InsurMOUNTable: The Conviction of the Mauna Kea Encampment

Sunday December 1, 2019

GLASS HALF FIL By: Naiia Lajoie In has been five long grueling months. Five months since the first arrests of 38 Kupuna (elders) were made in Puʻu Huluhulu, at the base of Mauna Kea. Five months of banging ceremonial drums in the beating sun. Five months of revering sacred grounds in the pouring rain. Five months of local and international news coverage, seemingly stagnant political chatter, and relentless native Hawaiians accumulating en masse to comprise the Kia‘i (protectors). Five months…and counting. It all began on July 15th 2019, the day construction was slated to recommence on the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) atop Mauna Kea – given the project had encountered numerous stops & starts since its inception in 2013. Mauna Kea had been shortlisted and eventually selected from several proposed locations for its stable, dry, and cold climate, as these characteristics are important for producing the clearest images. Mauna Kea is a million-year-old dormant volcano, the highest point in the state of Hawaii, and when measured from its underwater base to its peak 13,803 feet above sea level, it is the tallest mountain in world at over 33,000 feet. While these figures are as immense as they are impressive from a geological standpoint, the mauna is also considered a heiau (sacred site); its summit dubbed the “region of the gods” in Hawaiian mythology. This sacred regard for the mountain is not solely reserved for its ancient Hawaiian inhabitants; its cultural significance resonates today in those who feel the plight of those who Ku Kia‘i Mauna (guard the mountain). 34-year-old Camissa Hill, a Kamehameha Schools alum of Hawaiian, Chinese, and English descent working as a live event showrunner and TV producer in Los Angeles, California, is one such individual. The Bachelor of Fine Arts grad majoring in Acting...... Read more on Full Issue!

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