by KAYLA YASUDA
Is it worth it to obstruct sacred ground in order to obtain knowledge? One of Hawaii’s famous trademark is a dormant volcano called Mauna Kea. Measured from base to top this mountain is recorded as the tallest in the world. The name originally means “Sky Father” and from a cultural perspective remains a sacred place, including an altar overlooking the mountains. This summit is also known for 12 (soon to be 13) international observatories for the interest in astronomy. Each telescope is founded by a different nation: Japan, Netherlands, Taiwan, Brazil, Chile, and even Argentina. This site is primarily owned by the University of Hawaii and has invested a total of more than $2 billion.
An upcoming operation, funded by the University of California ,plans to build the world’s largest telescope to add to the summit. One problem; in order for this telescope to be created they have to dig up one of the most sacred places in Hawaii. They would literally have to dig up the bodies of Native Hawaiian ancestors to place an observatory on top. The altar would also be removed in the process.
Many opinions have surfaced through a variety of actions. Along the road to the top of Mauna Kea the construction was delayed due to the protesters blocking the road. A Hawaiian blessing ceremony was planned to be held to begin the multinational project but then later found out to be canceled. Buses for the project were required to turn back and continue the construction another day. Not only is there peaceful protesting in Hawaii, it has also shown up in California. Palo Alto has a numerous amount of groups rioting outside of the foundation funding the operation.
The bottom line is where the line should be. Is there an area where education and morality can intervene? Questions are still being unanswered but as far as the telescope goes the project is still scheduled to continue while protesters are still scheduled to protest.