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TMT: UH System-wide walk-out planned for tomorrow

The Native Hawaiian council of the University of Hawaii system has called for a system-wide walk-out among all Native Hawaiian serving programs on Monday, April 13, over the Thirty-Meter Telescope project.

The Pūkoʻa Council, the Native Hawaiian council of the University of Hawaii system released the following announcement today, for their planned walk-out tomorrow:

As the University of Hawaiʻi, which purports to be a “Hawaiian place of learning” continues to disregard the voice of the Hawaiian community in its opposition to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the summit of Mauna Kea, the Pūkoʻa Council, the Native Hawaiian council of the University of Hawaiʻi system, has called for a system-wide walk-out among all Native Hawaiian serving programs on Monday, April 13 at noon. The walk-out will be supported by various professors, staff and students throughout the University of Hawaiʻi system.

The Pūkoʻa council, composed of representatives from all ten University of Hawaiʻi (UH) system campuses, met with President Lassner at Kapʻiolani Community College on April 6, 2015.  At that time, the President was advised that the Pūkoʻa Council stands firmly against the TMT project and was urged to halt construction.

In addition, a separate letter urging Thirty Meter Telescope Corporation partners to divest from the project has garnered support from over 150 University of Hawaiʻi and community organizations, departments, professors, staff and student organizations.

The Pūkoʻa Council position and the letter to the TMT investors shows that there is substantial opposition to the TMT within the University of Hawaiʻi and calls for the University of Hawaiʻi to halt all construction efforts.

“The Board of Regents or the Office of Mauna Kea Management can no longer speak on behalf of the entire University for this issue. As we’ve seen in the past week, opposition to this issue is widespread and this includes opposition within the University itself. The Board of Regents needs to know this as do the TMT investors,” says UH Mānoa representative for the Pūkoʻa Council, Dr. Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa.

“Mauna Kea is sacred to Native Hawaiians and is part of the corpus of Hawaiian national lands but this is not simply a Native Hawaiian issue,” says Professor of English, Candace Fujikane. “This is an environmental issue, one of upholding legal protections for the environment as well as one of good government . There are three court cases yet to be resolved over the TMT so why is the University beginning construction?”

The walk-out will lead into a rally at Campus Center, followed by a press conference at 12:30 at the UHM Campus Center courtyard where the Pūkoʻa Council will issue a statement on its position to the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents and Professor Jon Osorio will also release the letter directed to the TMT partners.

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Governor announces extension of TMT moratorium

Today, April 11, Governor David Ige announced, while in Hilo, that the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) team has informed him it will postpone construction until Monday, April 20, 2015.

“I thank TMT for its willingness to be respectful and sensitive to all of Hawaii–its special people, its sense of place and its unique host culture,” said Governor Ige.

Photo: EHITU KEELING

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OHA seeks continued TMT moratorium

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees met on April 10 to discuss the matter of Mauna Kea and the planned thirty-meter telescope (TMT). The board says it plans to “gain greater clarity on the pending legal cases relating to the TMT project,” and that “the board will also review OHA’s past positions on these cases. With that information, the Board will consider its position on the matter at an upcoming board meeting.”

“While a formal board vote has not been taken yet on the matter, OHA’s highest leadership involved in the discussions with state officials have sought and continue to seek a continued moratorium,” said Kehaunani Abad, OHA’s community engagement director.

Activists have been blocking the access road to the construction site in order to prevent construction from beginning. More than thirty people were arrested by Hawaii County police on Thursday, April 2, but the demonstrations only grew last week, especially as hundreds of Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners, dancers and spectators gathered on Hawaii island for the Merrie Monarch hula festival.

During the past week, OHA leaders have also been in discussions with state decision makers. In these talks, OHA leaders have emphasized the need for all parties to address the unresolved legal matters while the TMT construction moratorium remains in place.

Photo: EHITU KEELING

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Live Stream: Mauna Kea

A live stream of the activity on Mauna Kea, brought to you by Oiwi TV.


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Sacred Mauna Kea Hui responds to Ige’s temporary TMT moratorium

Governor Ige announced a one-week moratorium of construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope today, amid continuing protests taking place on Mauna Kea. Here is the response from protestors.

Above: Mauna Kea Protectors, including Sacred Hui beneficiary and former candidate for Kauai Mayor Dustin Barca | Hawane Rios

After Governor Ige’s announcement today directing the TMT project to halt construction for a one-week period, Kamahana Kealoha, a Sacred Mauna Kea Hui Facilitator, issued the following statement on behalf of the hui:

Although the Sacred Mauna Kea Hui appreciates a welcome reprieve from the desecration of our sacred mountain summit and endangerment of our fresh water aquifer and endangered species environment, we know that these are still in danger unless a permanent moratorium is obtained.

This reprieve will also give the multi-billion dollar international TMT corporation, which has been allowed to circumvent the law, time to begin its process of identifying a new location outside of Hawaii for their TMT project.

We also hope this one-week moratorium will give the State of Hawaii, as well as the University of Hawaii and the Department of Land and Natural Resources the time needed to review the possible breaches of public trust the TMT project has caused. It will also give the DLNR time to review the possible abuses of the Conservation District Use Application process—a process that has permitted complete industrialization and desecration of a sacred conservation district and endangered species environment.

There is some speculation that the governor’s move is connected to the arrival, en masse, of Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners who arrived last week on Hawaii island for the Merrie Monarch Festival, which began on Sunday. Kumu Hula Vicky Holt Takamine called for a march up the mountain that same day. He may be hoping to diffuse tensions during the week-long hula festival and major cultural gathering.

Sacred Mauna Kea Hui is receiving donations from Native American tribes and others, for the purpose of supporting all efforts to protect Mauna Kea, including future bail for kupuna. Kupuna, up to 75 years of age, were among the first protectors taken away during the arrest of more than 30 protectors on Thursday, April 2.

Supporters bailed out all of the detainees within hours of their arrests. Funds such as Sacred Mauna Kea continue to welcome donations to assist with any future bail. The group also is continuing to request donations for flights to and from Hawaii between the other Hawaiian islands as well as much-needed accommodations, including food, ground transportation and other essentials. Visit www.gofundme.com/sacredmaunakea.

Another fund was set up for Naaiakalani Navas by Lanakila Mangauil, Kahoʻokahi Kanuha and Ruth Aloua.

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