Native Hawaiian activists have been protesting a massive telescope project planned for the Mauna Kea mountain on Hawaii’s Big Island. Protests began in October 2014, when plans were first announced for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). With construction of the TMT scheduled to restart, protesters gathered to block road access starting on July 13, 2019. Four days later, on July 17, thirty-three protesters were arrested.
“Now is the time to rise up and stand for the land”
To get a sense of the history and latest updates surrounding the Mauna Kea protests, we first speak to Kealoha Pisciotta, president of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, and Wookie Kim, staff attorney at ACLU Hawai’i. They emphasize the importance of protecting protesters’ civil liberties, decolonizing science, and pushing back on corporate culture that disrupts natural and sacred spaces.
“Whether you’re Native or not, whether you’re a woman or not, this issue affects you”
In the second segment of the program, we discuss violence against indigenous women and two-spirit people with Annita Lucchesi, executive director of the Sovereign Bodies Institute and co-author of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls report from the Urban Indian Health Institute. She describes the ongoing crisis, offers some facts and figures from her database, underscores the importance of Native-led projects, and encourages non-Native allies to join the movement.
Cover image: “Sunset over four telescopes of the Mauna Kea Observatories,” Wikimedia Commons / “Our Bodies, Our Stories,” Urban Indian Health Institute