Palikapu Dedman speaks against geothermal and its impact on his religion

Palikapu Dedman speaks against geothermal and its impact on his religion

PAHOA, Hawaii – Palikapu Dedman, an outspoken opponent of geothermal industry and leader of the Pele Defense Fund, spoke at the end of Saturday’s “Save Pohoiki” informational meeting at the Akebono Theater in Pahoa, and his speech may have stolen the show.

It was an angry, 25 minute talk by a Hawaiian man who says he is tired of the geothermal discussion always missing his primary concern: It is in direct conflict with his religion. Dedman says drilling into Tutu Pele, the sacred volcano deity of Hawaiian culture, is like rape. “There is no good rape!” he shouted, saying that religion should be the number one priority for all groups who oppose geothermal. The science of it should come second, he says.

Dedman grew emotional talking about fighting in Vietnam “for everyone else’s religion” only to return home to find his religion was “never acknowledged”.

His speech often migrated to uncomfortable topics like racism in Hawaii, and he did not speak in glowing terms of the environmentalists and politicians with whom he shared the stage on Saturday.

He even had harsh words for his own Hawaiian people, many of whom support the use of Tutu Pele’s resource, considering it a gift for the people. “Just want you to know,” Dedman said, “not all Hawaiians sold out.”

Be warned that this video contains remarks so blunt that they could be considered offensive to some viewers. Discretion is advised.

Palikpau Dedman also mentioned the disparity of Native Hawaiian incarceration rates in Hawaii. This past week, the board of Ohana Ho’opakele – an organization which seeks to initiate a Hawaiian holistic alternative to prisons – elected Dedman as their new President. In a Facebook message, Ohana Ho’opakele wrote:

Palikapu Dedman brings with his strong leadership qualities to the board of Ohana Ho`opakele. He is the long-serving President of the Pele Defense Fund which has fought, among other struggles, against the development of Geothermal in Hawai`i. He brings qualities of righteous anger, a strategic mind, and great experience in the Hawaiian movement as well as knowledge of key legal battles against Campbell Estate and the various departments of the State of Hawai`i for the rights of Native Hawaiians.