils are able to meet quorum requirements and fulfill their important kuleana. OHA seeks candidates not only to fill current vacancies, but who are willing to serve should an unexpected vacancy occur.

Those interested in being considered to be included in OHA’s list of recommended candidates must fill out this application.

OHA will evaluate candidates based on their ability to represent a given region and to demonstrate an “understanding of Hawaiian culture, history, customs, practices, and in particular, beliefs and practices relating to the care and protection of Native Hawaiian burial sites and ancestral remains and burial goods” (Section 6E-43.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes). Those interested in being recommended by OHA must also affirm their commitment to participating actively in monthly burial council meetings and occasional site visits.

Apply by August 31st for appointment and confirmation in the next legislative session.

For additional information please contact kamailem@oha.org.



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