(CN) – A Hawaiian woman has standing to challenge the disinterment of native burial remains, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled.
Paulette Kaleikini sued Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources to stop a plan to disturb Native Hawaiian burial grounds, which were discovered at the site of General Growth Properties’ commercial development at the Ward Village Shops on Oahu Island.
The island’s burial council approved a burial treatment plan, but Kaleikini objected. She did not find success in the trial court or the appeals court, but Chief Justice Ronald Moon of the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that although her appeal is now moot, the law required Kaleikini to receive a contested-case hearing.
Moon vacated the appeals court order dismissing Kaleikini’s appeal and sent the case back to trial.
“The public has a vital interest in the proper disposition of the bodies of its deceased persons, which is in nature a sacred trust for the benefit of all,” Moon wrote.