ACLU OF HAWAII’S RESPONSE TO THIS MORNING’S ACTION AT MAUNA KEA

maunakeaThe State has said it wants to be a good steward of Mauna Kea — that it believes cultural access *and* the telescopes can co-exist there. Today’s reports (if true) of access to the mountain now being summarily denied to all but State personnel and contractors — at the exclusion of even Native Hawaiian practitioners and the removal without warning of several shrines — flies in the face of these assertions and raises concerns both for free speech and the constitutionally protected rights of Hawaii’s indigenous peoples that we should all care about. As expressed in our testimony on the proposed access rules governing Mauna Kea, the ACLU of Hawai‘i is concerned about any State actions that may infringe upon the constitutional rights of individuals seeking to access Mauna Kea for traditional, customary, and religious practices, and/or to engage in speech around the planned construction. We also share concerns about the potential for unequal or escalating enforcement against demonstrators. Now that the State is choosing to move forward with construction, the people of Hawai‘i (and we at the ACLU) are watching, depending on them to now “walk the talk” of respect and inclusion — and above all, in all actions, to uphold the U.S. and Hawai‘i State Constitutions.

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