On September 10, 2015, President Kīwaha submitted an OFFICIAL LETTER TO DLNR (Department of Land and natural Resources) Director Suzanne Case, and Deputy Director Kekoa Kaluhiwa, in opposition to the continued and unlawful arrests at Maunakea of peaceful Aloha ʻĀina activists who are standing in opposition to the further desecration of the mauna through the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. The letter also expresses the opposition of the Foundation to the enforcement of “emergency” rules in violation of Article XII of the Hawaiʻi State Constitution.
Article XII of the State Constitution (1978), states, “The State reaffirms and shall protect all rights, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes and possessed by ahupuaʻa tenants who are descendants of native Hawaiians who inhabited the Hawaiian islands prior to 1778, subject to the right of the States to regulate such rights.”
“While the State has the authority to ‘…regulate such rights…'”, writes the President, “…it certainly does not have the authority to create and establish rules which eliminate the practice of cultural and religious customs – especially on Mauna Kea, which has historically been, and continues to be, a sacred site for the native Hawaiian people.”
He continues, “To enforce such rules, and arrest peaceful activists who are exercising Constitutionally-protected rights, is HEWA LOA. It is wrongful on the part of the State and the Department of Land and Natural Resources.”
The Foundation, while being unable to provide assistance to those arrested and other affected individuals, continues to advocate that the State of Hawaiʻi and DLNR end the enforcement of, and abolish, the “emergency” rules now in place atop Maunakea; and, to refrain from seeking criminal charges against those who were exercising their Constitutionally-protected rights.
Copies of the letter were forwarded to state Senator Josh Green, and state Representatives Nicole Lowen and Richard Creagan. To view a copy of the letter, click the link above.