Lelemia = Hawaiian^(Scientist*Engineer)

Just giving a little Hawaiian Style

Hānau ʻia ka Mauna a Wākea


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.


Read more/Sources
1. <http://sacredmaunakea.wordpress.com/about/>
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/>
5. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/8/groundbreaking-hawaiian-blessing-for-telescope/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS
6. http://www.chinatopix.com/articles/15055/20141008/hawaii-protesters-telescope-thirty-meter-telescope-tmt-mauna-kea-mauna-kea-summit-native-hawaiians-hawaiian-protesters-groundbreaking-delay-blessing-ceremony-tmt-observatory.htm
7. http://www.kitv.com/news/protesters-disrupt-mauna-kea-telescope-groundbreaking/28998256
9. http://blog.sfgate.com/hawaii/2014/10/07/peaceful-protest-in-palo-alto-against-massive-mauna-kea-telescope/
10. http://www.tmt.org/about-tmt
11. http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/mko/telescope_table.shtml



2 thoughts on “Hānau ʻia ka Mauna a Wākea

  1. Talofa lava mo fa’afeatai lava Lelemia,

    As a Samoan scientist this issue, and the implications it has on our cultures, has weighted heavy on my heart and my mind. I want to first thank you again for putting your opinions and insights on such a public medium, your work is invaluable to both the preservation and progress of our Pacific peoples. As I am not kanaka maoli, my opinions on the land use of Hawaii are without judgment or arrogance. Still however, I find it necessary to ask you some questions regarding this telescope and our peoples.
    The opinion of the Hawaiian people has been made clear. The TMT is not appropriate for Mauna a Wakea. But you ask the question I think more in our community should be asking, and that is ‘What is and is not infringement of sacred ground?’
    The people of Pasifika, have always been seekers of knowledge. From our study of the stars for navigation. To the engineering of our va’a, that carried us from island to island. We have always been scientists of a sort. It was colonization that created the divide between ‘traditional knowledge’, and the western knowledge system. Colonial society devalued ‘traditional knowledge’, and in so doing devalued the people. But at what point do we as ‘traditional scientists’ throw off these titles and simply respect the teachings of our ancestors as well as the knowledge from our class rooms for what it is? Knowledge! Must we not reclaim our own value first?
    As a fellow Pacific Islander scientist, who understands the precariousness of our position, do you see a way for science to evolve with and within our pacific cultures? If so, could you see a way for the TMT on Mauna a Wakea to be a gift from our big brother, not an infringement of sacred ground?


    Harrison Fano Ray Fa’atau Togia

  2. Reblogged this on Sacred Mauna Kea and commented:
    A perspecitve…

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