Lā 171: ALOHA MAUNA KEA "...Mauna Kea Kuahiwi Kuha'o I Ka Malie" ("...Mauna Kea Standing Alone In The Calm)

Aloha Mauna Kea 'Ohana, near and far...

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After the Supreme Court hearing Kumu Paul and Debbie (Ward) had asked me to send out a message on behalf of the Mauna Kea Hui (MKHUI) to express our deepest Aloha for all who have stood and helped to bring this case to fruition throughout the years. It has been a long road, an intense journey that at times made us feel like all hope was lost. It is a journey not over yet as well! This is then a small pause in time to reflect upon all the good things and even some of the bad that have brought us all here--today as one!

I want to speak to and acknowledge all that has brought us together to this point and time, not only as a Hui and 'Ohana (family) but together as a Lahui (Nation). It is important to acknowledge that which has brought us all together first as individuals, who choose to come together and to act collectively (as Uncle Ku always reminds us). The Olelo Noeau above can be translated to reflect the power of standing alone (as an indiviual) while choosing to work collectively as one, in the spirit of true Aloha...to raise the standard of Aloha, for Justice in Hawai'i -our home and the world!

From our beginnings as protectors of the Mauna, there have been many on their your own journey for Mauna Kea; people who have stood without acknowledgement, without title, without credit. So it is to you all (and you know who you all are) that I dedicate my writing here. It is to you all that we as a Hui send out our deepest respect because you all heard the call of the Akua and you showed up!!!! Aloha and Mahalo to each of you!

Those who have taken a stand for the Mauna have taken it alone and for one reason – Aloha. So there are no person(s) per se to thank, there is only Goodwill of the people to acknowledge the bravery of all who stood for what they believe in! All who dared challenge the status quo, to lift the cloak and yolk of colonization, to face the oppression and oppressors with Aloha and Truth. The oppression for which I speak is found globally but also the specialized kind found here in Hawai'i and in some instances nowhere else in the world. I can only acknowledge all who have stood and continue to stand as we move into the next level of Aloha!

Where should I begin? How far back should I go? I considered just writing A FB post so it could be far reaching but one post could not possibly even begin to cover all these years of history. So I will try my best to summarize our story, which is not over by any means for sure, but this is an effort to reflect on the past so we can look to a better future.

Disclaimer: Any mistakes or oversights are mine and mine alone. Mahalo for your patience as this is a bit long but please stay with me. Mahalo for your time and Aloha!

NANA I KE KUMU--Let us look to the Source
A Sacred Mauna -- A Sacred Place

Mauna Kea standing alone in the infinite calm that is peace -- is our sanctuary, is our solace and our pathway to our Akua (Creator, Gods and Ancestors) for all time. It is our inspiration, vision and our higher selves and when we stand in its presence we are rendered speechless --muted by its majesty, beauty and greatness and we know that we must be truly... in the presence of the Akua!

We know we must bow our heads and our bodies in the deepest reverence as our hearts are laid open even before we have had a chance to think or to act -- we are rendered helpless in gaze of the Akua our hearts may hide nothing...and then we can but only Uwe (weep) for the Love we feel and admiration for Akua's greatness! We are at once humbled by the Akua's compassion and Great Aloha for us and for all of life --Creation! We are humbled that Akua may see us and may have compassion for us, but mostly we are humbled by the Aloha that is Akua!

As we linger in Sacred realms we are reminded of how we must act how we must behave ... in the sacred Aloha--a state of being, standing not passively but assuredly, steadfast in Aloha and truth. This is a truth not censored or used to hush others, but one that unleashes the true freedom (EA)--that frees us from falsehood and directs us to see and engage the highest Love and respect --even where we may disagree --because we know in the end our discernment can and will come from on high as we all stand alone in the infinite calm that is the Peace and Aloha!

Our Kupuna (Wise Elder) who were our teachers, when we ask them for guidance they instructed many of us of the Hui, that our job was only to walk lightly to stand in the Aloha, to move the Aloha and to be diligent in our walk to save our Mauna from further destruction.
They taught us that we are known not by our words but our actions--and that we must walk ever so softly until we are but a whisper. Only then can we open our hearts so we may hear the Akua! They taught us to see the magnificence of the 'Aina for which we walk. Look around and see all the beauty of the heavenly realms like the wai (water), the kinolau (divine manifestations) of the Akua and 'Aumakua, to acknowledge all that is around us of the kahelahela (great expanse) of space and Ka'awela (awesome radiance), and to let it illuminate our hearts, our minds and our walk for justice.

We miss them, our Kupuna who inspired us—we miss them in the body, we miss their grace on earth, and we will always cherish their memories. We feel them now in their most powerful way as our wise helpers in the heavens. We give thanks for our beloved elders...Mahalo and Aloha ... You are our beloved Kupuna!!!!

Let me take some time to recognize the amazing people of the Mauna Kea Family, without whom the TMT would have been built a long time ago!

We recognize the young people (Ku Kia'i Mauna Protectors across the Pae Aina) who have held their commitment and Aloha for the Mauna strong and sure for all these days and months. We thank you and honor you for all of the sacrifices you have made! We thank and honor you for your commitment and Deep Aloha.

Mahalo to all the people who have held vigil and prayers both on the Mauna and across the world for all these years. We thank you and honor your Aloha and vigilance!

Mahalo to all of the Kupuna who have held prayer for us since the beginning … whose children hold it for us all now.
Mahalo to those Kupuna living and those who have since past who set the Kapu Aloha for all to be safe! We honor you and will always Love you!!!

Mahalo to our Ali'i who have blessed us, stood by us for goodness and Aloha and shared their mana and who gave their support for the Mauna. We will always honor and Aloha you!!!!

Mahalo to the famous ones who heard the call and who chose to stand for goodness and Aloha, and have truly given their support for the Mauna. We honor you and Aloha you!

Mahalo to all the people who have cooked and fed the people for all these months and for all these years--making sure we all could eat, nourishing and strengthening us. We thank you and honor your Aloha!

Mahalo to all the people we never saw, but who tracked the issues and gave of their beautiful testimonies in support for Mauna Kea for all these years. We thank and honor you for your Aloha!

To all the people who gave their hard earned money so that we could focus on the legal and spiritual aspects of our work and out case. We give thanks and honor to you for your Aloha!

Mahalo to all the people who stood where they were for the Mauna for all these years with no recognition or acknowledgement and who made it possible for us to continue to fight and focus on the specific issues free from confusion. We honor and thank you for your Aloha!
Mahalo to all who never knew us but stood and held signs, banners and Aloha for the Mauna here at ahome and across the world. We honor and Mahalo you for your Aloha!

Mahalo to the people who made copies for us and helped us to scan and search the maddening paperwork and who also sat and helped us to navigate thousands of documents after the UH papered us hoping overwhelm us. We thank you and honor you for your Aloha!
Mahalo to you all who shared their 'Ike and dreams even when you might be called crazy. We thank you and honor you for your Aloha!
Mahalo to those who called to ask us how you could help us. We thank you and honor you for your Aloha!

To those people who watched and track the issue from afar and on the T.V., never even knowing us but still cheering us on, we honor and thank you for your Aloha!

Mahalo to the people who trusted us even when the opposition was trying to discredit anyone associated with us or supporting Mauna Kea in any way. We honor and thank you for your Aloha!

Mahalo to all the Nationals and to all who stand for our independence who stood also for the Mauna. We honor and thank you for your Aloha!

We thank and honor our lawyer Naiwi Wurderman for believing in us and for his love of Mauna Kea!

Mahalo to all of the people who remain our allies and who will continue to stand with us whether or not we win. We honor and thank you for your Aloha!

Mahalo to all who sing, dance and have created amazing things for the love of the Mauna! We honor and thank you for your Aloha!
Mahalo to those people who stayed up nights with us helping us to write our legal briefs! We honor and thank you for your Aloha!
Mahalo to those Mommas who gave of their time away from their babies to testify for the the Mauna. Mahalo for the Daddies who gave up their time with their children to Kokua the Mauna.We honor and thank you for your Aloha!

Mahalo to all of the students who stood even whenever it was not popular to do so –We honor and thank for your Aloha for the Mauna.
Mahalo to the people who gave up their jobs and other important aspects of their lives because they needed to stand for the Mauna.We honor and thank you for your Aloha!

Mahalo to the Indigenous Peoples from all over the World who have stood with us even during their own difficult and dangerous challenges. We honor and thank you for your Aloha!


Recently I was sent this old article from 2004 reporting on a Unity March. Wow a blast from the past and I was reminded of our Hui's long and arduous past that dates back to 1995. The Hui tends to considered its beginnings when Uncle Genesis Leeloy and Aunty Leina'ala Apiki McCord went to the University of Hawai'i meeting about the future of Mauna Kea and came back to told us it was time--time to stand firm for our Mauna!

See the Star-Bulletin article from 2004

After reviewing this article I was reminded to look back at our history and upon reflection I was reminded even of my own 'ike papalua (divine inspiration, vision) that compelled me to take my first step for the Mauna--that 'ike came as a resounding voice deep inside my heart, one night while working up there-and it it told me 'the path to the Akua must remain open.' Making me turn to support the long held position of Sierra Club that the Mauna Kea Access Road is a public road not to be closed or controlled by the UH (and back then it was the Institute for Astronomy or IFA).

It brought back memories of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I and their role in protecting Mauna Kea which began with Uncle Genesis Leeloy, Kumu Paul Neves (then Ali'i 'Ai Moku), Kaliko Kanaele and Kahu o Te Rangi and their hui of young and old men who worked to make all of the 'ahu and lele (ceremonial rock and wooden platforms used for receiving prayers and offerings (all but my personal family’s 'ahu)) that traverse the sacred lewa (realms) from the sea to the summit at Wekiu (the summit cinder cone)) and that are still used in our ceremonies today. They built these ceremonial places to uphold the sacred spaces for the people to come to to pay respect to the Akua. Marking a long collaboration with both Sierra Club and the Royal Order of Kamehameha I.

As I write I realize that I'm writing on the anniversary of 9/11 which is also the anniversary of the signing of the Ku`e Petition (1897) and also the complition of what has become known as the "Temple Report (2001)" created by Mauna Kea Anaina Hou and the Royal Order of Kamehameha I. The Temple report was presented to BLNR, key lawmakers, Keck Observatory and NASA officials (NOTE back then we were fighting them in court) and many others.

The Temple report was to help bring balance and restore harmony to Mauna Kea. We were inspired to set forth three things that must happen on Mauna Kea to restore pono (righteousness): 1. No Further Development (that means no TMT) 2. An independent Management Authority must be created to remove the UH from their poor management of Mauna Kea 3. The observatories must pay lease rent pursuant to the laws governing the so-called Ceded Lands.

This report was written nearly 15 years ago and while most of it is antiquated, as laws have since changed --the three points remain the That was also after our first contested case hearing (CCH) against the NASA/Keck Outriggers Telescopes Project (NASA's proposal to build 6 more telescopes). In fact, this last CCH is when KAHEA and the Flores-Case 'Ohana joined the fray, and it was the third CCH that Paul, Debbie, Ku and I have had to engage in.

Of course, it certainly may not be the last -- for sure! Just as an aside, that is also why we still need to raise funds for our Mauna Kea Legal Defense Fund housed at KAHEA.org. E kala mai for the commercials interruption –lol! But honestly, it's been hard to read online that people are saying we don't need funding. So I thought it best to clarify.

But to understand the importance of this timeline, Can we look back and see is there anything different? Or is it all the same elements that come into play here and now. Let us look with eyes of Aloha for true freedom.

Back then there were people of goodwill who never sought the limelight but showed up to testify at every hearing, that wrote and wrote and wrote testimony after testimony at every opportunity, and they did this for years. They did this with no social media as we know today, often they wrote by hand and not on computers.

Back then there were thousands who marched in red shirts and stood for truth and justice for Hawai'i and the world! There were large coalitions of Native Hawaiians and environmentalists that came together for all of the issues including Pohakualoa, Striker Brigade, Mauna Kea, etc…. There were hundreds that turned out to testify for Mauna Kea. In one instance, the BLNR had to stay in Hilo until 2:30 in the morning so all could be heard. That was in their better days for sure!

Most importantly, however, this article reminds us of things that have not changed. There are still attempts by the opposition to remain in power and to maintain the status quo so that whenever we rise up there are forces that work hard to divide us. It always looks good and may even feel good temporarily but word of caution --as my Aunty Kamaka used to say, “What can't create can only confuse, so when you feel confused aka-hele” (Be Aware).

In the article there were some people defending Federal Recognition with Kau Inoa just as there are today; only there are new names, like Nai Aupuni, etc. Here again slogans and slight of hand tactics can't truly move people because over time all truth comes out. The old paradiam where we get sucked into fighting amounst ourselves thus pushing us off our path, is insistant as it fights to stay alive —but really is this the best game in town? Has nothing changed … were the sacrifices made for all these years and all the brave efforts of the people and Protectors in recent days just a backdrop for us to just repeat the past?

I don't believe the kahea was a call to do the same things over again it was a call for change. I am reminded of the strength and resilience of our people. That strength that our Kupuna had and we have too. It is our diversity that makes us strong, flexible and able to survive the affronts to our being, our bodies and our spirits under the pressure of the oppressor.

In the Mauna Kea story there are glaring examples of the many tests and challenges that we all have had to face not only alone but also collectively as a people. Yet we are still standing. I am compelled then to defend what is true and has been true all along that being to affirm the Aloha and Goodwill of the people and their love for the 'Aina! For here there is true Unity.

The people marched for Unity in the past and they march for Unity today. They stood for truth and justice in the past and they stand for it today. The power we are called to see is not what the oppressor will beg, borrow, or steal inorder to maintain power over us. True power is found in the goodwill and Aloha. Akua's love moves us...the love found in the hearts of our people... the love that continues and is codified in the 'Aina and which cannot be sold. That is the real power!

Of course the trick to recognizing real power requires us to remember the colonial tricks and the art of illusion making us believe what we see is real and that hides the true path by trickery. We are free when we remember to follow our hears which can feel even what cannot be seen.
I pray Akua will guide us to find our best path and I know we have seen it in the Heavens. We affirm Mauna Kea belongs to no one --it belongs not to us (Hawaiians), not to the State and definitely not to OHA. It belongs to the Akua! They who have inspired us and keep us strong and steadfast! We waited many years to stand before the Supreme Court, not because we place our fate in the hands of Judges, but rather in the hands of Justice. Our Justice is the Justice that belongs to the heavenly Realms not just in a courtroom!

The Court marks one step in time and we move with Aloha in our hearts – recognizing that it is greatest force in the Universe – may we be transformed in righteousness and Aloha!

Aloha Ke Akua, Na Akua and Na Aumakua and Aloha Mauna Kea!!!
Eo Ea!!!

In Aloha I remain,
Kealoha Pisciotta
Mauna Kea Anaina Hou

Photo Kuʻuipo Freitas