While former President Barack Obama continues to be seen as some sort of divine demigod by the Democratic base, the people of his native Hawaii are starting to sour on No. 44.
That’s because an under-development property with ties to the former Commander in Chief is being developed on what appears to be an ancient burial ground.
On a Wednesday morning in early July, the Oahu Island Burial Council logged on to Zoom for its monthly meeting. Members, who are appointed by the governor to oversee and consult on the treatment of Native Hawaiian remains, faced a long agenda. Bones had been found at a variety of construction sites. Some were discovered under a sidewalk, others near a waterline replacement project.
Kamuela Kala‘i was there to speak up for ancestors in Waimanalo, a Native Hawaiian community in eastern Oahu. In January, workers had found human remains, or iwi kupuna, as they reshaped a multimillion-dollar oceanfront lot into a luxury compound being developed by Marty Nesbitt, the chair of the Obama Foundation and head of a Chicago-based private-equity firm. The bones were unearthed in an area where the owners were planning a swimming pool and septic system, and they were reburied months later on another part of the property. A state official made the decision to relocate the remains.
Kala‘i was furious with the developers.
“All over the place, our kupuna, somehow it is OK to sacrifice them for the sake of buildings and cesspools and swimming pools,” Kala‘i said, her voice trembling. “It’s not OK. It’s not OK. I will say that until the last breath in my body can say it.”
And it gets worse:
Nesbitt’s consultants presented their burial plan to the Oahu Island Burial Council, and Kala‘i asked if she could honor the boy before he was covered back up. At the grave site, she and members of her family offered a pule, or prayer, for their Native Hawaiian ancestor, who long ago had been buried along the coast where local fishing villages once prevailed. After the burial was complete, they placed lei around the grave.
Then, in January, workers found two more sets of human remains as construction began. For months, the bones were stored in what state officials referred to as a “temporary curation facility.” Kala‘i, who visited the iwi kupuna on the property in April, said they were being stored in the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet inside a construction trailer. She said the baskets containing the bones were covered with black mildew.
The fact that construction continues on the home even after the discovery and mistreatment of these remains also seems to indicate that the Obama inner circle is unaware of the plot of the film Poltergeist.
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