Submission by Kealoha Pisciotta
Received 19 April 2002

Native Hawaiian, USA
230 Lyman Avenue
Hilo, Hawai`i 96720
(808) 934-7668

My name is Kealoha Pisciotta. I am a Native Hawaiian writing in my capacity as President of the Native Hawaiian organization Mauna Kea Anaina Hou. I am also writing on behalf of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, 'Ilio 'ulaokalani Coalition, KAHEA: The Native Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, and Na Koa Ikaika o Ka Lahui Hawai'i.

  • Mauna Kea Anaina Hou is a Native Hawaiian organization comprised of cultural and lineal descendants, and traditional, spiritual and religious practitioners of the sacred traditions of Mauna Kea.

  • The Royal Order of Kamehameha I was created 137 years ago by King Kamehameha V and led from 1902 by Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana 'ole to maintain and protect the protocol of the Hawaiian Kingdom and infuse patriotism and loyalty to the Kingdom. It is comprised of the hereditary Chiefs and Chiefs by deed of the Kingdom of Hawai'i.

  • 'Ilio 'ulaokalani Coalition is a Native Hawaiian organization comprised of those that maintain and protect the sacred dance (hula),song and oral traditions and advocate for the protection of Native Hawaiian gathering and access rights.

  • KAHEA: The Native Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, is comprised of cultural practitioners, environmentalists and others concerned with protecting traditional and customary rights and our fragile environment.

  • No Koa Ikaika o Ka Lahui Hawai'i is an NGO created to help promote Self- Determination and to protect the Human and Civil Rights of the Native Hawaiian Peoples.

We are writing to share our story of how our Sacred Mountain-Mauna Kea-one of the Native Hawaiian Peoples most sacred Wahi Pana (sacred places), and the place of our origins, continues to be occupied, desecrated, and destroyed by some of the richest and largest nations in the world, in violation of international law, traditional and customary rights and U.S. domestic laws meant to protect human, civil, and cultural rights and the delicate environment.

Mauna Kea, is one of two great mountains located on Hawai`i's largest island of the archipelago. It summit rises out from the depths of the vast Pacific ocean reaching approximately 14,000 feet in elevation. It is considered the highest place on earth when measured from the ocean floor.

Because of Mauna Kea's pristine and rarified atmosphere, it has become a highly sought after location for doing world class astronomy and military research. Indeed it is the world's premiere astronomy site and hosts the world's largest and most advanced astronomical facilities.

The countries that currently occupy the sacred Mauna Kea include but are not limited to the United States of America, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Netherlands, Australia, Italy and Japan. These nations all hold treaties of mutual friendship, recognition, peace, trade and commerce with the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Brief Background
In 1893, several U.S. American businessmen living in the Hawaiian Kingdom with the assistance of the military forces of the United States of America and took over our homeland, later imprisoning our Queen. Thus began the 109 years of occupation of our Kingdom by the United States of America.

The United States of America maintains our political status as "wards" of the State of Hawai`i. We are currently not recognized by the Federal Government and therefore are not afforded even minimum protections provided under domestic law, and further, we have been denied by the U.S. Congress the 'collective' rights to seek judicial remedy for any abridgements against Native Hawaiians. The Indigenous Peoples of Hawai`i remain in political limbo with our nation occupied and not protected under domestic policy thus denied access to our resources, traditional and national lands, and trusts.

(N.B. For more information regarding the legal history of this occupation please see the full Memorial and accompanying Pleadings --Lance Paul Larsen vs the Hawaiian Kingdom filed at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague at --  )

See also the Intervention of Ka Lahui Hawai`i to the 54th Session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights Agenda Item #7-The Rights of Peoples toSelf-Determination and its application to peoples under colonial or alien domination-March 16-24, 1998, Geneva, Switzerland.

The summit of Mauna Kea represents many things to the Indigenous Peoples of Hawai'i, the upper regions of Mauna Kea reside in the realm of Creator. Therefore, Mauna Kea in every respect represents the zenith of the Native Hawaiian Peoples ancestral ties to Creator and Creation. This cosmology pre-dates modern science by millennia.

"Some just look up and see a mountain…but for the Hawaiians, it's like building a McDonald's at Stonehenge." Ira S. Rohter, Associate Professor of Political Science - University of Hawai'i at Manoa

The Mauna Kea issue has been a long and emotionally charged controversy, for over 30 years. This is so because, throughout the deliberations, some very basic fundamental rights have been ignored and abridged, the right to freedom of religion, the right to continue our worship in the Temple of our Creator, and the right to have a spiritual relationship with the land of our birth.

From the Native Hawaiian perspective, the issue is of a religious and spiritual nature. Although Mauna Kea is not a typical house of worship by dominant cultural standards, it is, in our cultural understanding and cosmology, a temple of the highest order.

Mauna Kea is also the burial ground of our highest born and most sacred ancestors and the home to some of the most rare and endangered species in the world. One bug species of Mauna Kea has been reduced by 99.7%. According to the Kumulipo (Hawaiian Chant of Creation), before man was created all other living things were created, when the process of Creation was complete, the gods too were complete and walked the earth with man. It is believed that all living things no matter how big or small have purpose and make complete the whole. When a living thing ceases to exist, the process of creation is unbalanced and begins to unravel.

Hawai'i has been characterized as "the Endangered Species Capitol of the World." There is no compensation for desecration and extinction is forever.

Mauna Kea is also the principle aquifer for Hawai`i Island. Yet for the last 30 years human and hazardous and toxic waste created by the observatories have been introduced into the ground and possibly into our aquifer. There have been numerous toxic spills including four (4) documented spills involving elemental mercury.

The International Governments operating on Mauna Kea never assessed, consulted or asked to use the sacred lands, and therefore the impacts of building gigantic structures in the sacred temple of the Native Hawaiian peoples was never considered.

There are tremendous U.S. Federal dollars spent that support the construction and operations of many of the observatory facilities, yet no Federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pursuant to U.S. Federal law has ever been conducted on Mauna Kea. A lawsuit and an administrative appeal against the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), State of Hawai`i and the University have been filed and are pending.

Despite the fact that U.S. Science agencies such the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have large annual budgets ($12-14 billion dollars) the U.S. and other governments offer a token $1.00 U.S. per annum to the University of Hawai`i as rental payment.

Under the current development plan for the summit of Mauna Kea, as many as 40 new telescopes and support structures can be added to the already existing 34 telescopes and support structures, bringing, the total number of structures atop Mauna Kea to 74. We are not in support of further development on Mauna Kea.

We have worked for many years with all agencies of the Nation-State of the U.S.A. to find a balance between the needs of the astronomy community, and mutual respect, and protection of the rare and delicate cultural and natural resources of our Temple, Mauna Kea. We have sought peaceful solutions and have worked to resolve the issue without violence or litigation. However the September 11 tragedy issued extreme military expansion on and around our Temple which has begun to cause great fear and concern for the success of our deliberations, and general alarm over the build up of occupying forces. The situation is reaching a very critical level.

Currently there are only 6,000 pure blooded Indigenous Peoples of Hawai`i; according to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, by the year 2040 there will be no more pure blooded Indigenous Peoples of Hawai`i left in the world. We too are under threat of extinction, for the land and the people are one.

We thank you very much for your time and consideration of our situation.

In Aloha we remain,

For more information regarding this situation please see Mauna Kea issue at

Mauna Kea -- The Temple

Mauna Kea -- The Temple



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