By Lynette Cruz
[This is a] set of photos from visit to site 4546, where we were able to offer ho'okupu, but not paper because it would damage the site (4546) that the army thinks it owns. The archaeologist said only plant based materials allowed, but she didn't stop the card-stock paper honoring William Pūnohu White from being placed there. She wanted to remove it afterward because, as she noted several times, it would damage the site. Perhaps our paper is different from theirs. Ours disintegrates when exposed to sun and rain and wind. That site may have been there for a century or more. And was exposed to multiple fires that the army was responsible for. Damn! Talk about harm.
Vince consulted with the valley. The valley said leave it. He told her that. Showdown time. The archaeologist called the MPs and the MPs notified the cops. Lockdown. Ann Wright, who was still in the truck, was escorted out. The rest of us sat down in a shady area and waited for MPs to arrive. Sparky Rodrigues trekked up to the site, in obvious discomfort, to check on us and decided it was ridiculous and prepared to be carried out.
Radio announced it would be 2.5 hours before MPs would arrive and it was already afternoon. HPD was at the gate. Around that time is when the archaeologist began having second thoughts about us being up high in the valley when the sun was already on its way down. So she changed her mind, just like that, and we headed out and down the road to the parking area. Cops were there. While we were talking, the MPs arrived. I got the sense the cops thought it was silly. Then we all left.
End of a pretty good day, actually, the kind of day that starts off with high energy and ends up with lots of witnesses who wonder about the unreasonableness of military personnel when faced with a decision to help or hinder. I think, not to be unkind, that in the end she was more concerned about helping herself than about cutting us some slack to leave our ho'okupu in place, you know, that damaging paper that rates rather low in the scale of harms done to sacred sites.