As a Native Hawaiian Scientist and Engineer, I constantly ask myself: is this technology appropriate to this place? In Hawaiian traditions and customs, stories were passed down from one generation to the next through talk-story, mele (songs and chants) and hula (dance). From these traditions, we know that our Hawaiian islands were born, just like how humans are born. In our family traditions, Mauna a Wākea is the firstborn child of Wākea, sky-father. The Mauna (mountain) is our ancestor (1).
Yesterday, Tuesday, October 7, 2014, Native Hawaiians and supporters gathered in peaceful demonstration against the Astronomy industry and the State of Hawaii’s groundbreaking ceremony for a Thirty-Meter Telescope to be built on the summit of Mauna Kea
Sacred sunrise ceremonies were held though out the Hawaiian Islands, and the world, as reverent pule (prayers), mele (songs and chants), and hula were offered in support of “AOLE TMT”: no further telescope development on the summit of Mauna a Wakea.
According to reported news and personal accounts on the summit, the groundbreaking was respectfully halted. Watch raw footage of the peaceful demonstration: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ4Gt35hs-s>. Simultaneously, there were peaceful demonstrations in Honolulu State Capitol Building, Palo Alto, California, Oregon, and elsewhere raising awareness about the Thirty-Meter Telescope Project (2-9).
Again, I ask myself is the Thirty-Meter Telescope project appropriate to Mauna a Wākea? The Astronomy community argues that the new telescope will further advance the study of “our own solar system and stars throughout our Milky Way and it neighboring galaxies, and forming galaxies at the very edge of the observable Universe, near the beginning of time (10).” Is the Thirty-Meter Telescope an infringement of the sacred space of Mauna Kea in the name of ‘science’? Are scientists repeating colonization of traditional ecological knowledge systems through science? The successful halt of the groundbreaking is a clear sign that Native peoples and supporters are idle no more.
2. < http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/10/08/354477691/protests-disrupt-telescope-groundbreaking-in-hawaii>
3. < http://westhawaiitoday.com/community-bulletin/protesters-disrupt-tmt-ground-breaking>
4. < https://intercontinentalcry.org/peaceful-protest-ground-breaking-ceremony-thirty-meter-telescope-tmt-summit-mauna-kea/>