TMT protest song

The song, "Rise Up," by Ryan Hiraoka and featuring Keala Kawaauhau, has made it onto at least two local radio stations.

Mauna Kea vital to Hawaiian health and well being

Native Hawaiian leaders in various science fields are calling the protection of Mauna Kea vital to the health and well being of Native Hawaiians.

This statement is being made by physicians, psychologists, scientists, public health professionals, educators and cultural practitioners who aloha ‘āina and who happen to be the leadership and members of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health in the John A. Burns School of Medicine of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. However, we are not making this statement in our capacity as faculty or staff of the university nor is this an official statement of the university.

In 2003, the Department of Native Hawaiian Health was established at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Its mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of Kānaka ‘Ōiwi (Native Hawaiians) by increasing the cadre of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi and other health professionals, and scientists working toward health equity for Kānaka ‘Ōiwi through health care services, scientific research, and community engagement and empowerment. In meeting our mission, we embrace biomedical and behavioral sciences and Kānaka ‘Ōiwi cultural knowledge and tradition. We value science and its potential in improving the lives of all people and we value our Kanaka ‘Ōiwi culture and its offering of continuity and Mauli Ola (optimal and holistic health and wellbeing) for Kānaka ‘Ōiwi.

The protection of Mauna Kea (aka, Mauna a Wākea) by concerned Kānaka ‘Ōiwi is our ancestral kuleana (responsibility) to mālama ‘āina (land stewardship) and means of ensuring Mauli Ola. Cultural protection and revitalization of historical and sacred places are important social and cultural determinants of Mauli Ola for Kānaka ‘Ōiwi. They are as important to Mauli Ola as access to safe and well-resourced neighborhoods, excellent education, healthy food options, physical activity opportunities, and quality health care.

Coming from a tradition of seafarers and skilled navigators, who looked up to the heavens and night sky for knowledge and guidance, Kānaka ‘Ōiwi can appreciate astronomy’s quest to understand the mysteries of the universe and our collective existence in, and connection to, this universe. Kānaka ‘Ōiwi also appreciate and hold fast to cultural knowledge, traditions, and wahi pana (scared places) that also explain our existence in, and connection to, this place we call Hawai‘i.

In respect for both traditions, astronomy and Kānaka ‘Ōiwi, the above members of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health calls for an extended moratorium until a balanced resolution – that ensures the protection of Mauna Kea – is achieved between the State entities involved and the astronomy and Kānaka ‘Ōiwi community. And may it be done with the values of our ancestors as reflected in the following: ‘A‘ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka hālau ho‘okahi (not all knowledge is acquired through one school) and Mālama pono i ka ‘āina (properly care for our land).

From: Drs. Keawe‘aimoku Kaholokula, Marjorie Mau, Winona Lee, Dee-Ann Carpenter, Martina Kamaka, Robin Miyamoto, Kāwika Mortensen, Alika Maunakea, Andrea Hermosura, and Tricia Mabellos, and Ms. Mele Look , Ms. Chessa Harris, Ms. Tiffnie Kakalia, Mr. Kamuela Werner, Ms. Shelley Soong, and Ms. Miala Leong.

TMT construction still stalled

The governor announced that the TMT leadership has informed him that construction will continue to be postponed.

Statement by Governor David Ige regarding Thirty Meter Telescope Construction

April 17, 2015

Today, the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) leadership informed me that construction will continue to be postponed. Any further announcements about the construction schedule will come from TMT.

My understanding is that TMT followed an almost 7 year planning and permitting process, which included public hearings and community input. Following this process, project permits were issued. The TMT team is legally entitled to use its discretion to proceed with construction.

I understand that not everyone will agree with this and recognize and respect their right to appeal through the court system.

We have used this time to listen and learn about Maunakea from various stakeholders. I learned about other issues that need our attention to create and implement a better plan for the stewardship of Maunakea. This may include:

o   Decommissioning and removing older telescopes and facilities to restore the summit

o   Reducing the level of activity on the summit

o   Integrating culture and science

My administration will be working with the University of Hawai‘i, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the community to actively pursue these outcomes.

Balfour passes WTL

Despite valid concerns raised by Native Hawaiian and environmental advocacy groups, Sen. Thielen's committee on water and land voted to advise the senate to consent to the governor's nomination of Bill Balfour to the state's water commission.

Will Caron
The Red Nation: Border Town Justice Campaign

The campaign to end institutional violence against Native peoples heads to Gallup, New Mexico; much (if not all) of what is said applies to Hawaii as well.

The Red Nation is a coalition dedicated to the liberation of Native peoples from capitalism and colonialism.

Our “Border Town Justice Campaign” addresses economic and sexual exploitation, criminalization, discrimination and violence directed at Native people living off-reservation. Today, four of five Native people live off-reservation. In border towns, poverty and violence often exceed reservation-based rates.

The United States is premised on the erasure of Native people. Extreme forms of social control that police Native presence in border towns contribute to this larger structure of erasure. Yet, neither mainstream nor Native-led social justice groups advocate for off-reservation populations and their issues.

Our campaign rectifies this by working with those surviving under the most precarious of conditions. Our effectiveness lies in our collective decision-making and ability to recruit leaders directly from these affected groups. We intend to mobilize a widespread movement to reject these conditions and reclaim Native life and land.

Petition to reject Balfour passes 2,500 signatures

Ahead of tomorrow's WTL hearing on the nomination of Bill Balfour to the Water Commission, signatures continue to be added to an online petition urging the rejection of the inappropriate nomination.

Tomorrow, Senator Laura Thielen’s Water and Land committee, the same committee that recommended against the nomination of developer-lobbyist Carleton Ching to the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) chairmanship, will hold a hearing to determine whether or not to advise and consent to the governor’s nomination of Bill Balfour to the DLNR’s Water Commission.

Read an article explaining exactly why this nomination is even worse than the Ching nomination.

An online petition is gathering signatures to oppose Blafour’s nomination, and has passed 2,500 signatures. In the time it took to write this post, the number of signatures increased from 2,666 to 2,681 (15 signatures in roughly five minutes). Add your name below:

Submit testimony on the nomination here.

UH Board of Regents to hold special meeting RE: TMT

The regents are welcoming public comment on the Thirty-Meter Telescope ahead of the upcoming special meeting in Hilo.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents will hold a special board meeting to discuss the future of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project this Thursday, April 16, at 11:30 a.m. at the University of Hawaii Hilo campus.

Written testimony on the matter will be accepted up to 24-hours ahead of the meeting and can be emailed to bor@hawaii.edu. Late testimony will be made available to the regents within 24 hours of receipt. Individuals who wish to testify in person will be allowed to during the public comment period of the meeting before the regents go into discussion. The regents are asking that testifiers limit their testimony to three minutes.

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.

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.


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.