Status Report

A Native Hawaiian-led summary of the current impact of constructing the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea

By SpaceRef Editor
January 6, 2020
Filed under , , ,

Sara Kahanamoku, Rosie ‘Anolani Alegado, Aurora Kagawa-Viviani, Katie Leimomi Kamelamela, Brittany Kamai, Lucianne M Walkowicz, Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, Mithi Alexa de los Reyes, Hilding Neilson

(Submitted on 3 Jan 2020)

Maunakea, the proposed site of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), is a lightning-rod topic for Native Hawaiians, Hawaii residents, and the international astronomy community. In this paper we, Native Hawaiian natural scientists and allies, identify historical decisions that impact current circumstances on Maunakea and provide approaches to acknowledging their presence. Our aim is to provide an Indigenous viewpoint centered in Native Hawaiian perspectives on the impacts of the TMT project on the Hawaiian community. We summarize the current Maunakea context from the perspective of the authors who are trained in the natural sciences (inclusive of and beyond astronomy and physics), the majority of whom are Native Hawaiian or Indigenous. We highlight three major themes in the conflict surrounding TMT: 1) physical demonstrations and the use of law enforcement against the protectors of Maunakea; 2) an assessment of the benefit of Maunakea astronomy to Native Hawaiians; and 3) the disconnect between astronomers and Native Hawaiians. We close with general short- and long- term recommendations for the astronomy community, which represent steps that can be taken to re-establish trust and engage in meaningful reciprocity and collaboration with Native Hawaiians and other Indigenous communities. Our recommendations are based on established best principles of free, prior, and informed consent and researcher-community interactions that extend beyond transactional exchanges. We emphasize that development of large-scale astronomical instrumentation must be predicated on consensus from the local Indigenous community about whether development is allowed on their homelands. Proactive steps must be taken to center Indigenous voices in the earliest stages of project design.

Comments: Submitted to the National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics (Astro2020) Panel on the State of the Profession and Societal Impacts (SoP)

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Instrumentation and Detectors (physics.ins-det)

Cite as: arXiv:2001.00970 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2001.00970v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)

Submission history

From: Sara Kahanamoku 

[v1] Fri, 3 Jan 2020 20:15:32 UTC (268 KB)

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