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Sunday, July 14, 2019
'Sacrilege': OHA Leadership Predicts Violence at TMT Construction Site
By News Release @ 11:22 PM :: 4679 Views :: Hawaii County , Greenmail, Higher Education, Law Enforcement, OHA, Religion

OHA leadership demands halt to TMT construction to avoid harm to Native Hawaiians and the public until steps are taken to ensure public safety

News Release from OHA

HONOLULU (July 13, 2019) – OHA Chair Colette Machado and OHA Trustee Dan Ahuna call on Gov. David Ige to halt all planned construction activities for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) to avoid harm to Native Hawaiians and others until four material steps are taken to ensure public safety.

OHA Chair Colette Machado and Trustee Dan Ahuna, chair of the OHA Board’s Ad Hoc Committee on Mauna Kea, sent a letter late yesterday to Gov. Ige noting that TMT construction is moving forward without the state sufficiently addressing the Native Hawaiian community’s longstanding opposition to the state’s decades-long pattern of mismanagement of Maunakea, one of our island’s most sacred spaces.

In their letter, Chair Machado and Trustee Ahuna said:

[I]n light of the ongoing neglect and mismanagement of Maunakea, the clear and unwarranted bias against those concerned for this sacred space, and the continued and reaffirmed commitment of many Native Hawaiians and others to protest the TMT unless and until their ongoing concerns have been addressed, it is highly likely and clearly foreseeable that the commencement of construction activities for the TMT will result in bodily harm and psychological trauma to OHA’s beneficiaries and others at the hands of the State. In the interests of peace, justice, and public safety, we therefore implore you to place a halt on all TMT construction activities pending the identification of solutions to more meaningfully respect the cultural beliefs and well-founded concerns of Native Hawaiians and others, and ensure the safety of those wishing to practice their culture and express their concerns.

Chair Machado and Trustee Ahuna’s letter demands a halt to TMT construction until the following steps are taken by government officials to protect Native Hawaiians and the public:

Condemn and prohibit, unconditionally, any further government action to provoke or intimidate Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners or Protectors, including through the dismantling of culturally or spiritually significant structures or the issuance of unfounded allegations or statements that mischaracterize or dismiss cultural and environmental concerns;

Coordinate with all relevant state and county agencies, UH officials, OHA representatives, and Native Hawaiian community members to meaningfully alleviate tensions within the Native Hawaiian community and recognize and respect all cultural beliefs regarding the sacred Mauna, as necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of OHA’s beneficiaries;

Prohibit, unconditionally, the use of any and all unwarranted force against nonviolent protestors and Protectors, including the use of any Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD) or “less-than-lethal” weapons and crowd control devices capable of inflicting bodily or psychological harm; and

Ensure the safety of all who wish to exercise their cultural practices and right to peaceful expression and opposition, including through the mutually agreed-upon establishment of sufficient spaces where Protectors and practitioners may safely assemble, rest, monitor, and voice their opposition to any government-sanctioned activities that may occur on Maunakea, including near or on its summit and near any cultural features or sites.

PDF: OHA Letter to Governor Ige Dated July 12 2019  -- "Inappropriate and borderline sacrilegious activities by extreme sports enthusiasts and visitors...."

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OHA leadership reiterates their demand that the state provide a safe place for Native Hawaiians to assemble and peacefully protest TMT construction

News Release from OHA, July 14, 2019

HONOLULU (July 14, 2019) – OHA leadership today reiterated their demand that the state immediately hold all construction relating to the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) until it provides and recognizes a safe place for Native Hawaiians and others to peacefully assemble and protest TMT and the state’s longstanding mismanagement of Maunakea.

Maunakea kiaʻi recently designated a more than five-acre area on a Department of Hawaiian Home Lands parcel at the base of Maunakea as Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu, a traditional place of refuge.  More than 500 protectors, including keiki and kūpuna, have gathered at Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu to peacefully protest TMT construction.

OHA Chair Colette Machado and Trustee Dan Ahuna, chair of the OHA Board’s Ad Hoc Committee on Mauna Kea, released the following statement today:

We urge state officials to recognize Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu as a safe place for peaceful assembly and protest by OHA beneficiaries and others who have long voiced concerns about the state’s decades-long mismanagement of Maunakea.

The establishment of Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu as a safe place for cultural practices and peaceful expression of opposition represents one of the four steps we demanded the state take before starting construction activities relating to TMT.

We continue to implore and demand that the state immediately hold all TMT construction activities until it takes further steps to ensure the safety of OHA beneficiaries and the public.

For the last few months, there has been growing concern within the Native Hawaiian community that the state’s longstanding mismanagement of Maunakea, exasperated now with the government’s single-minded determination to force the construction of TMT regardless of all consequences, would lead to conflict that will ultimately result in physical harm to our beneficiaries who want nothing more than to protect one of our most sacred places.

We as a society must set aside our differences on TMT and now focus on the well-being of our beneficiaries and the public. Until the state can provide meaningful assurances for public safety, construction of the TMT must be placed on hold.

In a letter sent to Governor David Ige late Friday, July 12, OHA Chair Machado and Trustee Ahuna demanded a halt to TMT construction until the following steps are taken by government officials to protect Native Hawaiians and the public:

1. Condemn and prohibit, unconditionally, any further government action to provoke or intimidate Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners or Protectors, including through the dismantling of culturally or spiritually significant structures or the issuance of unfounded allegations or statements that mischaracterize or dismiss cultural and environmental concerns;

2. Coordinate with all relevant state and county agencies, UH officials, OHA representatives, and Native Hawaiian community members to meaningfully alleviate tensions within the Native Hawaiian community and recognize and respect all cultural beliefs regarding the sacred Mauna, as necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of OHA’s beneficiaries;

3. Prohibit, unconditionally, the use of any and all unwarranted force against nonviolent protestors and Protectors, including the use of any Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD) or “less-than-lethal” weapons and crowd control devices capable of inflicting bodily or psychological harm; and

4. Ensure the safety of all who wish to exercise their cultural practices and right to peaceful expression and opposition, including through the mutually agreed-upon establishment of sufficient spaces where Protectors and practitioners may safely assemble, rest, monitor, and voice their opposition to any government-sanctioned activities that may occur on Maunakea, including near or on its summit and near any cultural features or sites.

OHA has yet to receive a response to the July 12 letter from the state.

For information on OHA’s lawsuit and the state’s continued mismanagement of Mauna Kea please visit www.oha.org/maunakea.

RELATED: 

Big Q: Do you support work on the Thirty Meter Telescope starting Monday?  (95% -- YES)

Flashback: Telescope: For OHA, it’s all About the Rent Money

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