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State, church face lawsuit over unearthed remains

A descendant of a Hawaiian queen has sued the state and a historic Honolulu church where construction unearthed dozens of human remains.

Abigail Kawananakoa alleges Kawaiahao Church, with the help of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, circumvented state burial laws to fast-track the construction of a $17.5 million, 30,000-square-foot multipurpose center.

Construction was halted in March after workers came upon 69 graves.

Kawananakoa — whose ancestors, including Queen Kapiolani, are among those buried there — filed her lawsuit Wednesday.

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"I must take this to court because I cannot allow the desecration of Hawaiian graves to continue," Kawananakoa said in an e-mail to The Honolulu Advertiser.

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