Hawaiians Protest Use of Sacred Lands for Telescope

Kamalu Vogelgesang, Opinion Writer

Since July 2019 protesters have occupied the Mauna Kea access road to stop the construction of the thirty meter telescope(TMT). Astronomers have been trying to construct the thirty meter telescope for years now. There are currently 13 telescopes on top of Mauna Kea, but they are nowhere near as big as TMT would be. The thirty meter telescope is said to have a resolution 12 times sharper than the Hubble telescope. Mauna Kea is a prime location for TMT because the elevation and clear skies at the summit. Although the telescope would be a great accomplishment for space exploration and astrology, TMT is seen as a threat to sacred lands and Hawaiian culture. The people of HawaiiHawaiian people are not willing to stand by while their land is desecrated. Thousands of people from Hawaii came together as a a family to show support. Together they have made a roadblock keeping the supply trucks from going up the mountain to build TMT. 

The Hawaiian people are doing all they can to protect their land. Everyone is working together to stand up for their culture and aina(land). Even those who can’t spend the day protesting bring supplies to help. Trucks of water, food, gas, and even stoves come to help keep the protest going strong. The Hawaiian people do not see themselves as protesters, but as protectors fighting for Mauna Kea. 

The media talks about the protest, but they focus more on what the telescope can do for space exploration and astronomy. They tell you about what the telescope will be able to see, but not what it will do to the land it is being built on. TMT plans to use nuclear energy as a power source for the telescope. If this happens it would be devastating because, Mauna Kea has been a freshwater source for hawaiians for many years.  

Hearing hHundreds of Hawaiian flags flying through the air, thousands of people singing and chanting together will give you the chills. The Hawaiian people’s rallying call is “Ku Kia’i Mauna” meaning guardians of the mountain. Not only is it a statement that they will fight for our land, but it is a reminder of how to act on the mountain if you are someone there fighting for Mauna Kea. Everyone is doing their part to keep people fed and safe while they work to protect Mauna Kea. To the Hawaiian people, Mauna Kea is not just a mountain, it is our guardian. Mauna Kea protects the big island from big storms and even hurricanes. The mountain also acts as a water purification system. It is also a historical site for Hawaii. It is home to many geological formations, endemic plants, and endangered animal communities. Mauna Kea has always been their protecting and providing for the Hawaiian people and now the Hawaiian people are fighting to protect it. 

Celebrities such as Dwayne JohnsonThe Rock and Jason Momoa have come to Mauna Kea to show support for the movement. They gave speeches and spent the day with their people spending quality time and joining in on chants and hawaiian songs.The Hawaiian people are trying to make a statement even. Musicians from Hawaii have even made songs in support of the protest against TMT. Mauna Kea means too much for us to stand by as such a desecration of our land takes place. No matter how long it takes these protectors aren’t going anywhere until their job is done.