This project began on the afternoon of 15 July, 2019; a week after the state of Hawai‘i authorized the University of Hawai‘i to begin construction of its proposed Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT). With our thoughts on colleagues, friends, and family whom have gone to Mauna Kea, we discussed the affair back here at Mānoa campus. We lamented the fact that the state’s actions compelled our community to stand bravely in solidarity against desecrators of sacred land and the grave injustices done to Hawai‘i and the university. If there was any bright spot in all of this, we decided, it was the outpouring of protest from Hawai‘i residents and beyond. It reminded us of the wave of anti-annexation petitions that swept through Hawai‘i over a century ago, among other moments in history when Hawai‘i stood for its protection.
The support that arose especially over the last week from our community to support kia‘i, educate the public, and provide resources for one another was as inspiring as it was overwhelming, and came in manifold forms: written social media posts, hashtags, infographics, song and dance, videos, etc. What a shame, we thought, if all of this were eventually lost and drowned out in the minutiae of mainstream news, in uninformed opinion, and even in hateful comments that belittle our community and our treasured allies.
It was decided then that the Hawai‘i Review, being in a good position to do so, would collect as much as possible this formidable and vociferous protest. Thus was born this forthcoming archive.
Two days later police began arresting kūpuna kia‘i on Mauna Kea. A protest demonstration was held that morning on the great lawn of the Mānoa campus. Kumu and kūpuna spoke passionately and directly to UH President David Lassner, the latter of whose soft-spoken response did nothing but to brush aside hundreds of Native Hawaiians and university community members before leaving us again without a significant gesture. Hours later, 33 other kia‘i were arrested at Mauna Kea.
Later that day, Governor David Ige issued an emergency proclamation citing an unfounded concern for public safety that gave the state sweeping powers—and free from impunity—to deploy a militarized mass against an unarmed, peaceful assembly. As many have pointed out, this mirrors the reasoning and method used in 1897 by the teacherous Citizen’s Committee of Public Safety to overthrow the sovereign government of Hawai‘i in preparation for annexation by the United States.
Within days of the July 15 standoff at Mauna Kea, protests swelled first on O‘ahu at the Mānoa campus and eventually to include the state capital, the islands of Maui, Moloka‘i, and Kaua‘i, elsewhere in the Pacific including Tahiti, the Marshall Islands, Palau, and Aotearoa; on the US continent in Las Vegas, New York City, California, Colorado, and Alaska. Kia‘i were cheered on as well from German and Japanese supporters. Politicians, celebrities, as well as supporters from also spoke up for the movement and even visited the Mauna to clear up the inaccuracies reported by the state. The protests attracted international attention with news outlets reporting from Europe and South America. Ka leo nui o nā kia‘i o ka Mauna verily shook the earth.
Over the past week, this compilation effort grew from hundreds to thousands of items which we intend to sort, annotate, and archive for future research and recollection. And though it is centered around what is an undoubted hewa on the righteousness and integrity of our ‘āina, aloha foregrounds and exemplifies this collection. Whatever the outcome, it is our sincerest hope that this document serves to remind us of the mana and potential that binds our community to stand steadfast against forces which seek to take and silence.
The breadth and depth of this archive is expansive, but it is by no means complete at any time. This is meant to be an ongoing and living archive and corrections or clarifications are encouraged and welcome. This compilation is also limited to the network and resources available to our current editorial board and contributing collaborators, and we welcome new additions.
Owing to our concern for the privacy and safety of those involved in this compilation, we are doing as much as we can to seek the permission of prospective contributors to include their work as well as to offer anonymity for reasons which we will not question. Nonetheless, we, the editors, affirm and guarantee that all of the material presented here is original and authentic. If any editing has been made to written content, they are indicated by brackets and are done mainly for clarification. This project is also non-profit, and we are not currently planning a saleable version of this archive unless all of its proceeds may equitably benefit the community.
We are continuing to collect and are currently sorting through over a thousand social media posts, beautiful photographs and infographics, dozens of videos and audio recordings, and are compiling an annotated bibliography of hundreds of local and international news reports that have covered this event. We have also compiled a list of supporting organizations, locations of supporting protests around the world, and just about any other aspect of this event that we are trying to keep from disappearing. Our intent is to credit all original producers of the words and works we seek to compile here. This would speak highly of the monumental and collaborative phenomenon that kia‘i have inspired over the past few years.
Please contact us if you have any thoughts or contributions to this project, otherwise we will be reaching out to the community in the coming days.
Kū Kia‘i Mauna!