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“If Not Now, When Will We Stand?” Native Hawaiians Fight Construction of Telescope on Mauna Kea

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A historic indigenous resistance is unfolding on the Big Island of Hawaii, where thousands have descended on Mauna Kea, a sacred Native site, to defend it from the construction of a $1.4 billion telescope. Scientists say the Thirty Meter Telescope will help them peer into the deepest corners of space, but indigenous resisters say the construction was approved without their consent and will desecrate their sacred lands. Last week, police arrested 33 people—most of them Hawaiian elders—as they blocked a road to prevent work crews from reaching the site of the telescope being planned atop Mauna Kea. And on Sunday, demonstrators reported that more than 2,000 people had gathered at the access road to stop construction. We speak with Pua Case, an indigenous organizer and activist defending Hawaii’s Mauna Kea.

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