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Hawaiian Burials

Native Hawaiian Burials

Iwi Kupuna


Kapu means something is sacred, holy, forbidden or not to be touched or made public. If something was kapu, it is not to be known or used in an average day to day way. It is reserved for future generations to take care for the burial, and it is special to the families.

In the Hawaiian custom the inheritance of the family burial caves and secret burial places was handed down by birthright from their ancestors. The burial customs were upheld by the Hawaiian people. It was customary that even if the rule of the chiefs and their land representatives might change, burial rights of the families survived on their lands without desecration. Burials in Hawai‘i were seen as very sacred, permanent and spiritual.

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