The Warriors

Okay Lord of the Rings nerds, you know the scene in The Two Towers where the Ents marched on Isengard? As a refresher, the Ents are the tree people. The Ents are known for being patient and deliberate. As the elder Ent named Treebeard says, we Ents do not like being roused; and we never are roused unless it is clear to us that our trees and our lives are in danger. 

I haven’t been to Hawai’i since January, so I decided to post this more recent photo instead, because I’m sitting in front of a mountain, even though it’s not Mauna Kea!

I haven’t been to Hawai’i since January, so I decided to post this more recent photo instead, because I’m sitting in front of a mountain, even though it’s not Mauna Kea!

This scene always reminds me of the Native Hawaiian side of my family. Like the Ents, Native Hawaiians are an ancient indigenous people, thought of by many as being large and harmless. Part of the scenery. Beautiful but non-threatening. Until our environment is threatened. And even then, we don’t move quickly.

Now, finally, Hawaiians all over the country, including two of my favorite celebs, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jason Momoa, have been demonstrating to stop the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project on Mauna Kea.

Like the Ents, it is our elders who are leading this fight to protect our culture and our future. This article describes how our kūpuna are our bravest warriors. They have insisted on remaining on the front line and being the first arrested, asking the younger protectors to stand down while they are taken into custody. My mom just arrived yesterday. Go mom! My youngest daughter is going over in a few weeks. Maybe they’ll be cell mates if they both get put in jail!

Our problem is not with the TMT, but with the location. Mauna Kea is a sacred place. No one would dare put a telescope on the Vatican, even if it were in an excellent location. They would simply find another spot. Same for us. Find another spot to put the telescope. This New York Times article does a good job of summarizing the issue.

This article talks about my youngest daughter’s Kumu (teacher) leading protests in Palo Alto. She is a warrior. Our local Kumu is leading our protest today. He is a warrior. Our small group of Native Hawaiians and allies plan to gather, dance, chant, and raise awareness about the TMT later this morning. Join us if you can! Time and place can be found on our group’s facebook page.

I doubt our efforts will be successful, but like Treebeard said, of course, it is likely enough, my friends, likely enough that we are going to our doom: the last march of the Ents. But if we stayed home and did nothing, doom would find us anyway, sooner or later. That thought has long been growing in our hearts; and that is why we are marching now. It was not a hasty resolve. Now at least the last march of the Ents may be worth a song.

Like the TMT scientists, we too are interested in peering into the universe and learning what is out there. But not from the vantage point of Mauna Kea. We wouldn’t put a bunch of huge telescopes on your church, synagogue, mosque, or temple, so please show some respect and don’t put another one on ours.


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