Protests about the building of huge astronomical telescopes at the summit Mauna Kea have been going on for decades. Theyʻve only recently been brought into focus because of the planned Thirty Meter Telescope. The Smithsonian explains the conflict this way:
From the outside, this argument may seem like another case of Native beliefs versus modern science. What is really at stake, however, is a conflict between two ways of knowing and being in the world. For many Native Hawaiians and other Indigenous peoples, sacredness is not merely a concept or label. It is a lived experience of oneness and connectedness with the natural and spiritual worlds. It is as common sense as believing in gravity. This experience is very much at odds with the everyday secular-humanist approach of Western thinking that emerged out of the Enlightenment and which sees no “magic” or “enchantment” in the world. And of course, seeing nature as inert facilitates both commercial exploitation and scientific exploration.
Pūpū A ʻO ʻEwa is proud to present Ka Poʻe Kiaʻi, the guardians and protectors of Mauna Kea, through photographs by Kai Markell, Native Hawaiian activist, photographer, and attorney at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Whether helping to build the stone ahu (altar) at the university, attending a rally at ʻIolani Palace with their families, meeting with officials from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, or holding a sign all alone at a street corner, these poʻe kiaʻi feel deeply that their message should be heard. Aloha mai! Welcome to Pūpū A ʻO ʻEwa Native Hawaiian Writing and Arts!
Meet the artist: Kai Markell
Ka Poʻe Kiaʻi
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