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by Taylor Cabatu
by Taylor Cabatu
He Hawai’i au mau a mau – I am a Hawaiian now and forever. My people have suffered the annexation of the Hawaiian Kingdom by the United States, they witnessed the imprisonment of their last reigning Queen in her own home by US Marines, and they were punished for speaking our native language and practicing our cultural ways. These are only some of things that my ancestors suffered even though they practiced peace toward all.
People and major companies are still trying to take land away from us. Mauna Kea is located on the Big Island of Hawai’i and is a sacred place that is also the highest point throughout the islands. TMT International Observatory wants to build a 30-meter telescope on our sacred mountain. This telescope will be the length of a football field and they will have to dig into the mountain, further desecrating sacred Hawaiian lands. There are already 13 telescopes on the mountain and our government officials gave the green light for another, bigger one. Hawaiians are not against science, we are against the destruction and the stripping of our sacred land. We do not know where the chiefs of our islands are buried. It was someone’s job to find a hiding place of these chief’s bones and then they had to take their own lives so no one could find these spots. These bones could likely be where this US/China consortium wants to build this telescope and it would be even more disrespectful to disrupt these burial grounds.
July 15, 2019, is the day that Governor David Ige said the construction of TMT would begin. Thousands of Hawaiians and people of Hawai’i congregated on the mountain to defend it. My people and those who support us are still up there. Brave people nonviolently blocked the road where the construction vehicles would enter.
On July 17 they began arresting our elders who were the front line. Governor Ige declared an emergency proclamation and police and other armed forces were put on the mountain to arrest my people fighting for our land and cultural sovereignty. We were nothing but peaceful and understanding. Every single one of us were just standing there and either praying or chanting. Since the beginning of this nonviolent battle, we attracted attention and have received much support by the rest of the world. Famous actors and stars have flown to our island to show that they support us. People like Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, Jason Momoa, Bretman Rock, and Ezra Miller are just a few who have shown their support and stood with us Hawaiians. We are using our voices and actions to show everyone that we are still here and we have had enough desecration of our land.
Our ancestors actually used the stars to navigate, the sun to tell time, etc. Our ancestors needed the sky to live and to get around. They used the stars and the sky to grow their crops. This just furthers the fact that Hawaiians are not against science. We love science, we just cannot take any more destruction. There are lines and this is one.
This battle between TMT and my people have been going on for 10 years. It is time for TMT to switch to plan B which is the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands just recently gave TMT the green light on immediate construction of this telescope there. Foreign powers have abused Hawai’i for years and years. TMT needs to give up on this location and move onto the next. Onto the next location where people actually seem to want it.
If someone wants to know more of what is happening or what there is to do to help, you can contact me or visit the link down below. Spread the word, get informed, and help us fight for our mountain.
Taylor Cabatu, Hawai’ian, is a university student studying on the mainland, at Portland State University.
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