Proposed Research Activities at Saint Joseph’s

National Science Foundation News Release

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is conducting consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act related to NSF funding to the University of Hawaii for research entitled “Unmarked Burials at a Molokai Cemetery: Building and Broadening Community Engaged Research Methods, Faculty Networks, and Student STEM Opportunities.”

The research is in response to a request made by the Saint Damien Cemetery Committee for identification of unmarked burials at a cemetery located on Molokai, which would allow the Cemetery Committee to place commemorative markers where appropriate, to identify space for future burials, and to document who is buried at unmarked burials, to the extent that those are known, based on archival and ethnographic research. The project is to be carried out primarily using family and community-based ethnographic and archival research methods. If additional information is needed beyond those methods, non-invasive forensic and archaeological methods are to be employed, including mapping and temporary turf removal, to determine whether there is soil discoloration present, which would indicate the presence of a burial site. Importantly, if turf is removed, it will only be removed for a matter of hours and will then be returned to its previous state. Also of importance is that these methodologies would not involve the disturbance of human remains and that the family and community members consulted by the research team, in early 2022, stated that they did not view these methodologies as harmful or likely to result in any adverse effects to the burial sites.

NSF invites consulting parties to participate in a hybrid, virtual and in-person options, Section 106 consultation meeting to consider potential effects to historic properties associated with the proposed research activities.

The meeting will take place April 11, from 4-6 p.m. at the OHA Conference Room, Kulana Oiwi, Suite D2, 600 Maunaloa Hwy Kaunakakai, HI 96748.

To attend virtually, please register in advance for this meeting: zoomgov.com/meeting/register/vJIsd-CqrzooE66iCmU-SCVeR5al9fUOu40.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


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