Saturday, July 20, 2019

Statement on #TMTShutdown

(Caleb Jones/Associated Press)

Statement on #TMTShutdown

Dear fellow astronomers,

On Wednesday, July 17th, 2019 riot police arrested dozens of Kānaka Maoli
(Native Hawaiian) elders who were peacefully protesting the construction of the
Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea. Land protectors continue to resist
in the face of military force after Governor David Ige declared a state of emergency
and ordered the National Guard. 

Along with racist, islamophobic, and anti-immigrant rallies hosted by the U.S.
president as well as human rights violations by immigration officers at the U.S.
border, these arrests are a continuation of the United States’ long and dark
tradition of scientific imperialism and colonization. The “controversy” surrounding
TMT has never been about science vs. religion - a dismissive, anti-Indigenous
argument that has been used to defend the economic and political interests of this
project. Rather, it is an issue of Hawaiian sovereignty.

As members of the Committee on the Status of Minorities in Astronomy (CSMA),
we stand with the Kānaka Maoli land protectors. We implore the astronomy
community to consider the cost of valuing research objectives above human beings.

Call to Action: 

Please read, sign, and share widely the Open Letter Opposing Criminalization of
Mauna Kea Protectors written by graduate students Sal Wanying Fu and Mia de los
Reyes. We thank Sal and Mia for their emotional labor in putting this together.

You may also consider donating to the Mauna Kea Legal Defense Fund to support
Kānaka Maoli activists on the ground.


Dra. Nicole Cabrera Salazar
Dr. Lia Corrales
Prof. Kathryne J Daniel
Prof. Keith Hawkins
Erin Flowers
Prof. Alyson Brooks
Brianna Thomas
Prof. Adam Burgasser

The above signatories are private citizens exercising their constitutional right to
express their personal views. This is not an official statement by the CSMA nor the
AAS and should not be construed as such.

Links and resources

Video of Kānaka Maoli Arrests (shared by @KaraokeComputer on Twitter)