OHA approves resolution to advocate for health, safety of protectors
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is asking Governor David Ige to rescind his emergency proclamation for Mauna Kea. All nine trustees unanimously voted Thursday to approve a resolution that supports a proclamation retraction and allows OHA to advocate for the health and well being of demonstrators.
That includes releasing funds to provide supplies for protectors at the base of the summit.
Emotions ran high inside OHA's boardroom. The message from some trustees and testifiers, keep kia'i or protectors safe.
"The people are in alignment. They're asking us to align with them. It's not hard," said Trustee Dan Ahuna.
Demonstrators Thursday vowing to stay on the mauna for at least a decade to stop the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope and prevent the desecration of land.
"When we let that go where are we going to be as Hawaiians? Where is our identity? Is it in a telescope? Not for me," said Kumu Hula Mapuana de Silva.
Trustee Hulu Lindsey was among more than two-dozen kupuna arrested on the mountain last week. She says she plans to stand on the front lines again.
"I think the love that I saw, the aloha was so heartwarming and I thought to myself that's our people. That's what Hawaii is all about," said Trustee Lindsey.
OHA maintains it does not have a position on the TMT project. The agency is in current litigation with the University of Hawaii claiming the school mismanages the mountain.
During Thursday's meeting Trustee Keli'i Akina did point out not all Hawaiians are opposed to the telescope- stating it was important OHA recognize both sides.
"Many Native Hawaiians affirm the value of TMT for education, for culture, for the economy," said Trustee Akina.