Traditional and Customary Practices

Standing with Practitioners for Native Hawaiian culture

Native Hawaiian culture is embodied in rich and diverse traditional and customary practices, and those traditional and customary practices are protected in the Hawaiʻi State Constitution. Yet, the ability to engage in and perpetuate traditional and cultural practices are often challenged and frustrated by private and government actions.

NHLC stands with practitioners in their legal battles to have their traditional and customary practice rights upheld. As examples, this has included cases to:

  • secure the rights of Native Hawaiians to practice the indigenous religion, though serving their sentences in prisons on the mainland.
  • challenge the failure of hospitals to recognize the cultural significance of placentas in Native Hawaiian traditional and customary practice. Classified as toxic waste, placentas were destroyed by hospitals. This policy and practice was odious to the Native Hawaiian tradition of burying the placenta in a place of significance.
  • secure reasonable access to Hawaiian language immersion school options for Native Hawaiian students in the public school system.

If you have a legal issue and would like to see if we can help you, please call our office at (808) 521-2302 or contact us using our Contact Form.


Kirsha Durante

Litigation Director

Ashley Obrey, Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation Senior Staff Attorney

Ashley Obrey

Senior Staff Attorney


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