Maui Cultural Lands Testimony

Maui Cultural Lands, Inc.
1087-A Pookela Road
Makawao, Hi 96568

It is with great concern that many of us Kanaka Maoli are compelled to give testimony against a project that is so destructive to the well being of the Hawaiian culture and its sacred sites. The building of the solar telescope needs to be addressed at four levels: legal, physical, political, and cultural.

Through executive order by the late Governor Quinn, the University of Hawaii was given control to develop a science city on our sacred mountain sites. However, your project proposal goes counter to the many federal, state and county laws:

  • Hawaiian Admissions Act, Public law 8603, 73 stat. 4(f) The betterment of the conditions of Native Hawaiians.
  • Hawaii State Constitution, Art. XI sect. 1, protect Natural cultural and Religious resources.
  • US Constitution First Amendment Religious Freedom. Native Hawaiian Religious Practitioners’ rights will be violated.
  • Federal Law, Endangered species and Habitat Act.
  • EPA hazardous materials act
  • County ordinances concerning community plans.
  • Failure for the University of Hawaii to develop a comprehensive use plan where the public is able to give input.

While this may just be the beginning, other laws and legal problems may surface as more people become aware of what is happening on Haleakalā. To ignore or to try mitigation proposals of these laws of the land weakens the fabric of those values we hold close to our state and national foundations.

The physical and environmental make up of Haleakalā is among the most unique in the world. Endangered and threatened endemic plants, insects, animals, and habitat cannot be successfully mitigated once excavations of many pylons going down into the bowels of this dormant volcano 20-40 feet deep. Excavations now and in the past have always encouraged invasive species to take hold. To proceed with your project would contribute to the destruction of our native ecosystems that have already started at the base and the solar telescope would destroy our natural treasures form the summit.

The National Historic and Preservation Act, while a legal requirement, falls more into the politics of getting away with your project needs instead of doing what the community demands to be the correct path. In spite of Sect. 106, mitigate, minimize or avoidance, all the testimony against a project given by the host culture may be ignored. Other politically motivated reasons to support this telescope may be unethical because of future contractual agreements. One hundred seventy five million dollars worth of contracts will attract many “friends” and supporters. The love of money supersedes ethical behavior.

Many indigenous cultures throughout the world recognize many works of nature as sacred. When a culture depends on these natural wonders of their environment for survival and reverence communications to a power higher than themselves, all care must be given to this practice. Haleakalā is noted throughout Polynesia as one of a most sacred area. There are stories, legends, events, but most importantly, prayers by generations of Kahunas. As many visitors can testify there is a life force within these rocks that have influenced their lives. For the National Science Foundation, and scientists to belittle this belief, they unknowingly contribute to the genocidal practice of wiping out the people of Aloha.

In conclusion, do NOT minimize the host culture of these islands, to do so would be unworthy for you to study the sun.

Respectfully submitted,

Edwin R.N. Lindsey Jr.
President, Maui Cultural Lands, Inc.
Board Member, Kila Kila O Haleakalā