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Being Mindful and Respectful in Our Use of Mauna Kea
The sacredness of land shouldn't keep us from using it, but it should heighten our interest in treating it with dignity and care.

About the Author

  • Poka Laenui
    A Hawaiian national, Laenui was formerly executive director of the Waianae community mental health center, an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee, an international advocate and member of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples.

I agree with the recent Greg Lui-Kwan article titled “Mauna Kea: Not A Sacred Place, But A Precious Resource” — except for its position that Mauna Kea is not sacred.

All land is sacred. Sacred does not mean it becomes taboo or kapu from continuing use for our modernity, it simply means that we are to be mindful and respectful in our use, to all of creation and to all people’s sensibilities to their sacredness.

As we unfold into our shared future, it does us no good to separate between what is “sacred” and what is “precious resource.” It does us no good to classify objects or natural formations by one or another category.

Instead, we need to treat the sensitivities and sensibilities, of one another in kind, respectful, and dignified manner, according to each person fair treatment and due process to participate in decisions making up that future.

In the end, we will find that what is most sacred is the aloha in which we treat the dignity of each other.

Hula Halau from the outer islands join demonstrators near the Mauna Kea visitors center on Mauna Kea.. 11 april 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Hula Halau from the outer islands join demonstrators near the Mauna Kea visitors center on Mauna Kea.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat