Is our sacred Mauna a commodity? And who relegates it as such?


“OHA had previously been on record supporting the telescope project, but voted to intervene in the transaction through a quasi-judicial contested case hearing after reviewing the terms of the University of Hawaii (UH)’s proposed sublease of the summit of Mauna Kea to the TMT Corporation. The BLNR voted to approve the sublease on June 27.

The trustees met on Tuesday to discuss whether the agency should pursue its petition to intervene in the sublease process. During the open portion of the meeting, community members voiced both opposition and support for the TMT project, and some took positions of opposition or support of OHA’s petition to contest the BLNR case…

Kamahana Kealoha discussed Mauna ā Wākea: “You guys know Papa and Wākea are progenitors of the Hawaiian race […] to place a thirty meter telescope on our sacred kuahu would be no different than placing it on the altar of a church.

“That would be the tallest building built on Hawaiʻi Island to this date. There’s a reason we don’t build that high over there, or anywhere else outside of Oʻahu, Honolulu district,” he continued.

ʻIlima Long commented on the discussion of the revenue itself: “I’ve studied the arguments of those who publicly support the TMT, and it is all based on the belief that we are destitute, and will be destitute without it; that we have no hopes for education, and no hopes for jobs without the telescope. What I see that it does, is that these arguments really capitalize and commodify our struggles.”

She commented on the prospect of $250,000 annual revenue: “These are our lands, and we all know this: $250,000 is scraps.”

The executive session that followed the open portion of the closed-door meeting extended for several hours and did not reconvene to the public after the executive session, as was originally announced and detailed in the agenda.”

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