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Mauna Kea 2015: Sacred Place; Political Pawn; Profane Demagoguery; Recreational Activism


(c) Copyright May 2, 2015 by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D.

A huge controversy has erupted in 2015 over whether construction should proceed on the thirty meter telescope (TMT) at the summit of Mauna Kea. For nine years there have been dozens of public hearings, environmental impact statements, contested-case legal hearings, and lawsuits; along with hundreds of news reports and commentaries in Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and throughout the world. I will make no effort to provide text or links to those items, which can easily be found on the internet. Finally a construction permit was granted and a ceremony was scheduled for blessing and groundbreaking. That's when protesters blocked the access road and disrupted the ceremony, showing they will never abide by any decision that would allow construction to go forward. Throughout 2015 the access road has been blocked. Protesters have set up tents and an ancient-style thatched house to keep vigil and stop any attempt at construction.

What follows are my own thoughts about seven of the most important issues involved. First is a very brief summary of my main points. After that are more detailed explanations of them. Readers are expected to be already familiar with the public discussion of these controversial issues.

1. Doing astronomy on the summit of Mauna Kea fulfills the essence of what makes it a sacred place, according to the ancient Hawaiian creation legend. Protesters screaming "sacred place" are either ignorant of how the creation legend applies to Mauna Kea, or are deliberately ignoring it for fear their followers might discover that the "sacred place" claim is a strong argument in favor of putting powerful telescopes atop Mauna Kea rather than an argument against the telescopes. Let's empower future explorers to use knowledge from telescopes on Mauna Kea to discover habitable planets of distant stars and navigate through the vastness of space to settle them, just as we honor the heritage of the first settlers who came to Hawaii using expertise in astronomy to steer their canoes across the vast Pacific ocean.

2. Most ethnic Hawaiians today are Christians, who believe in just one God. Therefore most ethnic Hawaiians cannot consider Mauna Kea as sacred in a religious sense in reference to the 400,000 ancient Hawaiian gods including the gods with special kuleana for Mauna Kea such as Wakea, Papa, and Poliahu. For monotheistic Christians, Jews, and Muslims; as well as polytheistic Buddhists and Hindus who never heard of it, Mauna Kea is sacred only in the sense of being a majestic, powerful, special place worthy of reverence and caretaking. It evokes such feelings in all people, including astronomers and the general public, regardless of race or religion.

3. Ancient Hawaiians had no hesitation digging into the ground near the summit of Mauna Kea and using it for technological and economic reasons. They actually had a rock quarry up there, and a factory to manufacture adzes (axes) for personal use and for export. They did not consider such activity a desecration of a sacred place. Therefore today's "cultural practitioners" cannot legitimately object to the telescope construction projects as desecration of a sacred place, since their ancestors engaged in digging, manufacturing, and economic profit-making in the same place.

4. Mauna Kea belongs to all Hawaii's people collectively without regard to race, as part of our government-owned public lands. No particular ethnic or religious group has a right to set it aside for their exclusive use, nor to act as administrator to choose who may go there when and for what purpose. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 on March 31, 2009 that the ceded lands (including Mauna Kea) belong to the State of Hawaii in fee simple absolute (without any racial distinctions) as a result of Annexation and the Statehood Admissions Act of 1959, and specifically added that the apology resolution of 1993 is merely a resolution of sentiment which is irrelevant to ownership or sale of the ceded lands.

5. It is legally and morally wrong to set aside millions of dollars for racially exclusive grants or scholarships as a sort of bribe in hopes that ethnic Hawaiian protesters will acquiesce to putting telescopes on Mauna Kea. Any such grants, scholarships, or "rent" should be paid to the State government as owner or to the University of Hawaii as leaseholder, to be used in race-neutral ways, perhaps including development of curriculum materials for science in the public schools and scholarships for students of all races wishing to become scientists, engineers, mathematicians, etc.

6. Blocking the access road to Mauna Kea is an act of violence which should not be tolerated. The protesters setting up checkpoints and deciding who can pass through are exercising a government function in defiance of the real government, and are getting away with it. They are comparable to a rebel militia in an unstable third-world country. Government has a responsibility to act swiftly and decisively to maintain the rule of law rather than to coddle a favorite racial group or allow chaos to develop.

7. The controversy over Mauna Kea, including the "sacred place" claim, is being used cynically as a ploy for attention by people who really don't care about Mauna Kea or sacred places. Some teenagers and young adults in search of personal identity are looking for a cause to believe in and a group to belong to; they are easy prey for charismatic leaders looking to recruit zealous followers. Some people of all ages are recreational protesters -- they march, chant, and wave signs for fashionable and politically correct causes as a hobby instead of fishing, jogging, or cheering for a sports team. Some leaders -- the Al Sharptons of Hawaii -- insert themselves year after year into whatever controversy grabs attention. These demagogs use manufactured outrage over the TMT project to stir up support for larger agendas including demands for multimillion dollar race-focused bribes for OHA, the Pauahi Foundation, the Hawaii Community Foundation, etc.; and demands for racial separatism or ethnic nationalism by creating a federally recognized Hawaiian tribe or seceding from the U.S. to re-establish Hawaii as an independent nation.

8. Commentary by Kenneth Conklin (650 words) published in Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Thursday May 21, 2015 entitled "Protesters use claims of sacredness for political agendas"

9. Letter to editor in Hawaii Tribune-Herald on Wednesday July 22, 2015 by astronomer who worked on Mauna kea for many years, noting that not once did he ever see any ethnic Hawaiians engaged in religious practices there.


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1. Doing astronomy on the summit of Mauna Kea fulfills the essence of what makes it a sacred place, according to the ancient Hawaiian creation legend. Protesters screaming "sacred place" are either ignorant of how the creation legend applies to Mauna Kea, or are deliberately ignoring it for fear their followers might discover that the "sacred place" claim is a strong argument in favor of putting powerful telescopes atop Mauna Kea rather than an argument against the telescopes.

According to Kumulipo (a favorite Hawaiian creation story), the progenitor, or original ancestor, is Haloa, from whom all Hawaiians are descended. But who is the mother of Haloa? She is the goddess Ho'ohokukalani, which means: she who placed the stars in the heavens. So it is proper that Hawaiians should worship Ho'ohokukalani. Part of that reverence must surely include studying the stars she placed in the heavens.

But the story goes much deeper than that regarding Mauna Kea. Haloa was the progenitor ancestor of all Hawaiians. And who was Haloa's father? Haloa's father was Wakea -- sky father. Wakea mated with his wife Papa (earth mother) to give birth to the Hawaiian islands as living beings. Later, they mated and produced their daughter, the goddess Ho'ohokukalani. Later, when Papa was away on a trip, Wakea mated with his own daughter Ho'ohokukalani (a ni'aupi'o mating normal among Hawaiian ali'i) and produced Haloa. Thus Hawaiians are the younger siblings in a family that includes the islands and the gods.

Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the Pacific, which means it is closest to sky father Wakea. The name "Mauna Kea" appears to translate as "white mountain" (appropriate because of its snow-covered summit in winter). But the name "Mauna Kea" is actually a shortened form -- a contraction -- of its ancient name Mauna A Wakea, which means "the mountain specially belonging to Wakea." Listen to its name again: Mauna a Wakea. Wakea's mountain. And since Wakea is the father of Haloa, who is the progenitor ancestor of all Hawaiians, then it is right for Hawaiians to come to Mauna Kea to worship Wakea on his special mountain. And the best way to do that is to also use Mauna Kea, closest to the heavens, to worship Haloa's mother, daughter of Wakea, Ho'ohokukalani, she who placed the stars in the heavens.

That's why doing astronomy on Mauna Kea is a fulfillment of the spiritual essence of this sacred place. Modern astronomy is the way modern man worships the stars. Ancient Polynesians used the stars for navigation. The first Hawaiians came to Hawai'i by using the stars to guide them. Their primordial Mother (Ho'ohokukalani) gave them the stars for that very purpose, to guide them along their vast journey through the Pacific Ocean. In the future, it is mankind's destiny not only to use the stars for guidance here on Earth, but actually to journey among the stars themselves. And those explorers of the future will rely on knowledge obtained from the telescopes on Mauna Kea to navigate through the vast cosmos. Let's empower future explorers to use knowledge from telescopes on Mauna Kea to discover habitable planets of distant stars and navigate through the vastness of space to settle them, just as we honor the heritage of the first settlers who came to Hawaii using expertise in astronomy to steer their canoes across the vast Pacific ocean.


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2. Most ethnic Hawaiians today are Christians, who believe in just one God. Therefore most ethnic Hawaiians cannot consider Mauna Kea as sacred in a religious sense in reference to the 400,000 ancient Hawaiian gods including the gods with special kuleana for Mauna Kea such as Wakea, Papa, and Poliahu. For monotheistic Christians, Jews, and Muslims; as well as polytheistic Buddhists and Hindus who never heard of it, Mauna Kea is sacred only in the sense of being a majestic, powerful, special place worthy of reverence and caretaking. It evokes such feelings in all people, including astronomers and the general public, regardless of race or religion.

So what should we think when we hear Christian ethnic Hawaiians invoking the word "sacred" in regard to Mauna Kea? Must we grant them the special deference we give to a Catholic attending Mass who sees the priest hold up the communion wafer while a chime rings signaling its miraculous transsubstantiation into the body of Christ? No. We need only give them the deference appropriate to our respectful support of someone who weeps when he sees a beautiful sunset or reads an inspiring poem. It's an aesthetic experience but not a religious one. Invoking the claim to Mauna Kea as a "sacred place" is comparable to the way kaona (double meaning) is used in Hawaiian 'olelo no'eau (proverbs) or ha'i mo'olelo (storytelling) -- it's a bait-and-switch sales technique -- say a word or expression using one of its meanings which everyone agrees upon ("sacred" meaning majestic, powerful, emotionally evocative) as a way to elicit emotional responses appropriate to a different meaning which the speaker himself knows does not apply ("sacred" meaning temple, or place set aside for religious ritual where ordinary activities are taboo). As will be discussed in item #3, ancient Hawaiians of commoner or peasant status used the summit of Mauna Kea for economic, commercial purposes and had no fear or feeling of sacrilege to go there, leaving behind both workplace waste and human waste. As the presence of the adz quarry and workshop shows, the ancients did not consider the summit of Mauna Kea to be wao akua -- a realm of the gods forbidden to humans except for priests or high ali'i -- and therefore that claim cannot be used as a reason to prohibit people from using it today for ordinary secular purposes.

How should we respond when a Hawaiian sovereignty activist who is a Christian or even an atheist tries to jerk our heartstrings by saying in a deep and quavering voice that Mauna Kea is a SACRED place? We might go away in silence to avoid a quarrel. Or we might laugh at him, saying "You don't really believe in the 400,000 gods of ancient Hawaii, do you?" Or perhaps we might engage him in a Socratic dialog probing with question after question to expose his fraudulent duplicity. "What makes it sacred? Which god is it sacred to? Was there ever a human sacrifice there? When did you or a close friend of yours go there to worship, and what ceremony did you perform? What authority do you rely upon to claim your ceremony is an authentic ancient one, or did you simply invent it?"


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3. Ancient Hawaiians had no hesitation digging into the ground near the summit of Mauna Kea and using it for technological and economic reasons. They actually had a rock quarry up there, and a factory to manufacture adzes (axes) for personal use and for export. They did not consider such activity a desecration of a sacred place. Therefore today's "cultural practitioners" cannot legitimately object to the telescope construction projects as desecration of a sacred place, since their ancestors engaged in digging, manufacturing, and economic profit-making in the same place.

The basalt rock found near the summit of Mauna Kea was the best available in the Pacific for making axe blades. That's why Hawaiians came here, to dig into the ground, harvest the rocks, and manufacture tools. The Mauna Kea adz quarry site still has not only partially carved rocks but also tools that were used for carving them, and small ahu (shrines) where the gods were thanked for providing the basalt. Thus religion and technology were mixed, as they were always mixed in everyday activities in ordinary places such as cutting down a tree, planting a seed, or going fishing. The presence of numerous small ahu (shrines for thanking the gods) was normal throughout Hawaii and does not indicate that a place is any more sacred than any other place. The blades from Mauna Kea were taken away to be distributed throughout these islands for technological purposes, to allow trees to be chopped down and carved into canoes. The Hawaiians clearly did not consider it sacrilegious or desecration to excavate or dig into the ground at the summit of Mauna Kea for technological purposes, even though those purposes were unrelated to astronomy and included economic profit to be gained from bartering the adzes for fish, poi, etc. There's nothing disrespectful to the gods or desecrating a sacred place to do construction work or economic activity on Mauna Kea in ancient times or nowadays. We are a living people. In modern times, we build telescopes as our modern ahu, to commune with and worship the majesty of God's creation in the stars.

An astronomer who works on Mauna Kea and has visited the adz quarry and workshop tells me they are "located at an elevation typically just slightly below that of the TMT (in the main area: in the expanded area there is overlap), covered an area 80+ times larger than the TMT footprint, and were never demolished [nor] had the land returned to [its] original state [after the work was done]" -- contrary to demands that the existing telescopes should be demolished and removed so the land can be returned to its pristine condition.

Another man, Bill Boyd, on the faculty at the University of Hawaii West Oahu, posted the following comment on an article by Ian Lind on Honolulu Civil Beat online April 29, 2015: "The main use of Mauna Kea prior to 1778 was as a quarry and adze manufacturer. Most of the shrines there are connected to the quarry. It is the main feature at the summit and runs seven and one half miles. ... There's no problem proving its a quarry, there ample archaeological evidence from adzes in various stages of production, chips, refuse from the production. When I first saw it I thought it was a 20 th century mining operation because of the refuse. The positioning of the shrines around the quarry indicate that the spiritual activity on Mauna Kea was related to the quarry. Workers homes, and garbage dumps (middens) are there. Indicating it was commoners doing the mining and manufacture. The most interesting thing about the quarry is adzes from the quarry have been traced to all the islands indicating an extensive trade network. ... The archaeology indicates that native Hawaiians placed the largest mine and adze factory in ... a sacred precinct and operated it for a thousand years." Note that there were large numbers of commoners working and staying in shelters at the summit of Mauna Kea -- it wasn't only priests or ali'i who went there. And they left their trash behind.

Finally, let's note that ethnic Hawaiians along with everyone else today do not hesitate to drive their cars and trucks on the access road when they want to go to the summit; they clearly do not feel that the road violates the sacredness of Mauna Kea. Likewise, they do not complain when winter snows attract hundreds of parents and children to drive to the summit for sledding, skiing, snowball fights, etc. -- we see those happy folks on TV every winter and nobody complains about people going to wao akua [realm of the gods] in the uplands of Mauna Kea, desecrating this sacred temple mountain by using it as a toy for play.


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4. Mauna Kea belongs to all Hawaii's people collectively without regard to race, as part of our government-owned public lands. No particular ethnic or religious group has a right to set it aside for their exclusive use, nor to act as administrator to choose who may go there when and for what purpose. Let's review who owns the public lands of Hawaii, including the "ceded lands" which Hawaiian sovereignty activists claim are the property of ethnic Hawaiians exclusively.

Kamehameha The Great conquered all the islands of Hawaii except for Kaua'i, whose King Kaumuali'i gave up ownership to Kamehameha by negotiation to avoid invasion and bloodshed. Thus Kings Kamehameha II and III personally owned all the lands on all the islands of Hawaii by right of inheritance from the Conqueror. In 1848 Kamehameha III began the Mahele -- a process of giving some of his land to the government, giving some of his land to chiefs and commoners for their private ownership with deeds registered by the government, and keeping some of the land for himself personally (the Crown Lands).

In 1864 the Supreme Court of the Kingdom ruled that the Crown Lands belonged to the King in his capacity as head of state, to be passed down to the next head of state after his death, but the Crown Lands did not belong to the King personally even though the revenues from the Crown Lands were for his personal use. In 1865 the Kingdom legislature rescued the Crown Lands from possible foreclosure of a mortgage the King had created to pay his personal gambling debts -- the Legislature passed a law declaring that the Crown Lands now belonged to the government rather than to the King, in return for issuing government bonds to pay off the mortgage. The King gladly agreed and signed the law. Following 1865 all the Crown Lands and Government lands belonged to the government, but the revenue from the Crown Lands was earmarked for use by the King to support his office as head of state.

The Hawaiian revolution of 1893 abolished the monarchy. Thereafter there was no longer a monarch needing support by the revenues from the Crown Lands. The difference between the Government Lands and Crown Lands was now merely historical, and both categories were lumped together under the label "Public Lands", as distinct from the private lands owned by individuals and corporations. Under terms of the Treaty of Annexation of 1898, all the Public Lands of Hawaii were transferred to the U.S. to be held in trust for the people of Hawaii, and revenues "shall be used solely for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands for educational and other public purposes" -- there was no race-based allocation for ethnic Hawaiians.

In 1909 ex-queen Lili'uokalani filed a lawsuit against the U.S. demanding money for the Crown Lands which she claimed had been her personal property and she claimed had been taken from her illegally in the ceding of the Crown Lands at annexation. But in 1910 the court ruled against her, citing the history described above, including the Kingdom Supreme Court decision of 1864 and Kingdom law of 1865 which had made clear that the monarch no longer owned the Crown Lands personally. Full text of the Treaty of Annexation was included as evidence in an appendix. The lawsuit citation is Liliuokalani v. United States, 45 Ct. Cl. 418 (1910). Both Lili'uokalani's complaint and the court's decision are provided in full at
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/liliucrownlands.html

It is very interesting that the ex-queen was claiming that the crown lands had been her private property rather than the property of the race of Native Hawaiians generally. Lili'uokalani's claim places her squarely in opposition to the assertion of modern-day sovereignty activists that the race of Native Hawaiians are somehow the rightful owners of the ceded (crown) lands, including Mauna Kea, or that they somehow have an undivided interest in them as "native tenants." On the ex-queen's theory put forward in this case, Native Hawaiians as individuals and as a racial group would have the same status as non-natives: no rights at all to ownership of the crown lands or income from those lands. But in view of the fact that Lili'uokalani lost her lawsuit, we know that from 1865 onward Mauna Kea belonged to all Hawaii's people collectively without regard to race, as part of the government-owned public lands.

As noted above, the crown lands and government lands of the Kingdom were consolidated as the public lands of the Republic of Hawaii, still owned by the government of Hawaii on behalf of all citizens of Hawaii without regard to race. At annexation the public lands of Hawaii were ceded to the U.S. as trustee, to be held in trust for all the citizens of Hawaii without regard for race, and the revenues from the ceded lands were to be spent in Hawaii for education and other public purposes.

In the Statehood Admission Act of 1959, the U.S. retained some of the ceded lands for national parks, military bases, federal court, etc. (which benefit all Hawaii's people equally), while returning most of the ceded lands back to the ownership of the new State of Hawaii. Section 5(f) of the Admission Act lists five purposes for which ceded land revenues can be used. The Admission Act very clearly says revenues can be used for ANY ONE OR MORE of those five purposes. Only one of those purposes includes any racial language, and says revenues MAY be used (but are not required to be used) for "the betterment of native Hawaiians as defined in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921" (i.e.,50% blood quantum). The reason for including "betterment of native Hawaiians" as defined in HHCA of 1921 was undoubtedly to make it clear that part or all of the ceded land revenues could be used for the Hawaiian homelands established under that law.

Nothing in the Admission Act authorizes the State of Hawaii to create anything like OHA, nor to use ceded land revenue for ethnic Hawaiians having less than 50% blood quantum. It is doubtful whether the U.S. government has the right to give the State of Hawaii permission to use ceded land revenues for a racial group, which would violate the 14th Amendment equal protection clause. That issue has never been dealt with by a court because every attempt to do so has been dismissed on technicalities by politically-correct judges.

But even if such permission can legally be granted, it would only ALLOW the State to make a racial allocation but would NOT REQUIRE the State to do so. For the first 20 years of Statehood, 1959-1979, virtually all the ceded land revenues were used for public education, which meant that Native Hawaiians received benefits in proportion to their share of the population, just like all other citizens -- not because a percentage of money was set aside as a racial allocation but simply in the course of the government spending money to benefit all the people. That 20-year history of no racial allocation shows that it was legal for the State to distribute ceded land revenues without any racial allocation, especially since that 20-year time period came immediately after Statehood when any improper action by the new State of Hawaii in carrying out any obligations under the Admission Act would surely have drawn the attention of the U.S. government. Furthermore, OHA has never claimed any "back rent" is owed to native Hawaiians for the period 1959-1979 -- such a claim would be ludicrous. All the bad quarrels over "back rent" are due to the ordinary statute passed by the legislature to provide a source of revenue to the newly created OHA. Ethnic Hawaiians do not own the ceded lands. The State of Hawaii does not owe rent for the use of its own lands for public purposes which benefit all Hawaii's people, including ethnic Hawaiians. The ceded land revenues given to OHA should not be construed as "rent" -- it is merely an earmark of a source of revenue, no different from a law setting aside a percentage of excise tax revenue to be used for building a train on O'ahu.

OHA was invented at the Hawaii Constitutional Convention of 1978. When more than 100 Con-Con proposals combined into 34 packages were offered for ratification in an election, all were approved by the voters (with blank ballots counting as "yes" votes under the rules then prevailing). But the specific OHA proposal (along with DHHL) received the lowest approval rating among all the proposals, at barely over 50%. Soon thereafter the Hawaii Supreme Court (Kahalekai v. Doi) struck down the definitions of "Hawaiian" and "native Hawaiian" contained in the OHA amendment. The Court ruled that these racially exclusionary definitions were material [i.e., significant] and had not been properly disclosed to the voters. That court decision, if not altered, would have left OHA in existence, but open to everyone without racial restriction on voting for trustees, candidacy for trustees, and the ability to receive benefits. Unfortunately the Legislature at its next session made a bad decision to re-establish the racial definitions, despite misgivings about them, for fear of offending Native Hawaiians (deja vu!). No Constitutional Convention has been held since then, and OHA campaigned vigorously in 1998 and 2008 against a ballot question to call such a convention, which is required to be asked once every ten years. OHA knows it does not enjoy public support; indeed, OHA occasionally pays for expensive TV, radio, and newspaper advertising campaigns for the sole purpose of promoting "brand recognition" or favorable public opinion. OHA also spends millions on lawsuits to extract more money from the State of Hawaii, and to lobby for legislation in Hawaii and in Washington to protect "entitlements" and to get more money.

It is entirely up to the Legislature whether to appropriate any tax dollars or allocate any ceded land revenues to OHA. There is nothing in the Hawaii Constitution to specify how OHA shall be funded. It was the Legislature which revived OHA following the Supreme Court invalidation of it, and it was the Legislature which passed a bill to give 20% of ceded land revenues to OHA. It is the Legislature which should take responsibility and repeal its mistakes of the past, rather than forcing expensive civil rights lawsuits where the taxpayers end up paying attorneys' fees and expenses for both sides when the State loses.

Even if the Legislature decides that the existence of 5 enumerated purposes for ceded land revenues implies a 20% share for ethnic Hawaiians, it must be remembered that Hawaiians comprise about 20% of our population and will therefore receive 20% of government expenditures without any special legislation being needed. If a special 20% share were appropriated for OHA, that would be on top of the 20% share ethnic Hawaiians would automatically get through normal race-neutral expenditures. That would be shortchanging 80% of our people. If you rob Peter to pay Paul, Paul will be very happy; but Peter will get angry, vote offending legislators out of office, and file lawsuits when he finds out what has been done to him.

On December 5, 2002 Judge Sabrina McKenna (then on the state Circuit Court but now on the state Supreme Court) handed down a decision in the case OHA, Aluli, Osorio, et. al. v. State of Hawaii et. al., CIVIL NO. 94-4207 (SSM). The Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser newspapers of December 6, 2002 reported the decision, as summarized below. See:
http://starbulletin.com/2002/12/06/news/story1.html
and
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2002/Dec/06/ln/ln06a.html

One important argument put forward by the plaintiffs was that the state law granting OHA 20% of ceded land revenues meant that OHA had standing to sue on the grounds that a sale of a piece of ceded lands would result in OHA losing its 20% share of future revenue from the land that was sold. Thus, said OHA, no piece of ceded lands should be sold until OHA gives permission; i.e., until OHA and the State have reached a settlement on who owns which pieces of ceded lands.

According to Star-Bulletin, Judge McKenna "denied a request by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for a moratorium on the sale of ceded lands. McKenna also ruled that the sale of these lands is not a breach of trust and does not violate the state Constitution. In the 107-page opinion McKenna said the state has the legal authority and sovereign immunity to sell public-trust or ceded lands. The judge added that the creation of OHA and other changes in 1978 to the state Constitution do not alter this power. McKenna said the case involved fundamental issues concerning ceded lands and the trust responsibilities of the state in relation to the native Hawaiian people." The decision explicitly took account of "the distinct possibility of the creation and recognition of a sovereign Hawaiian government, [and] that the state, as trustee of the ceded-lands trust, owes a high standard of fiduciary duty to the beneficiaries of the ceded-lands trust." The decision also took account of the alleged illegality of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the alleged historical injustices affecting Native Hawaiians, and the 1993 apology bill. Bill Meheula, attorney for a group of individual plaintiffs in the case, had argued that the apology bill was a confession by the United States that it had taken the ceded lands illegally, and therefore the title to the ceded lands is clouded. Sherry Broder, attorney for OHA, also argued that international law protects the propertry rights of indigenous people. But John Komeiji, a private attorney hired by the state, successfully argued that the state's laws and constitution take priority over an alleged international law declaration regarding the rights of indigenous people, both because that declaration was only in draft form unapproved by the United Nations and also because the declaration was never endorsed by the United States. Judge McKenna also disagreed with the plaintiff's argument that Native Hawaiian land rights are comparable to and should be given the same treatment as Native American claims.

OHA and the individual plaintiffs appealed the decision all the way to the Hawaii Supreme Court. On January 31, 2008 the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled unanimously 5-0 in favor of OHA and the individual plaintiffs and ordered that no parcel of ceded lands can be sold until OHA and the State agree on who owns the ceded lands and how to divide them. But the Governor and attorney General appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court. Attorneys General from 29 other states filed amicus briefs supporting the State of Hawaii. On March 31, 2009 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously 9-0 to overturn the state Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the State of Hawaii owns the ceded lands in fee simple absolute, has the right to sell them without permission from Native Hawaiians, and that the 1993 apology resolution is merely a resolution of sentiment which has no force or effect on who owns the ceded lands or whether they can be sold. A very large webpage provides text of all major decisions throughout the history of the case, accompanied by news reports, commentaries, amicus briefs and oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. See
http://bigfiles90.angelfire.com/CededNoSell.html

No particular ethnic or religious group has a right to set aside Mauna Kea or any other piece of ceded lands for their exclusive use, nor to act as administrator to choose who may go there when and for what purpose. Regarding the ceded lands more generally, see webpage "Ceded Lands Belong to All the People of Hawaiíi; There Should Be No Racial Allocation of Ceded Lands or Their Revenues" at
http://www.angelfire.com/hi2/hawaiiansovereignty/cededlands.html


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5. In view of the fact that Mauna Kea is part of the public lands that belong collectively to all Hawaii's people without regard to race (see item #4 above), it is legally and morally wrong to set aside millions of dollars for racially exclusive grants or scholarships as a sort of bribe in hopes that ethnic Hawaiian protesters will acquiesce to putting telescopes on Mauna Kea. Any such grants, scholarships, or "rent" should be paid to the State government as owner or to the University of Hawaii as leaseholder, to be used in race-neutral ways, including development of curriculum materials for science in the public schools and scholarships for students of all races wishing to become scientists, engineers, mathematicians, etc.

The problem is that ethnic Hawaiians have been successful in portraying themselves as though they collectively own Mauna Kea or are entitled to special race-based compensation for "allowing" the use of the mountain, on account of its alleged sacredness to ethnic Hawaiians and its special role in the creation legend. The question is, how much money must be paid for exclusive use by ethnic Hawaiians in order to get their "permission" to use "their" sacred mountain? Stronger protests, with more numerous participants, translate into a bigger payoff.

On November 13, 2014, not long after the October 7 blockade of the access road and successful disruption and prevention of the blessing and groundbreaking ceremony for TMT, the management of the TMP project published a news release announcing the first proposal for the bribe they were willing to pay.

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http://www.tmt.org/news-center/tmt-launches-hawaii-island-new-knowledge-think-fund-1-million-annually-benefit-hawaii-is

** TMT management news release, posted on its website.

TMT Launches The Hawaii Island New Knowledge (THINK) Fund - $1 Million Annually to Benefit Hawaii Island Students Pursuing STEM Disciplines

** Excerpts

"The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) has launched THINK (The Hawaii Island New Knowledge) Fund to better prepare Hawaii Island students to master STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and to become the workforce for higher paying science and technology jobs in Hawaii’s 21st century economy. TMT’s founding gift of $1 million marks the beginning of the construction phase of astronomy’s next-generation telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. ... annual contribution of $1 million over its existing 19-year Mauna Kea sublease with the University of Hawaii-Hilo. Two Hawaii foundations were selected by TMT, Hawaii Community Foundation and Pauahi Foundation, to administer THINK Fund distribution in scholarship and grant making platforms. The two independent foundations are defining their award criteria and decision-making process. ... It further recognized that an emphasis be given to improving opportunities for STEM education for Native Hawaiian students, not as an exclusive preference, but focusing on addressing the needs of Hawaii’s host culture. ... With Hawaii Island having the second largest population of Native Hawaiians in the state of Hawaii, our partnership with TMT provides much-needed financial support for Hawaiian learners from Hawaii Island to pursue educational opportunities in STEM,” said Hawaii Island resident and Pauahi Foundation Executive Director Keawe Liu"

Notice the focus on giving grants and scholarships to Native Hawaiians. The news release says this is not a racially exclusionary set-aside (yes it us, but they want to avoid 14th amendment lawsuits over violation of equal protection), but then the news release immediately contradicts itself by saying the purpose is to address "the needs of the host culture" -- a euphemism for the racial group). The Pauahi Foundation is an in-house philanthropic arm of Bishop Estate (Kamehameha Schools) which ruthlessly enforces a policy of the Board of Trustees to allow only ethnic Hawaiian children to attend its school system. The Hawaii Community Foundation is only slightly less racially exclusionary. The vast bulk of its beneficiaries are organizations which focus entirely or predominantly on ethnic Hawaiians. HCF publishes a list of its grantees, but hides its application forms and the race-identification question that is undoubtedly on them.

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OHA stands to get lots of money from TMT, especially if it can prolong the controversy and extort higher "rent" payments from telescope projects. OHA trustee Peter Apo urged the OHA board to delay and postpone a position statement as long as possible in order to have a seat at the negotiating table and extract as much money as possible from the telescope projects for "rent." And that's what happened. OHA trustees passed a motion to rescind their previous support for TMT, but did not pass a motion to oppose it either.

http://us3.campaign-archive1.com/?u=f9a371d0547f107d938233d66&id=443da96c5e

Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, Perspective Newsletter, April 24, 2015

Land and Power Atop Mauna Kea

Keli'i Akina, Ph.D., President/CEO, Grassroot Institute of Hawaii

What's really behind the current controversy over the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)?

Is it a conflict of religion vs. science? Hawaiian culture vs. Western technology?

What many don't realize is that there is a bottom-line economic consideration at stake as well. Mauna Kea represents land and power, and OHA has a financial interest in the outcome of the dispute. As part of the ceded public lands trust, Mauna Kea is income property for OHA from which -- for the first time with the TMT sublease signed last year -- it receives annual rents which increase as the TMT is built.

The question that arises is whether OHA benefits from the uncertainty surrounding the construction. And if so, are they attempting to take advantage of the situation?

At a recent OHA board meeting the question of OHA rescinding its approval of the TMT was raised. According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, "Trustee Peter Apo has called for the board to maintain their position as long as possible ... to put the board in a better place for negotiating. Apo said OHA should attempt to renegotiate the oversight of all of the state's public trust lands.... 'We need to stay at the table for as long as we possibly can,' Apo said."

Apo's comments suggest that OHA could be using the controversy as a negotiating gambit to increase their control of the ceded public lands. Certainly, OHA's stance seems disingenuous in light of the sincerity with which the protesters are making their case.

OHA needs to be reminded that it is not an independent negotiator with a right to hold the public hostage, but a state agency, run by elected officials who are to be accountable to the will of the people. Seeking to benefit from a deeply-felt and potentially-divisive controversy is unworthy of those who are in a position of public trust.

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Blogger Andrew Walden on April 11, 2015 wrote: "It's all about the money. Celebrities and the usual professional protesters are piling in to block work crews from laying the foundation for Mauna Kea’s Thirty Meter Telescope. Seizing her 15 minutes of fame, anti-telescope leader Kealoha Pisciotta tells CBS News: "(Mauna Kea) is the burial grounds of some of our most sacred and revered ancestors. It is a place where we go for sanctuary and release from the world around us, and it is also the home of our god." As the media's illusory graph of the body politic busily traces the arch of hysteria, Pisciotta didn't tell CBS about her "economic proposal" -- Lease rent for "god's home" of "$50 million per year.""

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** Ken Conklin's comment: OHA's antics remind me of third-world countries I have visited where government officials engage in outrageous extortion of people at all levels of society from wealthy businessmen to humble tourists. In Mexico, border guards and local policemen hold out their hands and demand "mordita." In the Middle East it's called "baksheesh." In Hawai'i, what OHA is doing is called "shibai" [a Japanese-pidgin word! meaning "fraud" or "con game"] because OHA is using religious and cultural claims in a totally false way, as mere pawns in a chess game to extort money and power from the State of Hawaii and from the governments and institutions which own the telescopes. OHA doesn't care about the sacredness of Mauna Kea. OHA says "Give us enough money and we will dispose of all these cultural and religious issues for you." OHA is acting like the mafia kingpin in a big city neighborhood who extorts money from restaurant owners by selling them "protection" so the mafia goons won't make trouble. If the restaurants don't pay up, the goons go in and break someone's leg, or maybe set a fire. In the case of Mauna Kea in the early 2000s when NASA wanted to build a telescope on Mauna Kea (it never happened due to delays and budget cutbacks), when nobody coughs up da kala, then OHA files a lawsuit against NASA and demands an EIS as a form of harassment, hoping to get a financial payoff. OHA's motives were made crystal clear in a newspaper article. On January 17, 2002 (coincidentally the 109th anniversary of the overthrow of the monarchy), the Honolulu Advertiser ran an article reporting that OHA Chairman Clayton Hee demanded $20 Million to make the "sacred place" problem go away, plus providing financing for including astronomy in the schools' science curriculum. Interestingly, the November 13, 2014 TMT news release announced the same figure, $20 Million, for its grant program at the rate of one million per year for 20 years. Apparently inflation has caused $20 Million in 2002 to now be worth $50 Million in 2015, as shown by Andrew Walden's quote of Kealoha Pisciotta's demand.

Here's another story about a trip I took driving my own car through Mexico. I was on a dirt road in a remote area, driving perhaps 50 MPH, when there was some debris scattered across the road. It was impossible to avoid the debris, so I drove through it. Very soon I could tell that a tire was slowly going flat. Fortunately there was a service station right ahead. The attendant agreed to look at the tire, pointed to a nail stuck in it, and inserted a tool like an icepick, presumably to remove the nail. He then told me he would pull out the nail and inject sealant for $20 -- a very high fee back then. My choice was either to pay the money or he would remove the tool and let the tire go flat and I would be stuck. Needless to say I paid. I also figured out that the debris on the road had probably been scattered there by the service station attendant in order to cause trouble for drivers like me.

That's the sort of shenanigans OHA is engaged in with Mauna Kea. Either we pay up or else there will be no end to the trouble from OHA's goon squad of "Native Hawaiians" protesting the desecration of a "sacred place." After 9 years and all procedures that were required to get a final construction permit, now come the protesters refusing to comply with the results of democratic decision-making. And now comes OHA rescinding its previous support for the project, to curry favor with the protesters and to demand more bribe money. OHA is behaving like the Mexican service station attendant.


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6. Blocking the access road to Mauna Kea is an act of violence which should not be tolerated. The protesters setting up checkpoints and deciding who can pass through are exercising a government function in defiance of the real government, and are getting away with it. They are comparable to a rebel militia in an unstable third-world country. Government has a responsibility to act swiftly and decisively to maintain the rule of law rather than to coddle a favorite racial group or allow chaos to develop.

Peaceful protesters have a right to hold signs, sing, dance, pray, chant, carry upside-down Hawaiian flags, etc. But they must not be allowed to occupy the roadway itself in such a manner that workers and construction equipment are denied access. They must not be allowed to stand so close or shout such obscenities and threats that astronomers or construction workers are fearful to do the work for which they have a permit issued by the government or the leaseholder. Government has a right to arrest and forcibly remove anyone blocking the access road or threatening bodily harm or vandalism to workers or equipment. Government has a responsibility to act swiftly and decisively to maintain the rule of law rather than to coddle a favorite racial group or allow chaos to persist.

Haven't we learned from events in Ferguson Missouri that false narratives and slogans can quickly galvanize a mob and spur them to violence? Slogans like "Mauna Kea sacred temple" are just as false and destructive as "Hands up don't shoot!" Haven't we seen in both Ferguson, and Baltimore Maryland, that quick action is needed to stop the first acts of violence and arrest the perpetrators before a mob is able to rage out of control? As on the mainland, if local police are unwilling or not sufficiently numerous to restore order, then the National Guard should be deployed promptly by order of the Governor.

The beginnings of thuggery on Mauna Kea happened on October 7, 2014 when protesters blocked the access road and disrupted a Hawaiian blessing and groundbreaking ceremony for the TMT project. But the protesters were emboldened when no action was taken against them and they were able to proclaim victory and recruit hundreds of supporters. By April 2, 2015 project managers had finally gotten up the courage to try to begin construction. They tried to drive a small convoy of equipment up the access road. But protesters stood in the middle of the road waving upside-down Hawaiian flags, singing, chanting, etc. A few were arrested. But more protesters gathered on the road farther up, and more gathered farther up, etc. About 30 protesters were arrested as different groups of them blocked the access road at several points between the visitor center and the summit. But once again the protesters won, because authorities were too timid and no construction could be done.

Protesters continued blocking the road even while the Governor announced that no further attempts would be made to do construction until after a period of discussion and negotiation, which continued throughout April. Protesters set up tents, even though no camping is allowed; and nobody removed them. They used the visitor center as a headquarters when it was open, but ate and pooped and peed who knows where when the visitor center was closed, thereby desecrating the mountain they call sacred. The protesters control checkpoints deciding who can go up the road, as though they are the government. They brought materials up the access road without interference from police or government authorities, erected an ancient-style small house near the visitor center without a permit, and nobody removed it. A timid ethnic Hawaiian Mayor of Hawaii Island (weakened by a major scandal that he embezzled money through a government credit card to use for strip clubs and meals), and a timid recently-elected and dithering Governor, have allowed these things to happen with no end in sight. The temporary postponement of construction to allow for discussion and negotiation is slipping into a permanent moratorium. The protesters should never have been allowed to block the access road. Travel along the road should have been prohibited to anyone lacking a permit. The tents and ancient-style house should have been immediately demolished. If and when a decision is finally made to proceed with construction, it will now require the Governor to call up the National Guard to clear the access road, arrest the protesters, and protect the personnel and equipment.

Blocking the access road on Mauna Kea is an act of violence similar to what happened at Iolani Palace on August 18, 2006. Celebration of an official state holiday in Hawaii turned ugly. The 47th anniversary celebration of Hawaii statehood, at the Capitol of the former Territory, was disrupted by Hawaiian sovereignty "protesters" using a sound-system, bullhorns, and direct in-your-face yelling as the celebration was about to get underway. First to be targeted by the terrorists were the high school students who are members of the band invited to perform -- as they sat seated with their instruments, ready to play patriotic songs, numerous protesters walked right up to them, shouting and cursing, while the bullhorn warned there would be trouble and they should leave. Needless to say, their parent-chaperones escorted them to the bus. Then the goon-squad turned attention to the legitimate participants in the celebration, standing nose-to-nose while yelling loudly and continuously; cursing, spitting, coming between celebrants, and surrounding individuals while telling them to leave and to take their American flags with them because this is not America. The protest was successful in disrupting and preventing any celebration of Statehood Day. Police chose not to protect the celebration, which had a government permit to use the Palace grounds (a police officer a few weeks later said he and some other officers had been present in the basement of the Place but had chosen to remain hidden there rather than confront the terrorists). For details of what happened, including photos, news reports and commentary, see
http://www.angelfire.com/planet/bigfiles40/statehoodday2006.html
There have been numerous other occasions reported in the newspapers when sovereignty activists have invaded and taken over Iolani Palace, or chained the gates and denied public access to Palace grounds including the old and the new state archives buildings.


==============

7. The controversy over Mauna Kea, including the "sacred place" claim, is being used cynically as a ploy for attention by people who really don't care about Mauna Kea or sacred places. Some teenagers and young adults in search of personal identity are looking for a cause to believe in and a group to belong to; they are easy prey for charismatic leaders looking to recruit zealous followers. Some people of all ages are recreational protesters -- they march, chant, and wave signs for fashionable and politically correct causes as a hobby instead of fishing, jogging, or cheering for a sports team. Some leaders -- the Al Sharptons of Hawaii -- insert themselves year after year into whatever controversy grabs attention. These demagogs use manufactured outrage over the TMT project to stir up support for larger agendas including demands for multimillion dollar race-focused bribes for OHA, the Pauahi Foundation, the Hawaii Community Foundation, etc.; and demands for racial separatism or ethnic nationalism by creating a federally recognized Hawaiian tribe or seceding from the U.S. to re-establish Hawaii as an independent nation.

In addition to telescopes on Mauna Kea, here are a few of the issues which can be searched. Drop their keywords into Google, or the internal search engines of several newspapers published in Hawaii or on my website.

Akaka bill
Kamehameha School
Construction of H-3 highway
Live fire military training at Makua Valley, years 2000 to now.
Pohakuloa military training area.
Hawaiian burials, Hawaiian bones, 'iwi kupuna
Superferry, including paddling surfboards to block it from docking.
Opposition to tourism, or demands for racial control over it
(de)Occupy Hawaii, camping at Thomas Square and around Honolulu for a year
50th anniversary of Statehood
No Treaty of Annexation; belligerent occupation of Hawaii; war crimes
Trans-Pacific Partnership trade discussions in Honolulu, November 2011
Demands for race-based exclusive fishing rights in certain areas
Demands for special religious and cultural rights for ethnic Hawaiians in prison (Use the prisons as places to brainwash Hawaiian inmates and recruit sovereignty activists)

Here are the names of some of the recreational protesters who travel from one issue or event to others even when there is no common theme other than ethnic Hawaiian pride, political power, or race-based sovereignty.

"Reverend" Charles Kauluwehi Maxwell Senior, aka "Uncle Charlie", now deceased (a self-proclaimed but unordained minister who never had a church or congregation). He behaved just like Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson, engaging in racial demagoguery for many decades, insinuating himself into all sorts of issues, and extorting go-away bribes in the form of advising or consulting fees.
Haunani-Kay Trask
Lynette Cruz
Jonathan Osoriox
Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa
Walter Ritte
Kaleikoa Kaeo
Anne Keala Kelly
Laulani Teale
Rod Ferreira
Colin Wong, aka Hinaleimoana Kwai Kong Wong-Kalu, aka Kumu Hina


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8. Commentary by Kenneth Conklin (650 words) published in Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Thursday May 21, 2015 entitled "Protesters use claims of sacredness for political agendas"

http://www.staradvertiser.com/editorialspremium/20150521__Protesters_use_claims_of_sacredness_for_political_agendas.html?id=304527551

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Thursday May 21, 2015

Protesters use claims of sacredness for political agendas

By Kenneth R. Conklin

Protesters screaming that Mauna Kea is a sacred place ignore the Hawaiian creation legend that explains why doing astronomy there fulfills the essence of what makes it sacred. Goddess Ho'ohokukalani, the daughter of Sky Father Wakea and Earth Mother Papahanaumoku, is the primordial mother of all humans. She was born on Mauna a Wakea (Wakea's mountain). Her name means "She Who Placed the Stars in the Heavens." Modern telescopes on Mauna Kea are how today's people pay homage to the stars our ancestral Mother placed there, which guided the first settlers to navigate to Hawaii and now guide Hokule'a around the world.

Most ethnic Hawaiians today are Christians, who believe in just one God. Therefore most ethnic Hawaiians cannot consider Mauna Kea as sacred in a religious sense referring to the 400,000 ancient Hawaiian gods. Mauna Kea is sacred only in the sense of being a majestic, powerful, special place worthy of reverence and caretaking. It evokes such feelings in all people, including astronomers and the general public, regardless of race or religion.

Ancient Hawaiians had no hesitation digging into the ground near the summit of Mauna Kea and using it for technological and economic reasons. They actually had a rock quarry near the summit, including a factory to manufacture adzes for personal use and trade. They did not consider such activity a desecration of a sacred place. The numerous small ahu (shrines) there are found throughout Hawaii because Hawaiians gave thanks to the gods in all their ordinary activities, including cutting down trees, planting seeds and fishing.

The adz quarry and workshop cover an area seven miles long and 80 times the area of the Thirty Meter Telescope footprint. Quarry workers were ordinary people, not priests; they erected shelters and created quarry waste and human waste. The ancients clearly did not see Mauna Kea as wao akua (realm of the gods forbidden to ordinary people and activities). Today's "cultural practitioners" cannot legitimately object to the telescope projects as desecration of a sacred place, since their ancestors engaged in digging, manufacturing, economic profit-making and waste-making in the same place.

Mauna Kea belongs to all Hawaii's people collectively without regard to race, as part of our government-owned public lands. No particular ethnic or religious group has a right to set it aside for exclusive use, nor to act as administrator to choose who may go there when and for what purpose. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 on March 31, 2009, that the ceded lands (including Mauna Kea) belong to the state of Hawaii in fee simple absolute (without any racial distinctions) and that the apology resolution of 1993 is merely a resolution of sentiment irrelevant to ownership of the ceded lands.

Blocking the access road to Mauna Kea is an act of violence that should not be tolerated. The protesters setting up checkpoints and deciding who can pass are exercising a government function in defiance of the real government, and are getting away with it. Government has a responsibility to act swiftly and decisively to maintain the rule of law rather than to coddle a favorite racial group or allow chaos to persist.

The controversy over Mauna Kea, including the "sacred place" claim, is being used cynically as a ploy for attention. Some young adults in search of personal identity are looking for a cause to believe in and a group to belong to; they are easy prey for charismatic leaders looking to recruit followers. Some people of all ages are recreational protesters -- they march, chant and wave signs for fashionable and politically correct causes as a hobby instead of fishing, jogging or cheering for a sports team. Some leaders -- the Al Sharptons of Hawaii -- insert themselves year after year into whatever controversy grabs attention. These demagogues use manufactured outrage over the TMT project to stir up support for larger agendas. They embarrass us all.

Kaneohe resident Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D., a retired professor of philosophy, is a civil rights activist supporting multiracial unity and equality.


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9. Letter to editor in Hawaii Tribune-Herald on Wednesday July 22, 2015 by astronomer who worked on Mauna kea for many years, noting that not once did he ever see any ethnic Hawaiians engaged in religious practices there.

http://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/commentary/your-views/your-views-july-22-0

Hawaii Tribune-Herald [Hilo], July 22, 2015, letter to editor

No aloha for astronomers?

I have lived in Hawaii for 30 years. I fully appreciate the Hawaiian culture and have many Hawaiian friends. I am writing this letter for them because I love them, and they asked me to share this truth with you.

I worked with almost every telescope on Mauna Kea for about 12 years and spent five years working full time at the summit of Mauna Kea at Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, living at Hale Pohaku every week. I also spent countless nights at the summit doing engineering or operating one of the telescopes.

While living on Mauna Kea, I explored every nook and cranny of that beautiful place in my off time. I know adze quarries and burial sites and caves all over the place. I know of an ancient Hawaiian astronomy site there, with a huge, comfortable resting area made of round rocks brought up or gathered by them. There are large stones and piles of stones all around, that were placed to mark compass points and where important stars would rise and set. I was told the ancient Hawaiians used this site on Mauna Kea to refine their navigational charts and calendars.

Here's the basic problem with all the Thirty Meter Telescope protests.

Not ONCE, in all my years working and living up there, did I see any Hawaiians worshiping or performing ceremonies.

However, I'm not completely ignorant. I know some ceremonies were performed there, usually for an equinox or solstice every couple of years. Those were done at Pu'u Poliahu and near the summit peak also. Both places are very special in my life. If the TMT was planned for either of those areas, I might be one of the protesters. Both have roads leading to them, but have no telescopes or anything.

Good thing the astronomers put in nice roads so we can make it up there. Also, very nice of the astronomers to keep the place clean, place full-time rangers up there to enforce keeping cultural sites pristine, and even put in a staffed visitors center to educate the tourists and the locals.

Why can't everyone appreciate what good things the astronomers are doing in good faith? These telescope buildings are not sacrilegious, they uphold the greatest of Hawaiian beliefs, a belief in exploration and knowledge of the universe. We actually continue today what was started in ancient times -- watching the heavens from Mauna Kea.

Way back then, they laid down on perfect-sized rocks carefully layered onto sand in a surprisingly comfortable place. They placed piles of rocks around to mark the stars positions. They sought to understand our place in space and time. Today, they do the same kind of thing with cameras and computers. More and more as things become more automated, the astronomer just stays home and logs onto the Internet.

By the way, you can thank the astronomers for the camera in your cellphone and the Internet, too. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of things we have and know today for which we should thank the astronomers. Why can't everyone show them the aloha they deserve?

Then, I see a picture of a protester with a T-shirt that says "A'ole TMT" and a sign that says "For the Keiki." What? What exactly will our keiki get if the TMT is NOT built? I can only see that they will lose a great opportunity for the advancement of human knowledge and a huge economic benefit to this great island, just for starters.

Then, there's the additional benefit of the prestige and increased respect of all people on the whole planet for Mauna Kea and for Hawaii and for the Hawaiians who started it all. There are all kinds of other side benefits, too, such as the 'Imiloa Center, the STEM program and the University of Hawaii at Hilo astronomy program.

Most importantly, there is the very real possibility one of those keiki could end up as an astronomer and make the most profound discovery ever made for humankind with the TMT. I want my keiki to have that chance. Don't you?

Steve Massey
Paauilo


================

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Ken_Conklin@yahoo.com

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