Gov. Ige Faces Criticism as Tulsi Gabbard & Bernie Sanders Weigh in on TMT

We may not survive as a species if we don’t start listening to indigenous wisdom and respecting the environment. Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard were both vocal during the Standing Rock Dakota Access Pipeline standoff, so it should come as no surprise to see them weighing in on the current standoff over a telescope on a sacred mountain in Hawaii. Critics say that Governor Ige has abused his power by invoking an emergency proclamation. National Guard could be called in to break up a peaceful gathering of natives wishing to protect a place that has been held sacred to them for generations. It is rare when political leaders speak up for native issues and sacred sites so we must take note when they do.

“Trust must be earned — it is wrong that state leaders have approved the development of a new telescope on a new site on Mauna Kea, without first ensuring the timely removal of decommissioned facilities along with full restoration of those sites. This failure and a history of broken promises has resulted in the standoff that we are seeing today….” -Tulsi Gabbard

Capitalistic pursuits, rampant development, and resource extraction have become synonymous with politics and business but these forms of “progress” neglect the ancient practices of living in balance with nature. Governor Ige is pushing the interests of foreign investors and the University of Hawaii while neglecting the people he is sworn to represent and locals are not having it. In a rare expression from a presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard brings attention to both the history of broken promises but also the hypocrisy of the scientific community that is pushing for the telescope.

“This is about something much greater than the TMT project [Thirty Meter Telescope] — it has to do with longstanding history on Mauna Kea, broken promises, desecration of sacred land and disrespect for native culture. … It is hypocritical that many TMT proponents speak of their own spiritual quest for knowledge and wisdom, while simultaneously closing their eyes to the spiritual inspiration and significance that Mauna Kea offers — not only to Native Hawaiians but to humanity at large.” -Tulsi Gabbard

On Wednesday, July 17, Governor Ige issued an emergency proclamation in response to the peaceful gathering at the base of the Mauna Kea access road. These sorts of declarations are usually reserved for natural disasters and generally mean that the normal constitutional procedures can be suspended. In this case “emergency” is a subjective. The activists are unarmed and there has been no destruction of property.

This is a disturbing trend that we have been seeing across the country where lawmakers and politicians attempt to restrict or criminalize protests that would normally fall under citizens rights to peacefully assemble, to civil disobedience, and freedom of speech. What further complicates the situation in Hawaii are disputes over ceded land that originally belonged to the monarchy prior to the illegal overthrow by the United States in 1893 (). In 1993 the US Congress issued a statement signed by President Bill Clinton that has become known as the “Apology Resolution” which acknowledges the need for reconciliation and an honoring of Native Hawaiians.

Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled…

Whereas, the indigenous Hawaiian people never directly relinquished their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people or over their national lands to the United States, either through their monarchy or through a plebiscite or referendum;…

Whereas, the Republic of Hawaii also ceded 1,800,000 acres of crown, government and public lands of the Kingdom of Hawaii, without the consent of or compensation to the Native Hawaiian people of Hawaii or their sovereign government;…

The Congress…on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii on January 17, 1893, acknowledges the historical significance of this event which resulted in the suppression of the inherent sovereignty of the Native Hawaiian people; -Congressional Apology Resolution

Pualani Kanaka’ole Kanahele on the sacredness of Mauna Kea & Ka’ohe

As corporations and developers lobby politicians to represent their interests over the will of the people, we are likely to see continued protests and resistance. We have systems that value a forest when it is clear-cut and turned into lumber but no system that recognizes the inherent and irreplaceable wealth of a healthy, diverse forest teaming with wildlife. In addition to systemic changes, we will need representatives who can see beyond short-term gain, political favors, and the almighty dollar. Sanders and Gabbard are to be commended for their stance.

“Spiritual nourishment and inspiration is of much greater and lasting value than anything money can buy. It is this spiritual blindness often born out of arrogance or greed that is at the root of the desecration of our precious environment throughout the country and around the world.” -Tulsi Gabbard

Please take a moment to read my previous . Another great resource is You can also join over 125,000 people who have signed a petition in support of Native Hawaiians . This is not a battle between natives and science, this is more of a dispute about where the telescope is placed and the process of consultation.

“In response to epic protests around the country, state legislators in nearly 20 states proposed bills in 2017 that would restrict people’s right to protest. The ACLU fought back and many of the bills died or were amended to remove unconstitutional language. For those that passed, we’re hopeful that protestors will exercise their right to dissent and courts will prevent the use of these laws to unconstitutionally burden protest activity.”

As of the time of this article, Governor Ige has stated that he will not call in more National Guard Troops to disperse the encampment. Hawaii is a very special place with a wise and resilient people, it is the land of aloha. Indigenous wisdom from Hawaii recognizes that we are all interconnected, that we all share the same breath of life, that the land is sacred and the people are to be stewards who maintain the delicate balance of life.

It is rare to see political leaders embracing and advocating these values but not at all surprising that Hawaii is a focal point right now for this important discussion. Though we have a long history of injustices towards native people and their lands, we have an opportunity to work together to heal this history and build a better future. Each of us has a role to play in the future that is created through these current events. Inform yourself, be active, be respectful, lead with love and live aloha!



Cultural-Creative, Media-Maker, Dreamer, Musician. Technology, Art, Science, Health, Spirituality, Culture, Community, Environment. UNIFY Co-Founder

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Jacob Devaney

Cultural-Creative, Media-Maker, Dreamer, Musician. Technology, Art, Science, Health, Spirituality, Culture, Community, Environment. UNIFY Co-Founder