Aloha e Hawai‘i, I have invited Kaleikoa Kaeo and Kahele Dukelow to express their views and experiences with regard to Haleakalä and the night of protest on August 2. The following are their thoughts and opinions.
KŪPA‘A MA HOPE O KA ‘ĀINA – “We stand firmly behind the ‘āina.”
Kāko‘o Haleakalā reaffirms our commitment to the defense of Haleakalā as part of our National lands and is encouraged by the successful aloha ‘āina protective action held on the early morning of August 2, 2017. Though we did not stop the convoy, we honor our fellow kia‘i in our clear demonstration of resistance and opposition to the continued desecration and occupation of Haleakalä by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Institute for Astronomy (IFA), the University of Hawai‘i (UH) and the United States Military.
We condemn settlerism. We protest against these institutions which persist in refusing to recognize the humanity of our lāhui kanaka. Why do they willfully ignore that Native Hawaiians are a real people and that we possess a true history, culture, language, and spirituality? As such, we are compelled to resist our dehumanization and instead we rise to restore and manifest our own humanity. In order for us to thrive as the aboriginal people of this archipelago, we are forced to struggle in regaining control of our sacred lands as a means to reignite and to maintain our cultural integrity. The summit of Haleakalā is one of the most significant wahi kapu for our lāhui. Therefore the protection of its sanctity and sacredness is crucial for our people’s identity. It is undeniable that these alien industrialists do not have a lawful, legitimate, or moral authority to control the summit of Haleakalā. Like Mauna Kea and Kaho‘olawe, the summit of Haleakalā is a wahi kapu and still belongs to our lāhui. How dare these foreigners rudely impose themselves and squat upon our wahi kapu! They do not own or have legal title to claim ownership of Pu‘ukolekole, Haleakalā.
For more than ten years, our community has adamantly voiced our opposition to the building of the DKIST and the further industrialization and militarization of Haleakalā. This opposition has been clearly articulated in the scoping and consultation process, by the four Supreme Court cases filed by Kilakila ‘o Haleakalā and numerous protests and community actions. Our lāhui kānaka, people, have never given consent to any construction on Pu‘u Kolekole, Haleakalā.
We understand that the police force is being used by NSF, IFA and UH to stand against us and clearly see those organizations and their representatives as the real perpetrators. We also acknowledge the Maui Police Department’s efforts to improve their approach and interactions with aloha ‘āina protectors and community in situations of protective actions and demonstrations. However, we are seriously concerned with the excessive force applied by certain member(s) of the MPD against Kai Prais. At no time did Kai conduct himself in a violent or threatening manner. As a result of the excessive police force, Kai was rendered unconscious. What is equally concerning is the way that this medical emergency was handled by MPD. Kai was left on the ground, unattended, handcuffed and unconscious for more than ten minutes until the ambulance arrived.
Our protests and direct action, that are always held in nonviolence, are our commitment to protect Haleakalā and our assertion of our human right to protect our places of sanctity. We will forever protest the desecration and occupation of Haleakalā and will continue to work towards the removal of all telescopes from Pu‘ukolekole, Haleakalā. Aloha ‘Āina ‘Oia‘i‘o!
Note: Trustee columns represent the views of individual trustees and may not reflect the official positions adopted by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees.