Haleakalá, the dormant volcano here on Maui, is a sacred site to the Hawaiians.
In the scope of our indigenous work we had a passion to help protect this site from a proposed construction of a 40-foot tall telescope – construction that was felt by many to be a source of unhealth to the land and its Spirit, but that the people that are also known as the true caretakers of the land here, the Hawaiians, not being heard in their quest to protect their inheritance caused rise in us to step up and stand together with them.
Our approach was to reach out to the world to bring visibility to the issue, to what was felt as an assault to the people and the land, and to circulate a petition asking that the project be terminated. We reached out nationally, and internationally, and when the signatures came in they were hand-delivered into the courthouse as a hearing was underway.
Now, there has begun a movement for the protection of Mauna Kea, a volcano on The Big Island of Hawaii – also considered a sacred site. This time the offense seems more blatant – with 13 telescopes already there, 13 times the Hawaiians have lost their cry to keep this piece of land safe within their care, they face yet another assault on their land, their people, their beliefs, their Spirit…
Let’s join the support team, the family – ohana – that is coming together to stand together. Science is a beautiful and essential thing, but need not be at the risk or sacrifice of the land it intends to reside on, or the people whose graces, whose aloha, is happy to welcome us in as visitors…
This stand now on a much larger scale as Haleakala could have been. On April 13th there was a walk-out by students at the University of Hawaii on Maui asking that the plans for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) be withdrawn. The claim that they should do so is three-fold: cultural, political, and environmental.
An assistant professor of Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaii Maui College outlined three major reasons– cultural, political, and environmental–for taking a stand against the construction of the TMT on Mauna Kea.
“When we talk about Mauna Kea being a sacred place, we call the tops of our mountains wao akua, a realm of gods. This is a religious practice. The way we view our land; the way that we interact with our land; the way we engage our land—it is a religious practice that’s been developed over thousands of years for a specific reason, mainly to promote the health of our land so that we can continue to live here for thousands of generations more. To promote the balance between ʻāina (our land) and people”.
This is a balance we are seeking to promote throughout the world. When one victory is achieved, it makes the next easier. If you feel called as our Root Movement does to move together with the Hawaiians in this cause, please sign this petition which will be delivered to Governor David Ige.
The International Indian Treaty Council has issued a statement calling for international support to stop the desecration of Native Hawaiians’ sacred Mauna Kea Mountain. The statement also calls on the United States to abide by its international obligation to protect human rights and Indigenous Peoples’ sacred sites.