Lā 131: We Are Protectors not Protesters! Ea mai Hawaiʻi!

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Hilo Airport 1978 and Mauna a Wakea by Moanike’ala Akaka

Once again there is the threat of the National Guard being called out against Native Hawaiians as happened at the Hilo Airport runway, Labor Day 1978. This time the threat is toward Protectors of our sacred Mauna a Wakea. At the Hilo airport runway we were the “Landlords come to collect the rent,” on behalf of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands. The National Guard at the runway lined up batons in hand ready to strike! I later saw photos of Guardsmen standing with rifles raised. Several of our keiki were there with us kept behind for safety. Although fifty-four “rent collectors” plus nine news people were arrested, thank the gods no one was hurt; it could have turned out tragically. Charges were later dropped. At the end, some police and guardsmen held hands and joined us in prayer. Ka’u and Kohala National Guardsmen at that time stated they will never again come out if called against Kanaka Maoli fighting for Justice. 

Judge Shunichi Kimura later ruled that not only were the Hilo Waimea and Molokai’i airports illegally taken by former Governor William Quinn, but that past territorial governors since the thirties had improperly seized DHHL aina. This indicates the calloused, presumptuous attitude toward Hawaiians and Native rights since the Overthrow of 1893. The Territorial Government apparently thought that no Hawaiian would dare challenge their authority. As a result of the Hilo Airport action six hundred million dollars at thirty million dollars a year for the past twenty years has been collected by DHHL from the State. We native Hawaiians should not have to risk our lives in order to obtain Justice.

Now there is talk of preparation for the National Guard to be deployed to Mauna a Wakea -- this tme against Protectors of the Mauna who practice Kapu Aloha . It should be known that there have been gross negative exaggerations about the behavior of TMT opponents -- of course to tarnish our reputation. We also hear from inside sources on the mountain that a special police task force from O’ahu will be sent to the Mountain with intent to use teargas. We are on the Mauna to stop the desecration and its degradation in the spirit of Aloha Aina. Must we face tear gas? This is an outrage to the Aloha Spirit our people have shared with the world.

To add insult to injury, Friday July 18, 2015, TV Hawaii News Now showed Facebook of Jason Redulla, acting head of DLNR law enforcement at Mauna a Wakea with a picture of an R-15 Assault Rifle with scene and quote from the movie Scarface --” say hello to my little friend,” as the crazed actor begins shooting up the place in a killing spree. Although Redulla and DLNR head Susan Case apologized for the Facebook display, what does this say of his mentality and attitude? Redulla should be fired. We fear he would be dangerous against us advocates of preserving the sacred site. Yes, tensions are high and we Protectors have a responsibility to be concerned. Health and safety have always been our top priority, be it Kalama Valley, Kaho’olawe, Hilo Airport or Mauna a Wakea over the past forty-five years. Tear gassing the Natives would not look good for tourism in the land of Aloha.

Ua mau ke Ea o Ka Aina i ka Pono

Photo darrenmillerphotography.com