Hawaiian Groups to Settle Dispute Over Artifacts Outside of Court
The Hawaiian groups entangled in a court dispute over a collection of artifacts hidden in a Big Island cave have agreed to try to settle their case outside of court.
That's according to William Aila spokesman of Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei.
He says all the groups agreed that they would participate in a Hawaiian mediation process.
Hui Malama's executive director, Edward Halealoha Ayau, has been jailed since late last month for refusing to tell chief U-S District Judge David Ezra exactly where the objects are and who participated in their burial.
In an unusual judicial move, Ezra had given all sides until today to decide whether they wanted to try and resolve their dispute using Hawaiian elders as mediators instead of lawyers.
According to court documents, the Bishop Museum lent the items to the group in 2000.
The group said it has restored the items, which it considers funerary and stolen, to their rightful place.
But 13 other Hawaiian groups also claim to own them.
Two groups, Na Lei Alii Kawananakoa and the Royal Hawaiian Academy of Traditional Arts, are suing Hui Malama for the objects' return.