Kanaka Maoli protecting Mauna Kea send support to Ihumātao

By Regan Paranihi

Nearly two weeks on and the kia'i (watch) continues for Kanaka Maoli on Mauna Kea in Hawai'i who have been fighting to protect their sacred mauna from the construction of a giant telescope.

It's a struggle that has been ongoing for many years and is one that has been felt across the world by many indigenous communities.

Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawai'ian) Keonilei Lealifano says, "It's an attack on our land and sometimes we don't get riled up about it enough that this is our kupuna too. These are our ancestors."

At the base of Mauna Kea, support continues to grow for the indigenous Hawai'ian groups as people come from near and far to offer their backing.

"We have gone from thirty people to three thousand people in a matter of eleven days," says Pua Case, Kanaka Maoli.

Their strategy is to ensure that no machinery can make it past the blockade and that elders stand in unity to block access to the mountain.  

"I can feel the change and the shift that the ancestors, the elements, the mountain herself, the hills have said yes, we have made it to day eleven," says Case.

The Kanaka Maoli send their support to Ihumātao in thanks for the continual support they have received from Aotearoa. 

"All of our relatives in Aotearoa, you know how much you mean to us and I also know you have situations there too, you're standing for your own mountain and your own waterways, your own lifeways, we stand with you as well."

The Kanaka Maoli say they will continue to man the Mauna Kea access road until they are satisfied the telescope will not be built on the mauna.