(SACRED HUI IN KALEO HAWAII UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII NEWS):
A Hawaiian place of learning?
Advocacy group protests telescope
A university that claims to be a “Hawaiian place of learning” cannot at the same time be the agent of the erasure of Hawaiian culture.
However, as the for-profit facilitator of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) and all other telescopes on Mauna Kea, the University of Hawai‘i is doing this.
As the leaseholder for the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, UH is responsible for removing the “sacred landscape,” 1,728,000 cubic feet of ground, from a summit home to nearly 200 cultural sites and the resting place of Hawaiian chiefs.
According to the Hawaiian worldview, Mauna Kea’s summit is where creation begins. Native Hawaiians and people throughout Polynesia recognize Mauna Kea’s sacredness.
According to Hawaiian cosmology, Wākea, the sky father, and Papahānaumoku, the earth mother, came together at the summit to give life to their firstborn, Mauna Kea. This is the reason for the mountain’s less-spoken name, Mauna a Wākea, which is considered sacred.
However, this university, its Board of Regents (BOR) and Institute for Astronomy insist that the quest to see the universe’s origins is paramount. To them, understanding one creation story is more important than the creation story of the islands they occupy.
The irony of destroying the site of creation of these islands to look back to a theoretical creation is lost on them, even as that theory is replaced by a new theory that the universe has always existed, according to a paper by Ahmed Farag Ali and Saurya Das. Why must the most sacred summit in Polynesian culture be sacrificed?
“A HAWAIIAN PLACE OF LEARNING”
Astronomy is not the only school of knowledge at UH.
UH must also support its Hawai‘nuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, where the genealogical chant (ko‘ihonua) of Mauna Kea is taught. It must embrace its Hawaiian Studies program. In a “Hawaiian place of learning,” this Hawaiian knowledge must be upheld.
Scholarship from UH itself, the doctoral dissertation of Professor Noenoe Silva, has shown that the annexation of Hawai‘i was protested by the majority of the native and nonnative people in 1897. When the Treaty of Annexation came before the U.S. Senate, their petitions, known as the Kū‘ē Petitions, prevailed.
After the treaty was defeated, the U.S. used a Joint Resolution of Congress, not a legal instrument by which Congress had authority to annex territory or to claim the islands.
UH must embrace discoveries from William H. Richardson Law School, where emerging scholarship shows that the Hawaiian Islands were left unnamed in the Act of Admission of 1959.
In his forthcoming book, “A Rope of Sand: A Documentary History of the Failure of the United States to Annex the Hawaiian Islands,” UH law professor Williamson Chang detailed how the Act of Admission of 1959 omitted the Hawaiian islands from the territory of the State of Hawai‘i.
For example, he said Section II does not name the individual islands as part of the state’s territory. According to the section, only the islands acquired by the Joint Resolution are in the State of Hawai‘i.
In testimony from the U.S. Congressional record, Chang said many senators knew that a Joint Resolution could not acquire Hawai‘i.
Sen. William Allen of Nebraska described it as a “rope of sand.”
This scholarship details the origins and illegitimacy of the State of Hawai‘i and questions whether UH has authority on Mauna Kea.
As a “Hawaiian place of learning,” these are origins that UH must acknowledge and uphold.
The World is Watching
Recently, Mauna Kea supporters converged on the UH BOR meeting to express their opposition to the TMT. The group, led by Movement for Aloha No ka ‘Aina, took over the microphone and chanted down the regents, asserting Hawaiian cultural practice in traditional garb.
This week, with additional support from Game of Thrones star Jason Momoa, who spent two days on Mauna Kea with the protectors, and a growing list of Hollywood actors, the “We Are Mauna Kea” campaign has gone global. News outlets around the world are sharing our story in their media.
For the past few days, the #TMTshutdown social media campaign has consistently trended in Facebook‘s top ten.
What Mauna Kea Represents
In challenging the TMT, we are not only protecting our sacred Mauna Kea from industrialization.
We are defending our entire island chain from state-sponsored globalization, the negligent stewardship and prodevelopment of the State of Hawai‘i, Department of Land and Natural Resources and an administration that just weeks ago attempted to place a developer lobbyist at its head.
This same corporatocracy that has permitted the multinational TMT Observatory Corporation to desecrate our sacred summit has allowed Hawai‘i to become host to GMO experimental fields, pesticides and RIMPAC war games – despite the fact that these islands continue to be the “endangered species capital of the world,” according to the World Wildlife Fund.
These are important topics for discussion in a “Hawaiian place of learning.” For these reasons, and many more, we are standing firm in defense of our sacred Mauna Kea.
[MAHALO TO KAIULANI MILHAM THE GREATEST WRITER IN OUR LAHUI!]