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.

Building an indigenous coalition for radical resistance to colonialism

We talk with Kanaka Maoli David Maile about indigenous coalition The Red Nation's efforts to unite different native people in radical resistance to colonialism, and how Native Hawaiians can stand in solidarity with other native peoples.

Will Caron
Ige’s second choice for DLNR chair is a radical change from his first

After last month's Carleton Ching fiasco, the governor's new choice, Suzanne Case, is causing sighs of relief across Hawaii's social media networks.

Today Governor David Ige announced his new nomination to lead the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) (subject to confirmation by the Senate), Suzanne Case, and the widespread opposition to Ige’s previous choice, developer-lobbyist Carleton Ching, is calling the choice a win for Hawaii.

“A friend told me the other evening, she was not prepared to call the rejection of Carleton Ching a ‘victory’ until she saw who the replacement nominee was. Well, this is mind-f@ckingly awesome good news,” wrote Bart Dame of Progressive Democrats on his Facebook wall. “I also see it as good news about Governor Ige’s willingness to listen, and increases the opportunity for a good working relationship with him over the next four years. At least, when he is right. And, when he is wrong, he just gave us a strong incentive to oppose him until he gets it right!”

Similar statements can be found on Twitter and Facebook from many of the same people who vocally opposed Ching’s nomination last month.

Case is a 28-year veteran of The Nature Conservancy and has served as its executive director since 2001. She oversees all operations of the Hawaii program including 16 preserves totaling 53,000 acres, working in native forest, coastal and marine conservation directly and through partnerships on the six main Hawaiian Islands. She also oversees the Palmyra Atoll nature preserve and research station in the Pacific. Case attended Waiakea-Kai Elementary School, Keaukaha Elementary School and Punahou School where she was the first female student body president. She graduated from Stanford University with a B.A. in History and received her law degree from Hastings College of the Law, University of California, San Francisco.

“Suzanne shares my vision of wise stewardship of Hawaii’s public and conservation lands and waters, for excellence in government to make the most of our limited resources, and for collaboration and inclusion in carrying out the many responsibilities of the DLNR and the State of Hawaii for the benefit of all,” said Governor Ige in a press release.

“Great news, he did a 180 on this nomination,” wrote Cynthia Fritts of Citizens for Equal Rights.

“I am truly humbled at the prospect of serving Hawaii as Chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources and honored by the confidence Governor Ige expresses in me in putting my name forth as his nominee. I look forward to meeting with our senate leadership for their consideration of my confirmation,” said Case.

Will Caron
Mauna Kea protestors continue occupation

As momentum builds and protestors receive continued support in their efforts to block construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope, the mountain’s “protectors” say they have no plans to leave their encampment at the Mauna Kea Visitors Center, approximately 9,200 feet above sea level. They will soon reach the two week mark of their encampment.

Although more than 30 arrests were made on Thursday, April 2, by the Hawaii County Police Department in conjunction with the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement, the protectors (as they are being referred to on social media) of the sacred mountain continue their stand against the construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) and continue to build momentum and gain support. Yesterday, actor Jason Momoa (Stargate: Atlantis, Game of Thrones), who is Samoan and Native American, posted a picture on Instagram expressing solidarity for the protestors:

Jason Momoa Small

One reason for the building of momentum and support, say protestors, is what they are calling Kapu Aloha. “Abiding by this is what has fueled and protected us in this movement,” says Lanakila Mangauil. Mangauil says the Kapu Aloha is about conducting oneself with respect towards others, under any and all circumstances.

Over the weekend, hundreds of supporters ascended the mountain to join in the protection efforts, with many flying in from Maui, Molokai, Oahu and Kauai. Although no construction has taken place since the day arrests were made, the protestors have no plans to vacate their camp.

Protectors of the mountain have many reasons why they oppose the proposed construction of the TMT, one being that the mountain is considered sacred (perhaps the most sacred site in all of Hawaii). The mountain is named after Wākea who mated with Papahānaumoku to birth Hawaii Island. The peak of the mountain is considered to be wao akua, or the realm of the gods, as it is the dwelling place of gods and goddesses such as Poliahu, Waiau, Lilinoe, Lihau, Kukahauula, Kahoupokane and Mooinanea. 

Another reason for the opposition to the TMT is the fact that protectors feel that the TMT does not adhere to the developmental laws of conservation lands as determined by the State of Hawaii. The mountain contains many religious shrines as well as burial sites and sits on top of the largest aquifer on the island of Hawaii.

Lastly, some protestors argue that, even if the TMT was in compliance with the laws of developing on conservation lands, the State of Hawaii is illegal, as the Hawaiian Kingdom was never lawfully annexed by the United States of America and, therefore, continues to exist today according to International Law. This stems from the fact that Americaʻs only claim to annexing Hawaii is by a Joint Resolution passed on July 7, 1898. Joint Resolutions are domestic laws with no authority outside the boundaries of the authorizing nation’s territory. Because the State of Hawaii is viewed as illegal, the protestors argue that every extension and branch of the State is therefore also illegal, and all contracts between the TMT corporation and the State of Hawaii are void.

The protestors have received support in the form of donations of food, water, money and other necessities and, while these donations are appreciated, those atop the mountain are asking that any attempts at raising funds and collecting and delivering donations be communicated with them first, so as not to mismanage resources and cause confusion amongst the people with regards to what funds and donations can be used for. 

Kahoʻokahi Kanuha, one of the protestors who was arrested in the first group last Thursday, says, “We canʻt thank everyone enough. The amount of support we have received over the past week is absolutely unbelievable and simply amazing. I am not quite sure our people have seen a movement like this in their lifetime and I think itʻs a testament to the fact that our people have been ignited and are ready to move forward and solidify ourselves once again throughout the world as a people and a country.”

Will Caron
The Red Nation stands in solidarity with Native Hawaiians over Mauna Kea

The indigenous rights and decolonization coalition issued a statement today declaring their support for the Native Hawaiian protestors currently attempting to block construction of the massive Thirty-Meter Telescope project on Hawaii island's Mauna Kea.

The Red Nation
Four arrested on Mauna Kea summit

Four individuals were arrested today by DLNR enforcement officers on the Mauna Kea summit while protesting the construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope.

The four are UH student Kahoʻokahi Kanuha, Skippy Ioane, Moanikeala Akaka and Craig Neff.

Kanuha is a UH student and a member of HauMANA. Skippy Ioane is a longtime advocate for Hawaiian rights. Moanikeala Akaka was part of the original protest against Kamehameha School’s development of pig farms at Kalama Valley, which sparked the modern sovereignty movement. Craig Neff is the owner of Hawaiian Force, a fashion retailer in Hilo.

Aloha Aina Warriors being arrested today. Repost @heets7 #protectmaunakea #aoletmt #alohaaina

A photo posted by Conscious Riddims Records (@consciousriddims) on

Repost! Maunakea protestors get arrested for blocking the construction of an international telescope being built upon culturally religious grounds. How can anyone think this is a good thing? Would Any other religion think or feel this is ok? We fight and give our lives for nations and cultures around the world but the one closest to us? Wars in the Middle East and across the globe, but forget about the issues here? Rise Up Hawaiʻi! Rise Up world! Fight for what's Right! This cannot be happening in your backyard! We need everyone to take a stand in Hawaiʻi and the world on the principal of unity and True Aloha! Please send prayers and positive thoughts to these Aloha ʻAina Warriors!#AlohaKū #AinaHero #AlohaAina #AlohaPapa #AlohaHaloa #AlohaWakea #AlohaKeAkua #AlohaKanaloa #AlohaAinaWarriors #ProtecttheAina

A photo posted by Oiaʻiʻo = Truth (@on_da_real808) on

Ikaika M Hussey
Governor Ige names new group of UH regents

Supreme Court Justice Acoba and environmentalist Helen Nielsen, both currently serving in an interim capacity, stand out on list

Ikaika M Hussey
Court rules navy training in Pacific violates laws meant to protect whales, sea turtles

Federal judge says feds wrongly approved plan allowing whales, dolphins, other wildlife to be harmed

Will Caron
TMT protest continues atop Mauna Kea

Social media posts from the ongoing protest: photos, video and commentary