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Native Hawaiians Vow to Protect Sacred Maunakea Ahead of TMT Construction

July 11, 2019, 12:32 PM HST (Updated July 11, 2019, 12:32 PM)
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A Native Hawaiian group issued a statement on Thursday, July 11, regarding Gov. David Ige’s announcement on Wednesday, July 10, stating the construction of the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope with commence on Monday, July 15, 2019.

The statement has not been edited.

Today David Ige reaffirmed the State of Hawaiʻi’s commitment to ensure the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea beginning Monday, July 15, 2019.

Ige also reaffirmed the State’s commitment to protect the interests of foreign, private corporations rather than the rights of the people of Hawaiʻi through a long, coordinated and organized mass mobilization of Hawaʻi law enforcement at the expense of Hawaiʻi tax-payers.

ʻAkahi, Kanaka Maoli have never given consent to the construction of the TMT on Maunakea. In fact, we have overwhelmingly demonstrated our opposition to the construction of the TMT in every venue; court cases, testimonies, declarations, hearings, forums, and community meetings. The most explicit examples were the series of large protests and arrests of dozens of Kiaʻi (Protectors) on Maunakea which physically halted the construction of the TMT in 2015.

ʻAlua, Kanaka Maoli reassert our rights to our national crown and government lands. The TMT Corporation has no interest or ownership in the land. The summit of Maunakea, specifically the exact location where the TMT Corporation hopes to build their telescope, are national lands of Kanaka Maoli. Indeed, the TMT Corporation has a mere sublease from the University of Hawaiʻi.

ʻAkolu, we reaffirm that Maunakea is sacred to Kanaka Maoli. The summit of Maunakea is kapu as the highest point in the Pacific. Therefore, like all humanity, we have sacred places that should be recognized and protected.

ʻAhā, we emphasize that the summit of Maunakea is a conservation district. It is environmentally sensitive and pristine. Yet the TMT Corporation plans to build a telescope that is over 180 feet tall in a place that lawfully should be afforded the highest level of environmental protection as a recognized conservation district.

ʻAlima, Kanaka Maoli will continue to assert and increase stewardship of Mauna Kea. We affirm our rights as hoaʻāina to access and manage our national lands, to practice our religion and culture and to protect these lands from further destruction and desecration.

Therefore, while the TMT Corporation and the State of Hawaiʻi continue to ignore our massive opposition and existence as a living people, Kanaka Maoli have no other choice but to engage in peaceful and nonviolent direct action.

We will forever fight the TMT, until the last aloha ʻāina. Truth and history are on our side, and our commitment and mana is only rising. We are prepared for intense and lengthy struggles but stand firm in Kapu Aloha—peace and nonviolence. We ask everyone to honor this kuleana and to conduct ourselves in PONO.

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