Native Hawaiians Lead Opposition to New Mauna Kea Telescope

A proposed Thirty Meter Telescope for the Mauna Kea summit faces opposition from Native Hawaiians and from environmental groups, due to the heavy impacts it would have on cultural practices and on this ecological sensitive area. Deep Green Resistance Hawai’i supports the right of Native Hawaiians to carry out their traditional spiritual practices free of encroachment by further industrial development. We should spend more time listening to the wisdom of people who’ve lived on this land for at least a thousand years, instead of sacrificing the land and its people in the pursuit of abstract knowledge.

The article Native Hawaiians Voice Opposition to Proposed Telescope on Sacred Mauna Kea describes the hearing by the Board of Land and Natural Resources, and testimony given by Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners, explains:

The importance of Mauna Kea as a sacred place for indigenous Hawaiians remains one of the driving factors behind resistance, according to Kumu hula Paul K. Neves. Neves states: “We continue to educate Hawaii’s people and the public abroad, that Mauna Kea is not just a high-elevation place on earth, it is a most sacred of places. Our case is about the necessity of having respect for Hawaiian spirituality.”

However, resistance to the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea is also in response to the history of development on the mountain, and thus part of a much larger story. As anti-telescope organizer Ilima Long says: “The lack of say and control we have over our sacred places is one of the ongoing traumas of colonialism and occupation for Kanaka Maoli [Native Hawaiians] in Hawai‘i.”

Opposition is being organized by KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance. Visit their website to sign up for alerts about how you can help in this and in other struggles.

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