Supporting the Protectors of Mauna Kea Who Oppose the Building of the Thirty MeterTelescope (TMT) and Urging the TMT International Observatory Board of GovernorstoWithdraw Plans to Build the TMT on MaunaKea
Whereas, On July 10, 2019, Governor David Ige, UH President David Lassner, and Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) International Observatory Board of Governors’ Chairman Henry Yang announced that construction for the TMT would begin on July 15, 2019; and
Whereas, Native Hawaiians have overwhelmingly demonstrated their opposition to the construction of the TMT on Mauna Kea in court cases, testimonies, hearings, forums and community meetings; and
Whereas, The TMT International Observatory Board of Directors have the option of building the TMT in the Canary Islands; and
Whereas, Mauna Kea is regarded as the most sacred of places among Native Hawaiians, because Mauna a Ākea is the eldest child of Wākea (Sky Father) and Papa (Earth Mother), progenitors, or ancestors of the native Hawaiian people, and therefore, Mauna Kea is seen as the direct link of Native Hawaiians to their ancestors and their Creation; and
Whereas, Mauna Kea is the home of Nā Akua (the Divine Deities), Nā ‘Aumākua (the Divine Ancestors), and the summit of MaunaKea is the “piko” (wahi pana) which connects Native Hawaiians to their ancestors; and
Whereas, Mauna Kea is a place where Native Hawaiians’ ancestral Gods reside (wao akua), and consequently where Native Hawaiians exercise their traditional and customary religious ceremonies including but not limited to (1) honoring the Māuiki‘iki‘i (solstice) and Māuiili (equinox) throughout the year; and (2) honoring Poli‘ahu (the Snow goddess), Kūkahau, Līlīnoe, and Waiau through worship, chants, and ho‘okupu (gift offering); and
Whereas, Mauna Kea summit area is ceded lands, comprised of Hawaiian kingdom crown and government lands, and is now part of the Public Land Trust; Further, The State of Hawai‘i, as trustee of these lands, is mandated under Article XII §4 and §7 of the Hawai‘i Constitution to (1) protect these lands, and (2) protect the traditional and customary rights of Native Hawaiians which are exercised for subsistence, cultural, and religious purposes;
Whereas, On November 7, 2017, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) filed a lawsuit in the First Circuit court against the State of Hawai‘i and the University of Hawaii (UH) for their longstanding and well-documented mismanagement of Mauna Kea, contrary to the public trust and the terms of UH’s lease of these “ceded” and culturally sacred lands; and
Whereas, There are at least thirteen telescopes on Mauna Kea, a couple of which have been decommissioned, but their facilities still exist on Mauna Kea; and
Whereas, On July 17, 2019, over 30 Native Hawaiians and others, including many kūpuna, were arrested for engaging in a peaceful protest and civil disobedience on Mauna Kea; and
Whereas, Native Hawaiians have endured injustices that have persisted, unaddressed, for over a century, manifested today in systemic inequities that permeate our criminal justice system,
public education institutions, land use and planning decisions, natural and cultural resource management, state funding prioritization, and management and administration of Mauna Kea and other sacred spaces; and
Whereas, historically, this protest is more than just the erection of another telescope on MaunaKea, as it represents a consistent struggle by Native Hawaiians fighting for justice to protect their way of life, including, and not limited to fighting the desecration of lands (ie.
Pōhakuloa, Kahoʻolawe), combatting vandalism (ie. Kūkaniloko, Kaniakapūpū, Prince Kūhiō and King Kamehameha statues, Kawaiahaʻo grave sites); preventing water pollution (ie. Hanapēpē Salt Ponds, Loʻi patches); stopping overdevelopment of lands; preventing overfishing (ie. Mo’omomi, Miloli’i; and
Whereas, The Platform of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, states, in part, “We acknowledge the past injustices and the misguided, harmful Federal and State policies and actions based on outdated and discredited values and beliefs that resulted in the destruction of the Hawaiian Nation’s economies, social, and religious systems, the taking of their lands, and the creation of intergenerational trauma that exists to this day. We believe that we have a moral and profound duty to honor, respect, and uphold our sacred obligation to the Hawaiian Nation State and the Hawaiian people.”; and now, therefore be it
Resolved, That the Hawaiian Affairs Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i supports the Protectors of Mauna Kea who oppose the building of the TMT; and
Be It Further Resolved, that the Hawaiian Affairs Caucus urges the TMT International Observatory Board of Governors to withdraw its’ plans to build the TMT on Mauna Kea; and
Be It Further Resolved, that the Hawaiian Affairs Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i respects and supports the rights of protestors pursuant to the Hawai‘i State Constitution and the United States Constitution, Article I, with the right for public assembly and freedom of speech and to ensure those rights under the provisions of law are not infringed.
Ordered, That copies of this resolution be distributed to all members of Hawaii‘s congressional delegation; the Governor of the State of Hawai‘i; the Lt. Governor of the State of Hawai‘i; the Protectors of Mauna Kea; the TMT International Observatory Board of Governors; the Office of Hawaiian Affairs; the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs; the House Committee on Water, Land, and Hawaiian Affairs; the Dept of Land and Natural Resources; the Dept of Hawaiian Home Lands; the Mayor of the County of Hawai‘i; and the Chair of the State Central Committee of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i.