Feb 9, 2014 - Niijii Radio: Aabitoose with Winona LaDuke: Mauna Kea

At 13,796 feet Muana a Wakea or Mauna Kea in Hawaii is the tallest mountain in the world from the sea floor, home of Sky Father Wakea and the thunder beings. A 10-year, $1.3 billion 30 meter telescope project has been proposed on the Northern Plateau of Mauna Kea, where there are already 13 telescopes. Sadly, the telescope will interfere with the peoples’ view of the sacred mountain in the community of Waimea. Though supporters have made promises of prosperity, opponents of the telescope are not swayed by temporary jobs that will permanently scar Mauna Kea.

Listen to Aabitoose with Winona LaDuke: Mauna Kea here: https://soundcloud.com/honortheearth/aabitoose-with-winona-laduke-1

Native Hawaiian and Wimea resident Pua Case and her ohana (family) have filed a motion to intervene in the construction of the telescope. Pua Case is a caretaker for the ceremonial rain rock Manaua, where many water spirits reside. Mo’oinanea, the female water deity that dwells in Lake Waiau near the summit of Mauna Kea, frequently visits the rain rock Manaua, delivering messages to those who can see her, feel her, and acknowledge her presence. Pua’s daughter Kapulei Flores speaks with the water deity Mo’oinanea on a regular basis at Manaua.

The family’s involvement with the telescope case began one day when Kapulei shared a message with her mother on behalf of the deity. Mo’oinanea asked Pua Case to try and stop the construction of the telescope, which meant Pua and her ohana would have to go to court. Moʻoinanea described the ways in which building the telescope would be detrimental to Mauna Kea and beyond. However, Mo’oinanea told Pua Case that if she did not want to, she did not have to go to court against the proposed telescope.

Initially, Pua Case was terrified at the notion of standing alone in front of a justice system that has historically upheld injustices against Native Hawaiians and all who stand for their rights, lands, and ways. Pua was also afraid of confronting the dominant culture, which has been taught that speaking with the spirit world is no longer an active part of everyday life. Ultimately, Pua accepted her kuleana (responsibility) and carried out the request of Mo’oinanea. The motion to intervene in the telescope’s construction was remarkable, since Pua Case and her ohana filed on behalf of the water deity Mo’oinanea. Unfortunately, Mo’oinanea had her motion rejected by the court.

Pua’s courage to speak out has been inspired by her daughters: Kapulei Flores, who at 11-years-old wished to testify on behalf of Mo’oinanea in front of the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources, and Hawane Rios, who testified with an ukulele and sang the original composition “Poli’ahu I Ke Kapu” in tribute to Poli’ahu, the snow goddess of Mauna Kea. Efforts to protect Mauna Kea from the telescope continue relentlessly. Pua Case and her ohana are still in the appeals process of stopping the telescope from being built, but Pua says that the verdict will be insignificant in comparison to the spiritual awakening occurring in Hawai’I. The deities of Mauna a Wakea and Manaua have even asked Pua Case to write a book on their behalf, which will share their teachings to the people of Hawai’I and all our relations around the world.

Human beings are beginning to unite and stand in defense of Mother Earth. In this time of great change and harm to the Earth, no one will be allowed to be passive. Pua Case puts her faith in the collective consciousness of future generations. Already she sees many young people upholding tradition, prepared to protect the sacred. Inspired by the sacrifices of land defenders everywhere, Pua’s oldest daughter Hawane Rios is determined to stand strong like a mountain and block the bulldozers with her body, if construction of the telescope begins on Mauna Kea.

Throughout her search to find courage, Pua Case created Idle No More Hawaii Warriors Rising to carry her prayer across a great ocean, a prayer of love to heal open wounds. Idle No More Hawaii Warriors Rising has connected Pua with those who have fueled her fire and continue to make her stronger. Her prayer is constant for all in this network of positive social change. For instance, minutes before being attacked by the RCMP, Pua was asked by a Mi’kmaq Warrior to pray for the encampment of fracking blockaders in Rexton, New Brunswick. Facebook has the capacity to connect the world through prayer, and Pua Case considers social media to hold a sacred space in her life.

Opposition to the telescope on Mauna Kea has brought the spirit world back into the public eye of Hawai’I for the first time in centuries, sparking a rise in conscious awareness of the sacred connection between humans and their ancestral landscape. Native Hawaiian tradition teaches a responsibility (kuleana) and reverence (ke akua) to all things, all beings. Pua Case emphasizes that people are not crazy when they receive messages from spirits. Deities remain as they were for our ancestors: guides, protectors, and teachers who remind us we are all naturally gifted.

Despite fear, Pua Case is carried forward by the strength of her daughters. Through the prayer of her ohana, Pua has found courage to follow the request of the water deity Mo’oinanea, try one more time to stop the telescope, and protect Mauna Kea at all costs. Her ohana has made a promise to the mountain that the heartbeat of Mauna a Wakea will live inside them. Pua Case has not been angry for a moment. The mountain only knows compassion. There is no time for judgement and self-defeating habits. Rage, depression, and despair only serve to hold the people down. Now is the time to rise and take responsibility for the love of Mother Earth.


“Kukia’imauna (Warrior Chant)” – Pua Case
“Ha’aheo i ke ola ke kanaka maoli (The Hawaiian)” – Pua Case
“Warrior Rising (ft. Nahko)” – Hawane Rios
“Hawaiian Canoe Song” – Case/Flores Ohana

Photo Credit:

Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Last Real Indians