“It really hits home close for us because we see a lot of similarities in regard to what is happening at Litekyan and what the Kanaka Maoli people are saying is — you know — this land is sacred, enough is enough, we have given up enough of our culture, now we have to take a stand for Mauna Kea.”
Prutehi Litekyan held a “wave” rally late Monday afternoon in support of the Mauna Kea Telescope protest in Hawaii.
Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian is a direct action group dedicated to the protection of natural and cultural resources in all sites identified for Department of Defense live-fire training on Guam.
Noting parallels to their struggles with the Kanaka Maoli people of Hawaii, Prutehi Litekyan organized the rally to show solidarity. In Hawaii, activists are protesting the construction of the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, which they consider to be sacred.
Maria Hernandez of Prutehi Litekyan mentioned these similarities.
“Just in following the news, you see the devastation within the community, you see the Kanaka Maoli people, they are outraged. There is just no way that a telescope — this is a huge telescope. They would have to drill in the ground in this mountain and it has the potential to contaminate the aquifer in that area. It’s just disastrous,” “They would have to drill in the ground in this mountain and it has the potential to contaminate the aquifer in that area. It’s just disastrous,” Hernandez said.
She added: “It really hits home close for us because we see a lot of similarities in regard to what is happening at Litekyan and what the Kanaka Maoli people are saying is — you know — this land is sacred, enough is enough, we have given up enough of our culture, now we have to take a stand for Mauna Kea.”
Since the site was first proposed for the firing range, Hernandez said the action group had been speaking out and coming out as a community.
So far, around 14,000 people have already signed the petition protesting the signing of the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan (INRMP) that would allow the construction of the Live-Fire Training Range Complex (LFTRC) at Andersen Air Force Base.
“We similarities in the risk to the aquifer in Mauna Kea, as they build this telescope. What we are hearing is that, their water source will be affected. Similarly for us, this firing range would be built on top of our Northern aquifer,” she said.
Protectors not protesters
“This week has been pretty intense. Wednesday, thirty-four of our Kupuna were arrested on the mountain and we were posted up at the Mauna Kea access road.”
As of today, hundreds of activists outside of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea have already caused the 13 observatories on the mountain to cease operations.
Protesters are even calling for the impeachment of Hawaii Governor David Ige for not upholding the laws that protect the Hawaiian people, Hawaiian sacred land, and the laws protecting Mauna Kea. Nearly 40,000 people have already signed the petition.
Naomi Ka’ae Tachera, one of those against the project, spoke to PNC.
“I’ve been there since Sunday night but had come home to see my family,” Tachera said.
“This week has been pretty intense. Wednesday, thirty-four of our Kupuna were arrested on the mountain and we were posted up at the Mauna Kea access road,” Tachera added.
“This has been going on since 2014. In 2015, they had several arrests on the mountain. And then, they are also trying to go ahead and start the construction. This weekend, they are bringing up the machines but they called out to everybody, and everybody from around the state really came, flew over and sat in solidarity with the protectors of Mauna Kea,” she said.
According to Tachera, on Monday, Guam time, over 2,500 people were at the area for a peaceful protest.
“For the last two days, there have been no police presence. They are there but there have been no threat of making arrests or using machines. So everyone is kind of – or were in celebration, were enjoying one another up in the mountains versus really being against the police or police presence.”
Mauna Kea is a dormant volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii that is highly sacred to Native Hawaiians and is an integral part of Hawaiian traditions.
PHOTOS BY: Amanda Dedicatoria