“Kahoʻolawe, Geothermal and the revitalization of our Hawaiian language,” says Hāwane Rios, an Aloha ʻĀina member of Maunakea as she reminisces on the long history of battles our kūpuna, or our ancestors had before their very own on Maunakea. “These were all battles that our kūpuna faced and are what moved them to turn to their land, their water and their ocean.”
Now a new line of warriors have been pushed to the front of this ongoing fight, this time focusing their ancestral knowledge and strategies against the construction of a telescope on top of Maunakea.
This new wave of aloha ʻāina understands that aloha is key for standing at the tip of the spear as leaders for the next generations. They hope to be active participants in future decision making processes that deal with the land and Hawaiian culture.
“We are going to remain steadfast in the old saying, and we are going to put on our malo and sharpen our spears. For us, that spear is our intelligence,” says Kahoʻokahi Kanuha, a fellow Aloha ʻĀina of Maunakea. “Our force grows stronger because we have love for the land and the mountain. We have an understanding of the truth and faith in the words and work of our ancestors. When we lose that, we will lose momentum.”
It is through this generation and this movement that the work of their ancestors live on.
“I’ve started this documentation of aloha ʻāina and kū kiaʻi mauna who have come up to Maunakea in support of our efforts,” says Aloha ʻĀina, Kuʻuipo Freitas. “This isn’t just for Hawaiians anymore either, people around the world, from New Zealand and California will be able to trace their name back to this day too.”
“We all have um, Tahitian and relatives and blood lines and so we um, put the call out to some drummers and it was just a matter of us wanting to bring again that that aloha from Tahiti, from Rarotonga, from Laʻie, um and also from Kona and La Mer, we wanted to bring that, to, to the mauna,” says supporter, Jon Mariteragi on behalf of his ʻohana.
“I’m here to stand in solidarity with kanaka maoli and their pursuit for sovereignty and also to protect their ʻāina because we have similar struggles with our government and private industries as well,” says Lindsey Theodore Morin from the Heiltsuk Nation in British Columbia.
“This is such a beautiful turning point in history and an awakening,” says Hāwane. “The next generation will look back to this day and grow from our strengths just as we have done as we have built on the work of our ancestors.”