Hawaiian student shares thoughts on TMT & sacred land

Kukui Maumea

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Hawaiʻi has been dealing with a critical issue for several years now that deeply affects native Hawaiians and our culture.

Sacred is not just some word we throw around. If something is sacred it means it must be protected and treated with respect as that is a product of our history and culture. Its value far outweighs any profitable, technological, or even scientific outcomes that it may produce.

This “it” I am talking about is Mauna a Wākea, the piko, or center, of not just Hawaiʻi island, but all of Hawaiʻi.  This mauna, or mountain, is one of the most sacred places because it is in our origin story of Hawaiʻi.

After years of legal challenges, Hawaiʻi Supreme Court ruled in favor of the building of a $1.4 billion telescope by a corporation called The Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory, more commonly known as TMT.

This will be the 14th telescope on Mauna Kea, each being promised of being “the last telescope,” and the fact that this telescope will be 30 meters’ high is striking the very soul of every kanaka in Hawaiʻi.

So much has been taken from our people over the past hundred years of illegal occupation, and our people are finally saying “enough”.

The construction of this thirty-meter telescope will not only cause damage to the mountain top, it will also cause damage to the aquifers that lie beneath the earth which provides water for the entire island.

Those in favor of the project argue that this telescope will provide jobs and money for people in Hawaiʻi, but no amount of money can heal the spiritual wounds that our people have felt for generations.

As someone who was born and raised in Puna located on the Big Island, the TMT heavily affects my beliefs as well as my well-being.

Going to Kā ʻUmeke Kāʻeo, a Hawaiian immersion public charter school, I was raised and taught the ways of my ancestors, learning as much as possible about Hawaiian history and culture.

Myself, along with thousands of other protectors, also known as kīaʻi, are doing what is right and protecting the very physical piece of our history and existence.

We will not allow this telescope to be built. We will stand until the last aloha ʻāina. Our lāhui is rising up, “like a mighty wave,” and we are finally saying, no more.

News about this issue is all over social on various accounts such as @protectmaunakea and @puuhuluhulu, where daily posts are being uploaded about current updates.

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