Why I’m protesting UW’s desecration of Mauna Kea UW should be condemning, not taking part in this destruction

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This piece part of Imprint’s new partnership with the UW Indigenous Students Association

Mauna Kea is ancestral land that is culturally and spiritually sacred to Kanaka Maoli, Hawaiian peoples.

It’s considered the most sacred mountain of Kanaka Maoli culture and spirituality.

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) that is funded by a number of scientists and investors from the U.S., Canada, Japan, India, and China plans to destroy and desecrate Mauna Kea.
As a member of ACURA (Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy), UW, as well as a number of other Canadian Universities, are complicit and in support of this destructive project.

As a student UW, as well as an Indigenous woman, I have a responsibility to hold my university accountable for their actions and involvement that not only represent myself, other staff and students that attend UW, but also in actions that violate a number of articles in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
UNDRIP is very clear about the need for Indigenous consent before any projects, construction, or land use is to be done.

Kanaka Maoli have never given their consent to have the TMT built, and as it is their legal right to peacefully protest and not allow the destruction of their cultural and sacred sites, the occupying government in Hawai’i is forcefully arresting Hawaiian people and elders.
As a student at an ACURA university, I have a moral obligation to use my platform and privilege to call on my university and hold them accountable, just like every other student whose universities are also complicit members of ACURA.

As a university that advertises its Indigenization Strategy, there needs to be a strong stance against these violent acts of colonization and UW should be condemning further desecration of sacred ancestral lands.

As an Indigenous person in Canada I am no stranger to watching occupying governments and organizations use their power and privileges to disrupt and pollute land, water, animals, and Indigenous people all across Canada and the U.S.

We have seen this with Caledonia, Standing Rock, Wet’suwet’en, and every land defending protest before and will continue to see after Mauna Kea.

Non-Indigenous settlers have to understand and respect the land they are on, it is so important to be having conversations with Indigenous people and actually listening and following through.

Indigenous Nations across Canada and the U.S. have had their culture, spirituality, and homelands polluted and almost erased though violent acts of colonization.

I speak up because when Indigenous people across borders are fighting to protect their culture and their families from the colonization that is happening today, our allies stand with us and support us.

As an Indigenous student who cannot physically be there standing with Kanaka peoples, I do have the ability to take action and amplify their voices and make others aware so that they can do the same. I will use my voice to the best of my abilities to support my relations in Hawai’i.