We are Mauna Kea

We are Mauna Kea is a short video promoted by Jason Momoa of Aquaman fame, about the recent fight to preserve sacred land in Hawaii. In case you haven’t been following the news, demonstrators were opposed to the damaging proposed construction of a new telescope on sacred land. Via the Guardian:

On Hawaii’s Big Island, a protest against a $1.4bn observatory on Mauna Kea, a mountain considered sacred by many Native Hawaiians, is entering a second month. In that time, the protest site has swelled from a few hundred to several thousands, attracted celebrity visitors, and built a community of Native Hawaiians who see it as a pivotal moment.

The protest site sits at an elevation of 6,632ft, where the cold wind whips across hardened lava fields. But amid this inhospitable environment, weeks of demonstration have given rise to a sense of permanence.

The site stretches across a two-lane highway, where trucks flying a Native Hawaiian flag and the upside-down state flag line both sides of the road. A “Kūpuna tent”, where the elders of the community gather, is strategically placed to block an access road up the mountain in order to stop construction vehicles from reaching the summit. New arrivals are encouraged to sign in at an orientation station. There is a tented cafeteria providing free meals, and a community-run medic station, daycare and school. Along the barren roadside, tropical flowers have been casually stuck in traffic cones. People pound taro, a Hawaiian crop, in the traditional way on wooden boards to make poi, a local dish.

The protest stems from controversy over the fate of Mauna Kea, the tallest peak in Hawaii and the proposed site of an enormous observatory known as the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). The summit, 13,796ft above sea level, is said to be an ideal location to look into deep space. TMT is expected to capture images ‘that look back to the beginning of the universe. Protesters, who call themselves kia‘i, or “protectors”, argue the construction will further desecrate Mauna Kea, which is already home to about a dozen telescopes.

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