This TMT project has united us as a Hawaiian nation in ways that I’ve never seen. This is far greater than just the TMT project; this is about our existence. About our culture for the future generations.
As someone who is a part of that future generation, I feel the need to stand firm with our kupunas. Enough is enough. My generation has slim to none of the Mana’o. The knowledge, of our culture, of our history.
We’ve been so revolutionized and modernized by force that the knowledge of who we really are as Hawaiians is fading. Our kupunas are on the Mauna not to just protect the desecration of more sacred land, but to protect what’s left for all of us, the future of all Hawaiians.
Us kanakas are not just being oppositional just to make a scene because of a telescope. This is 150 years of oppression in the making and TMT is the tip of the iceberg.
Let’s face it, we are an endangered species. It’s beyond rare for you to find a full blooded Hawaiian, let alone half. I wish I could go on and on about the history and events that have led us to where we are today.
But the truth is, I barely know about everything that has happened.
About our cultural practices, all the songs and stories of our ancestors. I don’t know how to ole’lo Hawaii. And what’s more upsetting, is for the amount of knowledge I have, that is still considered more than most.
However, growing up without the full knowledge of my history, what little I have learned has always been tied to the aina. The plants, the mauna, the birds, the ocean, the ‘aina! We are so proud and protective of where we’re from. They aren’t protesting, they’re protecting. The aina is everything to us, our source of life, the connection to our history, who we are as people.
The aina is visual proof of our origin, our ancestors, our existence. With this TMT project, sure. You’ll be one step closer to finding out if there’s life out there in space. But by doing so, take thousands of steps backwards from preserving what we have right here in front of us?
Our culture is under attack all throughout Hawaii. Here on Kauai we too face battles, from Mark Zuckerberg and kuleana lands, to the disruption of the salt beds in Hanapepe due to the development of Maverick Helicopter and about hundreds of other issues that continue to push our culture further and further into devastation.
Mauna kea is not just a movement for the mauna, but a movement for us as Hawaiian people to take a stand.
To see everyone near and far come together for a peaceful movement to stand up for our rights, for the land. This is history in the making.
I am not against the study of the stars and I am not against science. Learning is all we have as humans, and knowledge is power. Now with that being said, if knowledge is power and the ‘aina is knowledge for us as Hawaiians. Why take that away from us?
We protect Mauna Kea to learn, to teach and to take care of the mauna that is here right now. Not to use it as a beacon to discover what else is out there in space.
Please tell me, what is the priority here?
Here and now our mauna needs us. There is so much that has already been lost and taken, enough is enough.
I’m not here to bash the ideas and values of others but just to express the perspective of a Hawaiian female of the next generation. I know where I stand.
So I say with no hostility whatsoever, A’OLE TMT. Our people, our culture, our aina has had enough disrespect. KU KIA’I MAUNA, until the last aloha aina. Kapu aloha.
Nalani Layosa-Ho’okano is a resident of Kauai