In response to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna o Wakea, one of the most sacred Native Hawaiian sites, Kūlaniākea is issuing the following statement.
To our haumāna (students):
“He aliʻi ka ʻāina; he kauwā ke kanaka” (ON 531)
–The land is chief; the people its mere servant
• Mauna o Wakea was born of the sacred union of Papahānaumoku, Earth mother, and Wakea, Sky father. Mauna o Wakea is our ancestor, our relative. It is our kuleana (responsibility) to protect and take care of our sacred mountain, as well as all sacred places of Indigenous people.
• Native Hawaiians have always been astronomers, scientists, and explorers. The traditional knowledge of navigation by stars and celestial bodies allowed Native Hawaiians to successfully voyage across the Pacific Ocean and beyond for centuries.
• Embrace our values rooted in Hawaiian culture: Aloha kekahi i kekahi (Love one another), Kūlia i ka nuʻu me ka ʻoiāʻiʻo (Stand for excellence and truth), Kū haʻaheo me ka haʻahaʻa (Stand with pride and humility) Mahalo i ka mea loa‘a (Be thankful for what you have), Mālama honua no nā hanauna (Take care of the Earth for the generations).
• Hawaiian culture is not a relic of the past but a living and thriving culture, guided by kupuna and traditions.
To our mākua (parents) and ʻohana (extended family):
“Ka hana a ka mākua, o ka hana no ia a ke keiki” (ON 1295)
– What parents do, children will do
• The colonial narrative divides Native Hawaiians, devalues our culture, and withholds the truth from our children. So we educate our children on the importance of traditions, values and spirituality of Native Hawaiian people.
• They may say that Native Hawaiians don’t understand or appreciate the value of science. So we educate our children on their Hawaiian identity, that they come from the culture of science. Our complex body of knowledge, including astronomy, predates Western science and telescopes.
• They may say that they know how to manage Mauna o Wakea better. So we educate our children that Native Hawaiians have always practiced a balanced socioeconomic, geologic, and climatic land-management system, ahupuaʻa, which ensures the prosperity of a community and the health of the environment.
• They may say the Thirty Meter Telescope is necessary for scientific progress and advancement. So we educate our children that Native Hawaiian scientific advancement doesn’t require the destruction or desecration of our ʻāina and our Native beliefs of sacredness.
• In the coming years, our children will hear and see images of Native Hawaiians and Indigenous protectors across the globe, being arrested and harmed. So we educate our children that destruction and desecration is happening all over the world on Indigenous lands. Being a protector of ʻāina is a part of who we are as Indigenous peoples; it is our identity. We can speak our language and practice our culture because of the resiliency of generations of Indigenous peoples. All children deserve sacred land, clean water and air. All children deserve education, rooted in truth, respect, and dignity. Education is incomplete without the history of social injustices, past and present, and focus on systemic change. We can stop the myths, stereotypes, and other aspects of the harmful narrative, which negatively impact children of all ages, including the very young. We can stop the current educational practices that benefit only some children. It is within our power to give children and adults the tools and skills to dismantle inequities, to bridge the current divides, and to care for each other and our Planet. As a Native Hawaiian educational organization, we are committed to upholding the truth about Native Hawaiian identity, service, education and relationship to ʻāina. Kūlaniākea is committed to provide equitable education to ALL children!