Press Release for Kū Kiaʻi Mauna Press Conference on Friday, June 28th

Jun 26, 2019

HONOLULU, HAWAII - On Friday, June 28th, protectors of Mauna Kea will hold a press conference before the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) board meeting, its first public meeting scheduled since it authorized the removal of two hale and two ahu from Mauna Kea on Thursday, June 20th. In response to state actions, the protectors will speak about the significance of the hale and ahu and the concerns they have with the potential uses of excessive force in upcoming actions.

Those scheduled to speak at the press conference include Kealoha Pisciotta (Mauna Kea Anaina Hou), Billy Freitas (practitioner of uhau humu pōhaku, stone wall masonry), Davianna McGregor (Kanaka Maoli scholar), Noelani Ahia (Haleakalā protector), Shelley Muneoka (KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance), and Lance Collins (attorney representing KAHEA). Speakers will address the serious problems raised by the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), implications of the failure to protect natural resources, the violation of Native Hawaiian customary and traditional practices, and DLNR’s recently purchased Long-Range Acoustic Device (LRAD), also called a sound cannon, which has been used for crowd control at confrontations with water protectors at Standing Rock and potentially violates state and federal laws.

Shortly after the removal of the hale and ahu, Governor Ige, Attorney General Clare Connors, Department of Land and Natural Resources Director Suzanne Case, and UH President David Lassner held a press conference on the state’s action, maintaining that these were “unauthorized structures.” AG Connors further stated that “The two structures at the summit were reviewed by the Hawai’i Supreme Court as well as the board. They were determined not to bear any traditional customary significance.” Protectors, however, insist that the two ahu at the summit and the hale located near Hale Pōhaku were built in ceremony to honor the sacred mountain and to serve as a site of religious observance and practice for Native Hawaiians.

On June 24th, 2015, TMT construction crews, escorted by Hawaiʻi County and State DOCARE officers, attempted to make their way to the summit of Mauna Kea, but were stopped at Hale Pōhaku by protectors. Offering ti leaf lei to the crews and their escorts for protection and chanting in ceremony, the protectors stood in lines across the Access Road to safeguard the mountain from the construction of the TMT. The proposed TMT would excavate five acres, 20 feet into the earth, removing 66,000 cubic yards of the sacred mountain— the equivalent of 1,782,000 cubic feet of earth.

Candace Fujikane, Boardmember, KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance


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