Don’t Look Up

Hawai‘i’s Mauna Kea is among the best places in the world to study the universe, but the construction of a new super telescope is about more than astronomy.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones

One of the largest social movements in recent Hawaiian history took place in the summer of 2019 at the foot of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano located on Hawai‘i island, also known as the Big Island. Thousands of kia‘i, or ‘protectors’, of the mountain braved the cool climate, camping for months on the winding road to the summit. Though the main figures of the movement were Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian), it included descendants of migrant workers from Portugal, Japan, the Philippines and Mexico, who had come to work in the sugarcane plantations and cattle ranches generations ago, and who now called the Big Island home. Also present were native and indigenous peoples from the Pacific, mainland United States and Canada.

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