Several times on this blog we’ve featured the work of Native Hawaiian journalist and filmmaker Anne Keala Kelly, including interviews for Resistance Radio (audio) and for the DGR News Service. Kelly is a strong voice for a radical approach to Hawaiian reclamation of their culture, bringing forth core issues of occupation, cultural appropriation, and sovereignty. The future of Hawai’i is closely linked to the ability of the US to maintain its imperial power across the planet, so what may seem a small and remote fight is actually of great importance to global problems of ecocide and oppression.
Kelly is presently working on a documentary, “Why the Mountain”, examining the Mauna Kea TMT resistance and its part in revitalizing a broader Hawaiian struggle for justice and independence. Her indigenous and radical perspectives, in conjunction with her experience making Noho Hewa, should result in a valuable film for furthering discussion and action at home and abroad.
But Kelly needs financial support to complete her work, so DGR is holding a fundraiser. All proceeds will go towards purchasing a new camera so Kelly can most effectively produce this film.
Update: This fundraiser has concluded. Thanks for your support!
Anne Keala Kelly, Hawaiian filmmaker, journalist, and activist, has worked for years to expose and resist American imperialist occupation of Hawai’i. Kelly has made her first film, Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai’i available for free for a short time on Vimeo, as part of an educational campaign to inform the world why people are so vigorously protesting the desecration of Mauna Kea, and as a fundraiser for a new documentary in progress right now. (Read a review of Noho Hewa at the Deep Green Resistance News Service.)
The film is no longer available on Vimeo, but if know someone who has it, please take some time to watch Noho Hewa, then donate to make the new documentary possible: Why the Mountain. With your support, the film will help build resistance around the world to the continued illegal occupation of Hawai’i and the desecration of places sacred to Hawaiians.
The award-winning Hawaiian filmmakers Anne Keala Kelly and Mary Alice Kaʻiulani Milham are teaming up to create a documentary in protection of Mauna Kea. They are holding a fundraiser to allow production and mass distribution of a film to galvanize opposition to the destructive and desecrating TMT project. Time is short to stop this industrial expansion, and your contribution is crucial – whether a direct monetary donation or helping by spreading the word.
Our goal is to produce a beautiful, powerful and evocative film to help people everywhere understand why Mauna Kea is sacred to Hawaiians, a fragile ecosystem that needs protection, and portrayed as indispensable to the astronomy industry.
“Why The Mountain” will be a 30-minute documentary film that explores why Hawaiians and environmentalists oppose the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT), and why the astronomy industry is determined to construct this 18 ½ – story building on Mauna Kea.
Environmentalists argue that because the largest fresh water aquifer for Hawaiʻi Island is on Mauna Kea, the potential for irreversible harm is too high a price to pay.
They say erecting a football-stadium-sized structure, and its accompanying 5,000-gallon container for hazardous chemical waste, is an unnecessary risk. Given the toxic chemicals in use by the existing 13 telescopes on the summit, the TMT only increases the threat to the watershed and endangered and threatened species’ habitats.
Owen Lloyd of the Deep Green Resistance News Service recently interviewed Hawaiian activist and filmmaker Anne Keala Kelly on traditional practices such as the lū‘au, hula, and giving of lei. They explore how the dominant colonizer culture has appropriated and corrupted those traditions, in part to sell a tourism industry, and as part of the larger assimilation and undermining of Hawaiians.
Lloyd ends by asking the crucial question:
What advice do you have for non-Hawaiians wishing to stand with Kānaka ʻŌiwi against cultural appropriation and colonialism more generally?
Kelly: Great question! And I want to say upfront that we are dealing with a settler-colonial situation in Hawaiʻi, but it’s a prolonged, belligerent occupation under international law because we are a nation state whose citizens never consented to becoming American. Hawaiians, in fact, were very clear in their opposition to being annexed to the U.S. That’s why there was never a treaty of annexation and that’s why what the U.S. has done instead is conduct what may actually be the longest running occupation of a nation state in history. For Americans that’s a tough statement because they’re comfortable lumping us in with what was done to the natives on the continent– they’re okay with the narrative of us as tragic and past. They can talk about the occupation of Palestine, but Hawaiʻi? That implies present tense possibility.
Anne Keala Kelly, a Hawaiian journalist, filmmaker, and activist, will speak at this year’s Earth at Risk. The event spans the weekend of November 22 and 23, with two full days of panels and speakers discussing environmental defense, social justice, and grassroots activism. Kelly will join such notables as Vandana Shiva, Alice Walker, Chris Hedges, and Derrick Jensen.
Kelly is scheduled for a panel on November 22, and the entire event should be well worth attending for anyone in the area. Please spread the word to anyone who might be able to make it!
For the August 3rd episode of Resistance Radio, Derrick Jensen interviewed Anne Keala Kelly, a native Hawaiian filmmaker, journalist, and activist focused on the modern Hawaiian sovereignty movement. Her documentary Noho Hewa, on the illegal occupation of the nation of Hawai’i by the United States, has been screened around the world and is widely taught in university courses. (Read a review of Noho Hewa on the Deep Green Resistance News Service.)
In this interview, Kelly shares an indigenous perspective on genealogy and what it means to be native Hawaiian, the history of Hawai’i prior to European arrival, the history of the illegal occupation and its parallels to other imperialistic moves by the US, and the current condition and effects of military and foreign takeover of Hawaiian lands. She explains that Hawai’i as a linchpin of the global US empire makes the struggle to free Hawai’i central to environmental and social justice worldwide, not just here. Finally, she summarizes the modern movement towards sovereignty and resistance to the occupation.
Kelly tackles a broad subject with at least a dozen major strands, doing a good job of tying together seemingly disparate issues. This interview is well worth a close listen, both for residents of Hawai’i and for anyone anywhere concerned with the ability of the US to project its power around the globe. Hawai’i could be a strategic intervention point against imperialism and its resultant environmental and social destruction.