Standing for Mauna Kea

April 16, 2015

A group of Native Hawaiian activists and their supporters have been blocking a construction site on Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano on the island of Hawaii, where project directors want to break ground to begin building a $1.4 billion telescope and observatory complex on land that is sacred to the Kanaka Maoli. Some 31 people were arrested in a protest on April 2, after which Gov. David Ige reportedly imposed a moratorium on construction that ends on April 20.

The Idle No More movement based in Canada expressed solidarity with the struggle against the Thirty Meter Telescope project, in this statement published at the Idle No More website.

IDLE NO More supports and acknowledges the Mauna Kea Hui, protecting the Sacred Mauna Kea and surrounding water against construction of a Canadian-funded proposal to build a massive 18-story telescope. The structure will reach 20 feet underground and also include a 21,000-square-foot office building, road and parking lot all on conservation lands on Mauna Kea's summit. This mega-telescope is called the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).

The Land Defenders, known as the Mauna Kea Hui, and their supporters are opposed to the desecration of this sacred and ecologically fragile place and will continue to peacefully protest despite 31 arrests as of April 2, 2015. The ages of the Mauna Kea Hui land defenders who were arrested on April 2nd range from 26 to 75, several of whom are Elders. A crowdfunding campaign has been created to raise money for bail for those arrested as well as to support for ongoing protests:

As stated by Kealoha Pisciotta, Paul K. Neves, Deborah J. Ward, Kalani Flores, Pua Case, Flores Case Ohana, Clarence Kukauahi Ching and KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance to one of the key project funders Gordon Moore in an open letter dated April 1, 2015:

Protesters were arrested for blockading a construction project on sacred land in Hawaii
Protesters were arrested for blockading a construction project on sacred land in Hawaii

The summit of Mauna Kea is protected by state and federal laws that support conservation over development because Mauna Kea is home to rare plant and animal species found nowhere else on planet Earth, some on the brink of extinction. Astronomy, including the search for life on other planets, is a noble endeavor, but it loses that nobility when its actions threaten life on Earth. Extinction begins the process of unraveling creation--it is forever, and it is unacceptable, especially in this day and age.

Mauna Kea is one of the most sacred places in the Pacific. Islanders use the mountain as a place of spiritual contemplation, healing and recreation. National Geographic recently named it as one of the holiest places on Earth. For Native Hawaiians, Mauna Kea is a temple dedicated to Aloha and peace. It is where our supreme being gave birth to all living things. It was the meeting place of Papa (Earth Mother) and Wakea (Sky Father), the progenitors of the Hawaiian people, and is the burial ground of the most revered of Hawaiian ancestors.

Mauna Kea's high elevation landscape is used for ceremonies that contain star and other knowledge essential to modern Hawaiian voyaging. Hawaiians used this knowledge millennia before modern astronomy to voyage to hundreds of tiny islands spread over 10 million square miles of the Pacific. More than 93 astronomical sites are available in the world for doing astronomy, but Mauna Kea is the only place on Earth for conducting these ceremonies.

Although not an official partner yet, Canada has already poured $35 million into the project. The planners are anticipating an additional $300 million from Canada.

We stand with our Kanaka Maoli Relations in their defense of their Sacred Mountain and the waters that are connected to us all. We demand that the Canadian government not fund an additional $300 millions that will devastate the lands of the Kanaka Maoli peoples. We are pleased to read a report that Native Hawaiian leaders have called on Gov. David Ige and University of Hawaii President David Lassner to establish a 30-day moratorium on construction for the highly controversial mega-telescope.

We ask you to support the protection of this sacred site and sign the online petition. You will find more information, resources and links on the petition to Hawaiian Gpv. David Ige. We urge you to sign this petition: Stop TMT Construction and Arrests of Mauna Kea Protectors.

"Kukiaʻimauna, Eo! Standing for Mauna Kea, we respond for the love of our mountain."
-- Pua Case

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