Almost three months of non-stop presence on Mauna Kea is bound to culminate with a clash between construction crews and the protectors who have kept a watchful eye on the sacred Mauna on Wednesday. Hawai’i Governor David Ig has declared the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Corporation has the legal right to proceed with building the $1.4 billion astrological facility.
TMT Chairman and CEO Hsin-Chi Su has announced construction will resume this Wednesday, June 24, 2015 stating the last two months have allowed the company to become better stewards of the land and they would commence building with the support of a “majority of Hawaiians.” With over 60,000 signatures gathered opposing what would be one of the largest telescopes in the world and only 7,000 signatures collected in favor, one could only imagine where he gets his facts.
Last month the Office of Hawaiian Affairs came under pressure from the Hawaiian community to rethink their support of TMT. After a poll was completed, which overwhelmingly showed the Hawaiian population does not want another telescope built amongst 13 other telescopes, the OHA decided to rescind their support, with a last minute vote falling short of declaring their opposition to the project.
The successful social media campaign has brought the issue to the world’s attention including other indigenous tribes in the United States and Australia, as well as celebrities Jason Mamoa and Rosario Dawson. The Hawai’i Supreme Court has also agreed to review the lawsuits brought against the telescope for environmental reasons in August.
All eyes will be on the Mauna Wednesday morning as construction crews make their way to a wall of dedicated Hawaiians armed with Hawaiian flags, signs, and kapu aloha. Awareness of the issue on protecting sacred lands and recognizing indigenous rights was brought to light in April and thirty-one Hawaiians were arrested for exercising their peaceful right to protest.
Hawaiian artists have also come together in multiple ways to help show support and raise awareness of the issue. The Aloha Aina Music Festival is scheduled for this Saturday, June 27, 2015 at the Waikiki Shell on O’ahu. Island legends Fiji and Henry Kapono will be joined by Maoli, Paula Fuga, Kaumakaiwa Kanakaole, Weldon Kekauoha, Brother Noland, Shawn Pimentel, Sudden Rush, Amy Hanaialii, John Cruz, Mana’o Co., Hapa, and special guests for the all day festival. All “proceeds to help save Mauna Kea other sacred lands.”
Whether or not an armed National Guard will accompany the construction crew and Big Island police force is yet to be determined. The only thing we know is this battle is far from over.
Help raise funds for KAHEA – The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance to help fight the legal battle against TMT by clicking HERE!
Article by: Blake Taylor
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Article source: http://www.thepier.org/the-day-hawaii-stood-still/