Yakama Nation Calls for Federal Protection for the Kanaka Oiwi and Mauna a Wakea

TOPPENISH, Wash. — Yakama Nation’s tribal leaders have called upon the U.S. Department of the Interior to exercise its moral and legal trust obligation owed to the Kanaka Oiwi (Native Hawaiians) by opposing the State of Hawaii’s proposed thirty meter telescope. This telescope would cause an eight-acre footprint upon the Kanaka Oiwi’s sacred mountain Mauna a Wakea and substantial environmental burden on the mountain and its watershed.

Last week, the Yakama Tribal Council transmitted its Resolution T-172-19 to the Kanaka Oiwi leaders and U.S. Interior Department Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney, calling upon the federal government to exercise its moral and legal trust obligation owed to the Kanaka Oiwi to care for and not harm Mauna a Wakea, by opposing the State of Hawaii’s thirty-meter telescope project and by protecting the Kanaka Oiwi from any state acts of force or violence.

Yakama Nation acknowledges the Kanaka Oiwi were forced, under the threat violence, to cede 1.8 million acres of Indigenous Hawaiian homelands to the United States in 1898. We recognize and affirm the inherent authority held by the Kanaka Oiwi, as a free and independent Native Nation, to manage their sacred aina (land) in their the best interests. Yakama Nation understands that the Kanaka Oiwi regard Mauna a Wakea (also called Mauna Kea), a mountain on the big island of Hawaii, as the foundation of their creation story. Mauna a Wakea is their relative. Mauna a Wakea remains sacred to the Kanaka Oiwi, who continue to possess and exercise inherent traditional authority to protect the aina.

Yakama Nation proclaims our support for the Kanaka Oiwi as they protect their sacred Mauna a Wakea relative and their traditional ways of life. We stand ready to receive and consider any request from Kanaka Oiwi leaders or kupuna (elders) for assistance or support as they fight to preserve their existence and to protect their relative-mountain Mauna a Wakea from further domination and destruction

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