Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

A Grave Matter

  • Rating: ***
  • Audience: College to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $125.00 Home use: $39.95
  • Date: Copyright 1993. Released 1993.
  • Descriptors: Museums. Hawaii - History. Anthropology.
  • Production Information: Live action. Produced by Kelly Briley. Directed by Kelly Briley, Erica Heinsen. Color. Also available in 3/4 inch. Dolby, Stereo. 30 min.
  • Available from: CrossCurrent Media 346 9th Street, 2nd Floor San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 552-9550
  • Cataloging: 306.08'994 Hawaiians - Claims||Cemeteries - Hawaii - Desecration||Documentary films
  • Print Entry #: 5:668
  • Reviewer: Beverly Robertson

    The Hui Malama, a Hawaiian nationalist organization seeking to repatriate the remains of native Hawaiians housed in museums and research institutions, is documented in its efforts to persuade the Phoebe Hearst Museum at the University of California, Berkeley to return four sets of remains. Each of the involved parties recounts its side of the story, from the museum's director to representatives of the Hui Malama, and even UCB students who developed an interest in the case.

    Basing their grievance on the North American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1991, which requires federally funded institutions to identify and return remains to indigenous groups, the Hui Malama claim that the remains were obtained unlawfully and must be returned to their homeland. The museum responded initially that even though the remains were taken from Hawaii, they first needed to verify that they were indeed Hawaiian. After much wrangling back and forth, two of the remains were released to the Hui Malama, which continues to seek repatriation of the remaining two, as well as remains from other institutions. Their accomplishments are impressive, having successfully reclaimed remains from institutions internationally, as well as from such prominent national institutions as the Museum of Natural History in New York and the Smithsonian Institutions.

    The technical quality of the production is adequate, but far from professional. The audio is often muddy, and the camera action is at times amateurishly jerky, with some shots not properly framed. Still, this is an interesting documentation of an attempt to reconcile the barbaric colonialism of the past. Recommended where local history warrants, or for colleges and universities with an appropriate field of study.

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