Native Hawaiians block the building of a new giant telescope to summit of sacred Mauna Kea
Hawai, USAJuly 2019
Last week, hundreds of protectors came back to the base of the Mauna Kea access road, peacefully blocking the vehicles that wanted to climb the majestic volcano to build a new giant telescope, the largest in the world. For native Hawaiians, Mauna Kea is the meeting place for heaven and Earth, an ancestor and one of the most holy places. From a geological point of view, this is the highest mountain in the world – from the bottom of the sea to the summit – and the largest volcanic volume of the Earth, which is why it was inscribed on the list of Natural World Heritage Sites UNESCO in 1987. At the same time, it is considered a place of exceptional interest for astronomers, given the lack of light pollution and altitude of more than 4200 m, which is why 13 giant telescopes have been built at its peak , always opposed by Hawaiian natives.
On July 17, thirty elderly Hawaiians (kūpuna) were arrested for preventing access to Mauna Kea and Hawaii’s governor, David Ige, declared a state of emergency. Since last week, the number of protectors of the sacred volcano has been increasing and now there are thousands. Natives have filed new legal complaints against the State. His message is clear and concise: This is the sacred earth; this mountain is our ancestor; We will continue here defending it, will not build it there.
The collision of values, among astronomers who consider it the best place in the world to make astronomical observations, and the Hawaiian natives, who consider it a sacred space and an ancestor, have been holding for years, with legal derivatives every time more complex The natives, who are considered their custodians, die that they will continue to fight peacefully “like the mountain, for the mountain, with the mountain.”
More information at Born was the Mountain
The short paper of Tom Peek published in the IUCN Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas Newsletter: Issue 7, October 2018