Articles Posted in Native American Law

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Paulette Kaleikini is a native Hawaiian who engages in traditional and customary practices, including the protection of native Hawaiian burial remains. Kaleikini brought suit against the City and County of Honolulu and the State of Hawai'i, challenging the approval of the Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project. Kaleikini argued that the rail project should be enjoined until an archaeological inventory survey, which identifies and documents archaeological historic properties and burial sites in the project area, is completed for all four phases of the project. The City moved to dismiss Kaleikini’s complaint and/or for summary judgment, and the State joined in the motion. The City acknowledged that an archaeological inventory survey was required for each phase of the rail project. The City and State contended that as long as an archeological inventory survey had been completed for a particular phase, construction could begin on that part of the project even if the surveys for the other phases had not yet been completed. The Circuit Court of the First Circuit granted summary judgment in favor of the City and State on all of Kaleikini’s claims. Kaleikini appealed the circuit court’s final judgment in favor of the City and the State. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that the City and State failed to comply with State law pertaining to the surveys and its implementing rules when it concurred in the rail project prior to the completion of the required archaeological inventory survey for the entire project. The City similarly failed to comply with State law and its implementing rules by granting a special management area permit for the rail project and by commencing construction prior to the completion of the historic preservation review process. Accordingly, the Supreme Court vacated the circuit court’s judgment on Counts 1 through 4 of Kaleikini’s complaint and remanded the case to the circuit court for further proceedings on those counts. The Court affirmed the circuit court’s judgment in all other respects. View "Kalekini v. Yoshioka" on Justia Law