(BIVN) – Samuel Kaleikoa Kaʻeo, a prominent and impassioned orator in opposition to the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, testified before the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees on Thursday morning.
“Our people have awakened,” Kaʻeo told the OHA trustees, speaking about the standoff over TMT that is ongoing at the base of the mountain access road. “Our people have risen. And that must be acknowledged,” he said.
Kaʻeo thanked the trustees who have supported the Kū Kiaʻi Mauna movement, starting with Trustee Carmen Hulu Lindsey, who was among the kūpuna arrested on the Mauna Kea Access Road on July 17.
Kaʻeo was one of several opponents of the TMT project who testified before OHA at Aunty Sally’s Luau Hale in Hilo. There were also a few who testified in support.
“I can tell you firsthand, I cry every day on that mountain,” Kaʻeo told the trustees. “I cry every day, to see what I witness and experience. You know, one day I see young high school kids come on to ceremony, followed by healers – our own Hawaiian healers is coming on. Followed by Hawaiian motorcycle ‘organizations’ coming on. And I watch them participate and dance hula on the alanui.”
“To really understand what is going on on the Mauna, you have to come to the Mauna,” Kaʻeo said. “Do not believe the hype from the so-called Governor Ige, who continues to lie and portray us in a way to dehumanize Kanaka, as if we animals who need to be put into cages and drug off that Mauna. As if standing for what is right, what is pono, for the ʻāina, for our keiki, for our moʻopuna, is regressive. I would submit racism, settler-ism, is regressive. Those days are over. We’ll never allow TMT corporation, or anything like the TMT corporation. They should hear us loudly.”
Big Island Video News will be featuring more of the testimonies recorded Thursday at the OHA meeting in Hilo.