Commentary – Hawaii Science Leaders Call for the Protection of Mauna Kea

This statement is being made by physicians, psychologists, scientists, public health professionals, educators, and cultural practitioners who aloha ‘āina and who happen to be the leadership and members of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health in the John A. Burns School of Medicine of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. However, we are not making this statement in our capacity as faculty or staff of the university nor is this an official statement of the university.

Artist Conception of the TMT (Bottom Left) Click to enlarge

Artist Conception of the TMT (Bottom Left) Click to enlarge

In 2003, the Department of Native Hawaiian Health was established at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Its mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of Kānaka ‘Ōiwi (Native Hawaiians) by increasing the cadre of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi and other health professionals, and scientists working toward health equity for Kānaka ‘Ōiwi through health care services, scientific research, and community engagement and empowerment. In meeting our mission, we embrace biomedical and behavioral sciences and Kānaka ‘Ōiwi cultural knowledge and tradition. We value science and its potential in improving the lives of all people and we value our Kanaka ‘Ōiwi culture and its offering of continuity and Mauli Ola (optimal and holistic health and wellbeing) for Kānaka ‘Ōiwi.

The protection of Mauna Kea (aka, Mauna a Wākea) by concerned Kānaka ‘Ōiwi is our ancestral kuleana (responsibility) to mālama ‘āina (land stewardship) and means of ensuring Mauli Ola. Cultural protection and revitalization of historical and sacred places are important social and cultural determinants of Mauli Ola for Kānaka ‘Ōiwi. They are as important to Mauli Ola as access to safe and well-resourced neighborhoods, excellent education, healthy food options, physical activity opportunities, and quality health care.

Coming from a tradition of seafarers and skilled navigators, who looked up to the heavens and night sky for knowledge and guidance, Kānaka ‘Ōiwi can appreciate astronomy’s quest to understand the mysteries of the universe and our collective existence in, and connection to, this universe. Kānaka ‘Ōiwi also appreciate and hold fast to cultural knowledge, traditions, and wahi pana (scared places) that also explain our existence in, and connection to, this place we call Hawai‘i.

In respect for both traditions, astronomy and Kānaka ‘Ōiwi, the above members of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health calls for an extended moratorium until a balanced resolution – that ensures the protection of Mauna Kea – is achieved between the State entities involved and the astronomy and Kānaka ‘Ōiwi community. And may it be done with the values of our ancestors as reflected in the following: ‘A‘ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka hālau ho‘okahi (not all knowledge is acquired through one school) and Mālama pono i ka ‘āina (properly care for our land).

From: Drs. Keawe‘aimoku Kaholokula, Marjorie Mau, Winona Lee, Dee-Ann Carpenter, Martina Kamaka, Robin Miyamoto, Kāwika Mortensen, Alika Maunakea, Andrea Hermosura, and Tricia Mabellos, and Ms. Mele Look , Ms. Chessa Harris, Ms. Tiffnie Kakalia, Mr. Kamuela Werner, Ms. Shelley Soong, and Ms. Miala Leong.

14 Responses

  1. I support the telescope and the new knowledge that it will add to our understanding of the universe. When I say “our” I mean all of humanity. Other than this, I remain silent as so many others do. It makes no sense to argue with those who believe that they are righteous.

  2. Science can take this in one of two directions, up to space or down to the dirt, soil organisms and their relationship to the human body, now let’s talk about a healthy lifestyle for these indigenous organisms. Biodiversity, co-habitation, earth-friendly!

  3. This took a long time addressing the issues. It d\id not pop just yesterday Here is the timeline.
    2008
    Seven EIS Public Scoping Meetings are held (Hawaii Island: 10/6, 10/8, 10/9, 10/13, 10/14, and 10/15 and Oahu: 10/16)
    APRIL 2009
    State of Hawaii Land Board Approves Comprehensive Management Plan for Mauna Kea
    JULY 2009
    TMT Board of Directors Selects Maunakea as Preferred
    Site
    2009
    Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees adopts a motion to support Maunakea as the site for Thirty Meter Telescope project
    Seven Draft EIS Meetings are held (Hawaii Island: 6/16, 6/17, 6/18, 6/22, 6/23, 6/24 and Oahu: 6/25)
    MARCH 2010
    State of Hawaii Land Board Accepts CMP Sub Plans
    MAY 2010
    Mauna Kea Management Board Approves TMT Project
    State of Hawaii Governor Approves TMT EIS
    JUNE 2010
    University of Hawaii Board of Regents Approves TMT Project
    AUGUST 2010
    60-Day TMT EIS Challenge Period Ends
    SEPTEMBER 2010
    Mauna Kea Management Board Approves Draft Conservation District Use Permit
    State of Hawaii Land Board Accepts Draft Conservation District Use Permit
    DECEMBER 2010
    State of Hawaii TMT CDUP Public Meetings in Hilo and Kona (12/2 and 12/3)
    FEBRUARY 2011
    The State Land Board Considers the UH application for a Conservation District Use Permit for the Thirty Meter Telescope, and Authorizes a Contested Case
    MARCH 2011
    Hawaii State Legislature introduces Resolutions in support of TMT’s Workforce Pipeline Program
    MAY 2011
    TMT CDUP Contested Case Pre-hearing
    AUGUST 2011
    Five TMT CDUP Contested Case Hearings (public) are held (8/14, 8/15, 8/17, 8/18 and 8/25)
    SEPTEMBER 2011
    TMT CDUP Contested Case Hearings Conclude (9/26 and 9/30)
    NOVEMBER 2012
    Hearings Officer Paul Aoki issues hundred and twenty-four page ruling concluding that TMT is consistent with the purpose of the Conservation District and should be granted its Conservation District Use Permit.
    FEBRUARY 2013
    State of Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources hears oral arguments (2/12)
    APRIL 2013
    State of Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources issues CDUP (4/12)
    DECEMBER 2013
    Judge Nakamura, Third Circuit Court, holds hearing on the opponents appeal (12/13)
    JANUARY 2014
    All parties directed to provide briefs on any implications the Hawaii Supreme Court ruling had on the TMT case (1/21)
    FEBRUARY 2014
    Hearing on the implications of the ATST to the TMT case is held (2/20)
    MAY 2014
    Judge Nakamura, Third Circuit Court issues Final Judgment affirming Board of Land and Natural Resources, State of Hawaii’s Findings of Fact, Conclusion of Law and Decision and Order Granting Conservation District Use Permit for the TMT at the Mauna Kea Science Reserve dated April 12, 2013 (5/5)
    JUNE 2014
    Board of Land and Natural Resources, State of Hawaii, approves TMT sublease with the University of Hawaii (6/27)
    JULY 2014
    After Three Public Hearings, the Board of Land and Natural Resources, State of Hawaii votes to approve the sublease with the University of Hawaii
    Office of Hawaiian Affairs votes no – to not pursue a contested case regarding the approved TMT sublease with the University of Hawaii
    OCTOBER 2014
    A Traditional Hawaiian Ground Blessing Ceremony is Conducted at the TMT Site
    MARCH 2015
    The Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources issues TMT a Notice to Proceed
    SHOOT FOR THE STARS WITH US

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