Submission by Kealoha Pisciotta
Received 19 April 2002
Native Hawaiian, USA
230 Lyman Avenue
Hilo, Hawai`i 96720
My name is Kealoha Pisciotta. I am a Native Hawaiian writing in my
capacity as President of the Native Hawaiian organization Mauna Kea Anaina
Hou. I am also writing on behalf of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, 'Ilio
'ulaokalani Coalition, KAHEA: The Native Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance,
and Na Koa Ikaika o Ka Lahui Hawai'i.
Mauna Kea Anaina Hou is a Native Hawaiian
organization comprised of cultural and lineal descendants, and
traditional, spiritual and religious practitioners of the sacred
traditions of Mauna Kea.
The Royal Order of Kamehameha I was created
137 years ago by King Kamehameha V and led from 1902 by Prince Jonah Kuhio
Kalaniana 'ole to maintain and protect the protocol of the Hawaiian
Kingdom and infuse patriotism and loyalty to the Kingdom. It is comprised
of the hereditary Chiefs and Chiefs by deed of the Kingdom of Hawai'i.
'Ilio 'ulaokalani Coalition is a Native
Hawaiian organization comprised of those that maintain and protect the
sacred dance (hula),song and oral traditions and advocate for the
protection of Native Hawaiian gathering and access rights.
KAHEA: The Native Hawaiian-Environmental
Alliance, is comprised of cultural practitioners, environmentalists and
others concerned with protecting traditional and customary rights and our
No Koa Ikaika o Ka Lahui Hawai'i is an NGO
created to help promote Self- Determination and to protect the Human and
Civil Rights of the Native Hawaiian Peoples.
We are writing to share our story of how our
Sacred Mountain-Mauna Kea-one of the Native Hawaiian Peoples most sacred
Wahi Pana (sacred places), and the place of our origins, continues to be
occupied, desecrated, and destroyed by some of the richest and largest
nations in the world, in violation of international law, traditional and
customary rights and U.S. domestic laws meant to protect human, civil, and
cultural rights and the delicate environment.
Mauna Kea, is one of two great mountains located on Hawai`i's largest
island of the archipelago. It summit rises out from the depths of the vast
Pacific ocean reaching approximately 14,000 feet in elevation. It is
considered the highest place on earth when measured from the ocean floor.
Because of Mauna Kea's pristine and rarified atmosphere, it has become a
highly sought after location for doing world class astronomy and military
research. Indeed it is the world's premiere astronomy site and hosts the
world's largest and most advanced astronomical facilities.
The countries that currently occupy the sacred Mauna Kea include but are
not limited to the United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada,
France, Netherlands, Australia, Italy and Japan. These nations all hold
treaties of mutual friendship, recognition, peace, trade and commerce with
the Hawaiian Kingdom.
In 1893, several U.S. American businessmen living in the Hawaiian Kingdom
with the assistance of the military forces of the United States of America
and took over our homeland, later imprisoning our Queen. Thus began the
109 years of occupation of our Kingdom by the United States of America.
The United States of America maintains our political status as "wards" of
the State of Hawai`i. We are currently not recognized by the Federal
Government and therefore are not afforded even minimum protections
provided under domestic law, and further, we have been denied by the U.S.
Congress the 'collective' rights to seek judicial remedy for any
abridgements against Native Hawaiians. The Indigenous Peoples of Hawai`i
remain in political limbo with our nation occupied and not protected under
domestic policy thus denied access to our resources, traditional and
national lands, and trusts.
(N.B. For more information regarding the legal history of this
occupation please see the full Memorial and accompanying Pleadings --Lance
Paul Larsen vs the Hawaiian Kingdom filed at the Permanent Court of
Arbitration at the Hague at --
See also the Intervention of Ka Lahui Hawai`i to the 54th Session of
the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Agenda Item #7-The Rights
of Peoples toSelf-Determination and its application to peoples under
colonial or alien domination-March 16-24, 1998, Geneva, Switzerland.
The summit of Mauna Kea represents many things to the Indigenous Peoples
of Hawai'i, the upper regions of Mauna Kea reside in the realm of Creator.
Therefore, Mauna Kea in every respect represents the zenith of the Native
Hawaiian Peoples ancestral ties to Creator and Creation. This cosmology
pre-dates modern science by millennia.
"Some just look up and see a mountain…but
for the Hawaiians, it's like building a McDonald's at Stonehenge." Ira S.
Rohter, Associate Professor of Political Science - University of Hawai'i
The Mauna Kea issue has been a long and
emotionally charged controversy, for over 30 years. This is so because,
throughout the deliberations, some very basic fundamental rights have been
ignored and abridged, the right to freedom of religion, the right to
continue our worship in the Temple of our Creator, and the right to have a
spiritual relationship with the land of our birth.
From the Native Hawaiian perspective, the issue is of a religious and
spiritual nature. Although Mauna Kea is not a typical house of worship by
dominant cultural standards, it is, in our cultural understanding and
cosmology, a temple of the highest order.
Mauna Kea is also the burial ground of our highest born and most sacred
ancestors and the home to some of the most rare and endangered species in
the world. One bug species of Mauna Kea has been reduced by 99.7%.
According to the Kumulipo (Hawaiian Chant of Creation), before man was
created all other living things were created, when the process of Creation
was complete, the gods too were complete and walked the earth with man. It
is believed that all living things no matter how big or small have purpose
and make complete the whole. When a living thing ceases to exist, the
process of creation is unbalanced and begins to unravel.
Hawai'i has been characterized as "the Endangered Species Capitol of the
World." There is no compensation for desecration and extinction is
Mauna Kea is also the principle aquifer for Hawai`i Island. Yet for the
last 30 years human and hazardous and toxic waste created by the
observatories have been introduced into the ground and possibly into our
aquifer. There have been numerous toxic spills including four (4)
documented spills involving elemental mercury.
The International Governments operating on Mauna Kea never assessed,
consulted or asked to use the sacred lands, and therefore the impacts of
building gigantic structures in the sacred temple of the Native Hawaiian
peoples was never considered.
There are tremendous U.S. Federal dollars spent that support the
construction and operations of many of the observatory facilities, yet no
Federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to U.S. Federal law
has ever been conducted on Mauna Kea. A lawsuit and an administrative
appeal against the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),
State of Hawai`i and the University have been filed and are pending.
Despite the fact that U.S. Science agencies such the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration (NASA) have large annual budgets ($12-14 billion
dollars) the U.S. and other governments offer a token $1.00 U.S. per annum
to the University of Hawai`i as rental payment.
Under the current development plan for the summit of Mauna Kea, as many as
40 new telescopes and support structures can be added to the already
existing 34 telescopes and support structures, bringing, the total number
of structures atop Mauna Kea to 74. We are not in support of further
development on Mauna Kea.
We have worked for many years with all agencies of the Nation-State of the
U.S.A. to find a balance between the needs of the astronomy community, and
mutual respect, and protection of the rare and delicate cultural and
natural resources of our Temple, Mauna Kea. We have sought peaceful
solutions and have worked to resolve the issue without violence or
litigation. However the September 11 tragedy issued extreme military
expansion on and around our Temple which has begun to cause great fear and
concern for the success of our deliberations, and general alarm over the
build up of occupying forces. The situation is reaching a very critical
Currently there are only 6,000 pure blooded Indigenous Peoples of Hawai`i;
according to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, by the year 2040 there
will be no more pure blooded Indigenous Peoples of Hawai`i left in the
world. We too are under threat of extinction, for the land and the people
We thank you very much for your time and consideration of our situation.
In Aloha we remain,
For more information regarding this situation please see Mauna Kea issue
Mauna Kea -- The Temple
Mauna Kea -- The Temple