Video courtesy State of Hawaii, voice of Sherry Bracken
HONOLULU – Native Hawaiian burial treatments are now legal in the state of Hawaii, after a new law was signed by Governor David Ige.
On Tuesday, the governor signed a handful of bills relating to Hawaiian affairs. One of those bills, Senate Bill 1166 (now Act 171), helps to perpetuate sacred Native Hawaiian burial traditions. The state says the new law clarifies ambiguities in Hawaii law.
The law adds two new sections to Section 711-1108, Hawaii Revised Statutes concerning “abuse of a corpse”. The misdemeanor offense is defined as:
§711-1108 Abuse of a corpse. (1) A person commits the offense of abuse of a corpse if, except as authorized by law, the person treats a human corpse in a way that the person knows would outrage ordinary family sensibilities.
The new sections are:
(2) The preparation of a corpse for burial or cremation in a manner consistent with traditional Hawaiian cultural customs and practices shall not be a violation of this section.
(3) The burial or cremation of a corpse prepared consistent with traditional Hawaiian cultural customs and practices shall not be a violation of this section.
The practices that will now be free from the threat of criminal prosecution were explained in senate committee. Hilo State Senators Gil Kahele and Lorraine Inouye were a part of the discussion.