Mauna Kea Protests: Native Hawaiian Activists Are Fighting for Their Sacred Land. Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners have repeatedly failed in court to prove that these practices predate 1893, which is … Scientists selected Mauna Kea in 2009 after a five-year worldwide search for the ideal site. A key component in the movement to prevent the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea is the creation of access to education rooted in Hawaiian history and Hawaiian culture. [66], More than 1,000 people marched in Waikiki and gathered in Kapiolani Park on July 21, 2019 in protest of the project. [44] Many native Hawaiians and environmentalists are opposed to any further telescopes. The Thirty Meter Telescope protests are a series of protests and demonstrations that began on the Island of Hawaii over the choosing of Mauna Kea for the site location of the Thirty Meter Telescope. [33], The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is a proposed extremely large, segmented mirror telescope, planned for the summit of Mauna Kea. Between 300 and 500 protesters stood where the Mauna Kea Access Road begins. The Supreme Court of Hawaii has ruled the telescope does not violate environmental laws, nor Native Hawaiian rights to engage in traditional and customary practices. The state Board of Land and Natural Resources first issued the organization a permit in 2013, but the supreme court invalidated it in 2015, leading TMT to obtain the second, current permit. Native kānaka ʻōiwi believed the entire site was sacred and that developing the mountain, even for science, would spoil the area. [63] On July 17, 33 protestors were arrested, all of whom were kūpuna, or elders, as the blockage of the access road continued. [35] Urgency in construction is due to the competitive nature of science with the European-Extremely Large Telescope also under construction. A planned ceremony at the base of the mountain was scheduled by the group, Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, in opposition of the telescope[46] and in a press release dated that day, the organization Sacred Mauna Kea stated: "Native Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians will gather for a peaceful protest against the Astronomy industry and the State of Hawaii’s ground-breaking ceremony for a thirty-meter telescope (TMT) on the summit of Mauna Kea. [62] On 15 July, protestors blocked the access road to the mountain preventing the planned construction from commencing. The organization chose Mauna Kea partly because it is the best place for telescope astronomy research in the northern hemisphere, if not the world, said Gordon Squires, the TMT's vice president for external relations. [30] Today, Mauna Kea hosts the world's largest location for telescope observations in infrared and submillimeter astronomy. [71] Situated on a 38-acre conservation district directly across from the Mauna Kea access road, Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu have access to food, medical supplies, education, cultural practices and ceremony. To Native Hawaiians, Mauna Kea is a sacred place. Mauna Kea was announced as TMT's preferred site in 2009. Mauna Kea telescope project halted after months of protests Hawai‘i Gov. [43], The 1998 study Mauna Kea Science Reserve and Hale Pohaku Complex Development Plan Update stated that "... nearly all the interviewees and all others who participated in the consultation process (Appendices B and C) called for a moratorium on any further development on the summit of Mauna Kea". will follow the process set forth by the state. Environmental groups and Native Hawaiian activist were a lot stronger at this time than in the past but NASA went ahead with the proposal for lack of an alternate site. The protests sparked statewide, national as well as international attention to Hawaiian culture, Mauna Kea and the 45-year history of 13 other telescopes on the mountain. Tests on Maui's Haleakalā were promising but the mountain was too low in the inversion layer and often covered by clouds. Cultural practitioners who say they stand in protection of Mauna Kea, as a sacred Native Hawaiian site, have been protesting telescope development on the mountain since it first began in the 1960s. [60], On April 21, 2015, hundreds of protesters filled the streets of Honolulu protesting against the TMT. [3] Opposition to the project began shortly after the announcement of Mauna Kea as the chosen site out of 5 proposals. (Maunakea is a proper noun; Mauna Kea, another common spelling, is a reference to any white mountain.) Classes at Puʻuhuluhulu University are taught by kiaʻi (protectors) of Maunakea, community members, and professors at the University of Hawaiʻi. [3] Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners have repeatedly failed in court to prove that these practices predate 1893, which is the threshold for protection under Hawaii State law. Mauna Kea, standing over 13,000 feet high, is a staple in Hawaiian mythology, known to some as a place of worship. "We're always facing the difficulty in having those practices and rights be recognized," Kalama said. Protests disrupted a groundbreaking and Hawaiian blessing ceremony at the site in 2014. “I think we've kind of altered what's possible in Hawaii and what's possible for ourselves," Beamer said. [15], Although polls, some of them highly criticized,[23] indicate that a majority of Hawaii residents support the Thirty Meter Telescope,[24] opposition to the project and other observatories has existed since 1964. [42], The Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources conditionally approved the Mauna Kea site for the TMT in February 2011. An artist rendering of the Thirty Meter Telescope. When deciding if TMT and associated economic development is worth compromising one of their most sacred places, Kalama said Native Hawaiians also consider how it could affect future generations. [68] It was announced on August 9, that astronomers at other Mauna Kea observatories would return to work after halting for many weeks in response to the gathering protesters and activists. Opposition to building on Mauna Kea is nothing new. Spain has permits to build giant telescope blocked in Hawaii By JOSEPH WILSON November 20, 2019 In late July, Gov. The Mauna Medics hui was co-founded by Dr. Kalama O Ka Aina Niheu in 2017 order to provide medical assistance should any of the protector need medical assistance. [88] On October 30, 2018, the Supreme Court of Hawaii validated the construction permit.[7]. A leader of the movement, he stopped a TMT groundbreaking ceremony in 2014 and protested on the mountain again the following year before the Supreme Court of Hawaii approved the $1.4 billion project. Medical professionals such as doctors, nurses, and paramedics volunteer their time at Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu and all medical supplies are also donated to make sure that protectors are cared for. [92] In an online petition, a group of Canadian academics, scientists, and students have called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau together with Industry Minister Navdeep Bains and Science Minister Kirsty Duncan to divest Canadian funding from the project. Indigenous peoples from all around the world have attended protocol to offer solidarity with the Protect Mauna Kea movement. Some, such as Damian Marley, Jason Momoa, Dwayne Johnson, Jack Johnson and Ezra Miller traveled to the location and participated in the protests. Statewide, Hawaiians and part-Hawaiians account for 21% of the population, according to the Pew Research Center. [72], Kapu Aloha is the governance model for Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu. As for environmental law, the state supreme court also approved TMT's construction in a conservation district, noting the organization's plans to protect Mauna Kea's natural resources and the approval of TMT's Environmental Impact Statement in 2010. When the trucks were finally allowed to pass, protesters followed the procession up the summit. The controversy dates to 1893, when Hawaii's constitutional monarch, Queen Liliʻuokalani, was overthrown with U.S. support. making a stand to be caretakers of their native land, TMT's conservation district use permit for the project, 34 arrested in protest of massive telescope on sacred Hawaiian peak, Actor Jason Momoa has spent his summer protesting construction of telescope in Hawaii, Why protecting Mauna Kea in Hawai'i is a crucial fight for native rights, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Protesters continue their opposition vigil against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope at Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii Friday, July 19, 2019. [2] The announcement came a day after the Hawaii County Council unanimously rejected a proposal by Mayor Harry Kim that would have authorized the county to accept reimbursement from the state for providing law enforcement on the mountain. [15] Over the years, the opposition to the observatories may have become the most visible example of the conflict science has encountered over access and use of environmental and culturally significant sites. "If you apply that logic to anywhere in Hawaii — a place of incredible beauty that is constantly under the pressure of development — it's a very, very dangerous logic for the future of our islands," Beamer said. "[69], On 19 December, Governor David Ige announced at a press conference that he was reopening the access road and withdrawing law enforcement from the mountain [1]. TMT officials say the telescope will not threaten the island's groundwater, and that scientists will work to protect the mountain's inhabitants. HILO, Hawaii (AP) — Hawaii has spent about $15 million to ensure safe access to Mauna Kea during an ongoing protest of a giant telescope project, the governor said. On September 28, 2017, the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources approved the TMT's Conservation District Use Permit. [74] The Mauna Medics hui is on site at Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu 24 hours a day and are available to treat minor medical issues such as altitude sickness. The next year, Congress passed the Newlands Resolution, a joint resolution of annexation that Beamer describes as a domestic U.S. law, not a treaty. On the Mauna Kea access road in front of what is now known as the kupuna (elders) tent there is daily protocol at 8am, 12noon and 5:30pm, in which protectors and visitors are able to learn and participate in Hawaiian cultural practices such as oli (chant), hula, and hoʻokupu (offerings). "Like most in the state of Hawaii, we recognize that we have complied with everything that has been asked of us over the last 10 years and that we have every legal right to proceed ... in a safe manner in a timely fashion," Squires told USA TODAY. Opponents said the Thirty Meter Telescope project on the state’s highest peak, which has since stalled, would desecrate land considered sacred by Native Hawaiians. David Ige announced the state had approved a two-year deadline extension to begin construction of the TMT. The online petition has currently gathered over 278,057 signatures worldwide. Protesters block the main access road to Mauna Kea in Hawaii. A Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation legal observer there that day claims that the report over embellished the belief that there was a threat. At the University of Hawaii Manoa, hundreds of students lined the streets for blocks and, one by one, they passed the stones from the student taro patch of the university's Center on Hawaiian Studies down the human chain to the lawn in front of the office university president, David Lassner, where the stones were used to build an ahu (the altar of a heiau) as a message to the university. In an increasingly familiar refrain, recent protests over the construction of a new telescope atop Mauna Kea are casting light on indigenous peoples and … The group raised several other concerns such as environmental over native insects, the question of Ceded lands and an audit report, critical of the mountain's management. None of these concerns proved accurate. A Sacred Place is Mauna Kea "Mauna Kea holds a special place on Earth, as it stands as a place of peace and Aloha, not just for Hawai`i but for the world." Building began in 1967 and first light seen in 1970. [50] On April 2, 2015, 300 protesters were gathered near the visitor's center where 12 people were arrested. But in Native Hawaiian resource management tradition, he described Mauna Kea as a zone only for special purposes, not for daily contact or habitation. So, I would say absolutely Hawaiians support science, but science also needs to be contextualized.". [81] Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu's noon protocol has also had Jason Momoa, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Damien Marley, Jack Johnson, and other celebrities participate and give hoʻokupu (offerings) of solidarity to the Mauna Kea protectors.[82][83][84]. The proposal was for a two-meter telescope to serve both the needs of NASA and the university. [77], In addition to the daily course offerings by Puʻuhuluhulu University are several community services created by University facilitators to support the well-being of both long-term and daily visitors at Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhlu. Testing also determined Mauna Kea to be superb for nighttime viewing due to many factors including the thin air, constant trade winds and being surrounded by sea. Kaipu Baker, a recent graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi who has taught Hawaiian language courses at Puʻuhuluhulu University noted that learning the Hawaiian language creates access to knowing cultural stories and their significance embedded in the language. 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