Sacredness Protection vs Scientific Advancement

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Air date: 
Thu, 08/18/2022 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm


Released on 08/15/2019

Another report from Hawaii's Big Island, protests against the construction of a 18-story telescope atop a dormant volcano that some Native Hawaiians consider sacred have drawn thousands.

The protests over the $1.4 billion TMT project are now in their fifth week, and at times thousands of opponents of the project have gathered around the intersection of Daniel K. Inouye Highway and Mauna Kea Access Road. The access road has been closed since July 15, and police arrested 38 people for blocking the access road on July 17.

The protesters consider the TMT project to be a desecration of a mountain that many Hawaiians consider sacred, and say they will not allow it to be built. But sponsors of the TMT project spent a decade navigating the state and county permitting processes and fending off legal challenges to the project, and TMT supporters say the project now has the legal right to proceed.

For centuries, the Native Hawaiian people struggled against the United States government to defend their land and customs. The fight continues in 2016, with scientists and the native population at odds over how to best preserve the aina, or land.

Historically, scientific progress has almost always trumped Native Hawaiian rights and traditions. Land would be closed to the public, fenced off, and used for science. But co-ops and associations are trying new strategies to bring science and tradition together.

Most recently, this conflict can be seen in the expansion of the Papahnaumokukea Marine National Monument. When the expansion was proposed, Native Hawaiians protested the sudden seizure of their traditional lands by the federal government. Small gatherings and rallies followed until a rally at Honolulus Pier 38 in July drew 200 opponents of the expansion. Former Hawaii Governor George Ariyoshi addressed the crowd.

We should not let the federal government come in and tell us what to do with our ocean, he said.  

Rose City Native Radio is a native youth music and public affairs show . It features local and national native issues and contemporary native music. For updates and more info on shows check out our facebook.

Host: Jack Malstrom



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