Maui News

Judge Finds Four Kūpuna Not Guilty of Obstructing Maunakea Access Road

August 6, 2021, 6:29 PM HST
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Base of Maunakea Access Road at the intersection of the Daniel K Inouye Highway. PC: (July 18, 2019) Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources.

A Hawaiʻi Island Judge today ruled that four kūpuna who were arrested during an ongoing demonstration against the Thirty Meter Telescope, were not guilty of obstructing Maunakea Access Road.

The elders, identified as Marie Alohalani Brown, Maxine Kahaulelio, Ranette Robinson and Keliʻi W. Ioane, were among 38 kūpuna arrested in July of 2019.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chair, Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey of Maui lauded Judge Laubach’s ruling calling it a “pono outcome,” saying the group stood in kapu aloha against what she called “the continual disregard of Native Hawaiians’ legitimate concerns for our sacred spaces and our ‘āina aloha.”

“The 2019 arrests and today’s ruling highlight just another example of how Native Hawaiians have had to continually place their bodies and lives on the line, to protect that which serves as the foundation of our cultural identity and well-being,” said Chair Lindsey “We look forward to the day when state decision makers understand and take seriously the cultural concerns and deep harms that are uniquely felt by Native Hawaiians, arising from government actions impacting the ʻāina and our deeply valued biocultural resources.”

Lindsey notes that OHA is a party to an ongoing lawsuit and other channels of advocacy seeking to engage in proper stewardship of the mountain.

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