Sunday, June 23, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Saturday, March 2, 2024
There is Room on Mauna Kea for Both Culture and Science
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 8:11 PM :: 1735 Views :: Hawaii County , Greenmail, Higher Education, OHA

There is Room on Mauna Kea for Both Culture and Science

by OHA Trustee, Keli‘i Akina, PhD, Ka Wai Ola, March 1, 2024

One of my favorite cultural heroes is a Hawaiian seafarer who balanced science and culture.

Chad Kālepa Baybayan was one of the original Hōkūleʻa crew members. As a master navigator, Baybayan took part in the three-year Mālama Honua Worldwide voyage. He helped guide Hōkūleʻa on her historic 42,000 nautical mile journey which included stops at 150 ports in more than 20 countries.

Babayan was steeped in ancient cultural knowledge – the Polynesian and Hawaiian art of voyaging. He also supported 21st Century science and astronomy while serving as navigator-in-residence at the ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi in his last days.

Speaking of Mauna Kea, the site of several world-class research telescopes, Baybayan said, “There is more than enough room for people to have their own cultural practice and scientific research. We just need to have the collective will to share the Mauna.” Babayan’s words of wisdom are a far cry from the calls that seek to divide science and culture.

Mauna Kea has a dual identity. To many Native Hawaiians, it is a culturally sacred place. Mauna Kea is also a scientific site with the potential to produce major breakthroughs in the field of astronomy. Such breakthroughs hold the promise of cultural, economic, and educational benefits for all people in Hawaiʻi, including Native Hawaiian beneficiaries of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA).

Like many Hawaiians, I believe culture and science do not stand in opposition. Culture produces science and science produces culture.

As Baybayan saw it, the story of the ancient people who journeyed across the ocean to populate Hawaiʻi is a story of culture and science working together. In 2013, he eloquently described this in a TEDx talk: “It’s a story about an intrepid band of canoe-borne explorers, men and women, who leave the safety and comfort of distant shores and, by doing so, discover the stars.” Their success took tremendous courage and collaboration.

Similarly, what we need today is a collaborative effort between OHA and the State of Hawaiʻi to provide proper stewardship, assuring adequate environmental and cultural management. Pono management of Mauna Kea is the cultural and fiduciary responsibility of the state.

OHA’s current lawsuit which seeks to repeal the Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority (MKSOA) and order the state to fulfill its trust obligations, is just another example that more work needs to be done to ensure that we mālama ʻāina.

As we move forward, hopefully, the proper care of Mauna Kea will be assured and the TMT will secure Hawaiʻi’s international leadership position in astronomy. The TMT is also projected to create hundreds of jobs for local Hawaiians and generate about $150 million over 50 years. The dry atmosphere atop Mauna Kea will provide the clearest images of outer space possible from earth, enabling scientists to look farther back into our universe’s past to better understand the origins of life.

But before we can look into the past, we must see a future where we can work together toward a balanced solution.

There is room on Mauna Kea for both culture and science. This is in keeping with the centuries-old values of our Native Hawaiian ancestors who made significant progress in astronomy while caring for the land. As Babayan put it, what we need is “the collective will to share the Mauna.”

E hana kākou! Let’s work together to unite the past with the future as our ancestors did.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii Military History

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Together

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

July 4 in Hawaii

Land and Power in Hawaii

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii