Mission on the Mauna with Malia Hulleman
Q: What is Protect Mauna Kea?
A: Protect Mauna Kea, in the most basic explanation, is a movement to save a sacred place (Mauna a Wākea,) from a Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). But, why would a mountain be under siege from a telescope? Many reasons, that don’t just include the only reason needed, being, that the people of this land said no, but also include environmental, cultural, economical and political.
Q: Why is Mauna Kea of importance?
A: Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world, when measured from base to tip, with more than half of it’s totality submerged under the ocean. It’s the second tallest mountain in our solar system, and because of these facts, it was and is revered to us, as Kānaka Maoli, indigenous peoples of Hawaiʻi, to be a sacred place. A place where our gods meet, the area where the heavens and earth meet, a realm that is not meant for humans, and should only ever be ascended with thoughtful ceremonial purpose. TMT is a proposed internationally backed telescope (Japan, China, Canada, India, and the US) projected to cost $1.4 billion and would take about ten years to construct.
Q: So what is going on currently?
A: Kia’i or protectors have been stopping the project now, for the last ten years, completely shutting down the ground breaking ceremony in 2014, stopping construction vehicles in 2015, winning a supreme court case for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to be issued and completed after the previous one was found to be incomplete and not follow the ‘due process system,’ all of which were WINS for kia’i and all who wish to protect Mauna Kea.The interruptions for the total safety of our mountain include:Take the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa to a Contested Case Hearing of which was found not necessary by the judge, and then back again to another supreme court hearing, which found the TMT had followed the due process system entirely and correctly this time, and was lawfully allowed to construct.However, this did not deter us from our physical right to stand in protection of our mountain. July 15, 2019 a group of 30+ kia’i gathered at Pu’uhuluhulu; a kipuka or area not disrupted by lava flow, and issued it to be a pu’uhonua or a place of refuge. This would be the area that tens of thousands of supporters world wide would come to and continue to come to. This is what’s being talked about, this is what is stopping the desecration of our mountain.
Q: What does it feel like to be apart of this movement and being there on the mountain?
A: Imagine the energy cultivated from activated native peoples. Peoples who have been intentionally and unlawfully suppressed, silenced, removed, murdered, and displaced for hundreds of years by the US Government and its corporate ideology. Imagine living in an area where that is courageous stared down upon and instead of spewing hate, it nurtures and acknowledges ALOHA.
I won’t lie, its not easy all the time, like any community you live in there will always be moments of exhaustion, discrepancies, frustration etc., but like the other parts of life, it continues to move on. And it continues to grow and evolve in ways that only seek to be better everyday.
Q: What is the current updated status on Mauna Kea?
A: The governor of the “State of Hawai’i” did in fact proclaim a ‘state of emergency’ after eight protectors chained theirselves to a cattle guard gate, and 38 elders formed a barrier, resulting in their arrest. These two acts of non violent protection ignited the other islands to mirror and support the ones on Hawai’i, ratifying the governor to act in delusional fear resulting in his proclamation. Since then, the numbers of protectors sky rocketed into the thousands, the police have yet to arrest anyone else, and construction has yet to begin.
In simpler terms, we have stopped them from coming up.