“Resistance to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project on Mauna Kea has re-ignited the Hawaiian de-occupation movement. Many are calling the movement on Mauna Kea the largest mobilization of Kanaka Maoli since 37,000 of the surviving 40,000 Kanaka Maoli signed the Ku’e Petitions against annexation to the United States in 1897. A new generation of Kanaka Maoli that have been educated in the country’s first language immersion schools after the legality of the Hawaiian language was restored in 1978 understand their nation’s history, understand the genocide their people have endured, and are demanding that the United States leave.
Right now, most of the arguments for de-occupation rely on appeals to justice. To bolster their claims to sovereignty, Kanaka Maoli point to the fact that their nation as the Kingdom of Hawai’i was the first non-European indigenous nation to be admitted into the Family of Nations. They cite the dozens of treaties the Kingdom signed with Great Britain, France, and the United States in international courts to persuade legal tribunals of the rightness of their cause. They ask the United States – who officially admitted and apologized for the Overthrow in a 1993 Congressional Resolution – to right the wrong and grant Hawai’i independence.
Justice certainly demands de-occupation, but justice is running incredibly late for Kanaka Maoli. Something deeper than justice, something less abstract and more real, something overwhelmingly urgent demands de-occupation. The Hawaiian de-occupation is rooted in the most important imperative of all – life. Life, itself, demands de-occupation.”