Protecting the Sacred: Mauna a Wakea

O hanau ka Mauna a Wakea,
O puu a‘e ka mauna a Wakea.
O Wakea ke kane, o Papa, o Walinuu ka wahine.
Hanau Hoohoku, he waahine,
Hanau Haloa he ‘lii, 
Hanau ka Mauna, he keiki mauna na Wakea

Born is the Mauna a Wākea,
The mountain of Wākea buds forth.
Wākea is the male, Papa Walinu’u is the female.
Born is Ho’ohōkū, a female,
Born is Hāloa, a chief,
Born is the Mauna, a mountain-child of Wākea.

(Leon No’eau Peralto)

“Beginning with Makua Valley to the Waiāhole and now Mauna Kea, there is a potential for the scientific community and native indigenous community to revise their relationship and find a balance that satisfies both the need for research and observation of sacred rights and customs”.

Written as a concluding statement for my thesis this May in hopes that the court’s decision would be swayed in favor of protecting the sacred rights of the mauna and the people who protect it. In light of the decision to build the Thirty Meter Telescope, I have hope for the people to come together and to continue to press this case further in the courts if need be. Scientific exploration should not come at the cost of unlawful desecration of sacred, living sites.

To quote Paul Neves, one of the 21 people allowed to testify against the TMT’s construction on the peak of Mauna Kea (in reference to arguments invoking the infamous ‘aloha’ attitude):

“Aloha is more than a greeting or salutation, it’s more than mutual regard and affection. Aloha is the essence of relationship. Aloha is to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen, and to know the unknowable. This is the gift of my people–of Hawaii’s people.”

And Jennifer Leinaala Sleightholm:

“My family has lost so many of our mo’olelo (loosely: stories/traditions) because of Christianity and colonization, generations of indoctrination. And to erase a space–to desecrate a space where myself and my keke (children) can exercise our birthright would be perpetuating the cultural genocide and erasure. We need to preserve these spaces so that our keke can live and be Hawai’i in perpetuity–meaning for infinite generations to come.”

MAUNA KEA, Hawaii – A summery of the land board’s decision on the Thirty Meter Telescope, and reaction from both sides.

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