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MAUNA KEA -- How the telescope campus serves the spiritual essence of this sacred place; how OHA and the sovereignty activists try to extort money and destroy Mauna Kea astronomy



(c) Copyright 2002 - 2004 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved


The summit of Mauna Kea is the best place on Earth for astronomical telescopes, because it is at a high elevation above most of the Earth’s atmosphere, is far from urban lights, has reasonably easy access and generally good weather. But Mauna Kea is also a sacred place. And Mauna Kea is part of the “ceded lands.” And Mauna Kea is an environmentally sensitive area. Thus OHA demands money for “land rent” and uses religious and environmental claims (some of which may be sincerely held) as ways to extort money and power.

Hawaiian sovereignty activists like to say Mauna Kea is a sacred place with ancient shrines, and therefore it is sacreligious and a desecration to dig into the ground and to put huge telescopes there. But testimony by Ken Conklin shows that the activists’ religious claims are exceedingly superficial from the viewpoint of their own religion. Placing astronomical telescopes on Mauna Kea is actually a fulfillment of the spiritual essence of this sacred place according to the most popular Hawaiian creation legend. The testimony also discredits testimony from the sovereignty activists on environmental issues in view of their motives, and urges that legitimate environmental issues should be identified and dealt with by scientists rather than political activists.

The telescopes on Mauna Kea are built, owned, and operated by various universities, astronomical institutes, and foreign governments. One of the issues "behind the scenes" is that Native Hawaiian activists want them to pay money for the privilege of using the land at Mauna Kea. Telescope sponsors already pay into a fund for maintenance of the road and shared facilities. But telescope sponsors have not been asked to pay lease rent for using the land. Instead, they sign a contract to provide the University of Hawai'i telescope time for UH scholars to use the telescopes to do their research. Telescope time is extremely valuable. UH researchers have used their no-charge telescope time to make major discoveries. However, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs does not receive any ceded land revenue from non-monetary, in-kind payments of telescope time; and Hawaiian institutions other than the University of Hawai'i astronomy institute receive no benefits at all. (except for the benefit we all receive as human beings from exploring the history of the universe!) There have been several proposals from Native Hawaiian groups to stop their environmental and cultural protests in return for monetary payments to be characterized as lease-rent. Commentators can draw their own conclusions regarding whether some of these Native Hawaiian groups are abusing cultural/spiritual claims as vehicles for financial extortion.

Here are links to NASA, the Keck Observatories on Mauna Kea, the University of Hawai’i Institute for Astronomy, Ken Conklin’s testimony, newspaper reports about Mauna Kea astronomical discoveries and political controversy, the ceded lands issue, and the (ab)use of Hawaiian religion to demand race-based political power.

Website of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
http://www.nasa.gov

Website of the Keck observatories on Mauna Kea
http://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/

Website of the University of Hawai’i Institute for Astronomy:
http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/

KEN CONKLIN TESTIMONY MARCH 11, 2002 TO HAWAI'I DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES: How the telescope campus on Mauna Kea serves the spiritual essence of this sacred place in accord with Hawaiian creation legend.

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES FROM 1999 TO 2003 describing the importance of astronomical discoveries on Mauna Kea, opposition to Mauna Kea astronomy from Hawaiian sovereignty activists, and OHA's attempts to extort money and political power

OHA FORCES NASA TO PRODUCE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT; MEANWHILE, MAUNA KEA DISCOVERIES CONTINUE -- newspaper coverage and activist announcements through 2004

KEN CONKLIN TESTIMONY JANUARY 12, 2004 NASA EIS SCOPING HEARING: How the telescope campus on Mauna Kea serves the spiritual essence of this sacred place in accord with Hawaiian creation legend; why testimony from Hawaiian sovereignty activists should be discounted in view of their motives

CEDED LANDS belong to all the people of Hawai’i. There should be no racial allocation of ceded lands or their revenues. Extensive analysis of the origins of the ceded lands in the government and crown lands of the Mahele (1848), Annexation (1898), and Statehood Act (1959). Detailed explanation why there is no historical, legal, or moral basis for racial claims to ceded lands or their revenues. A shorter, simplified version is provided in an open letter to the Legislature.

RELIGION AND ZEALOTRY IN THE HAWAIIAN SOVEREIGNTY MOVEMENT -- HOW RELIGIOUS MYTHS ARE USED TO SUPPORT POLITICAL CLAIMS FOR RACIAL SUPREMACY IN HAWAI'I


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(c) Copyright 2002 - 2004 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved


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Email: ken_conklin@yahoo.com