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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Watch: In the early morning hours of Sept. 9, 2015, eight Native Hawaiians were arrested on Mauna Kea. Seven wahine were arrested while they were in the act of pule, or prayer. When is it illegal to practice your culture?

When is it illegal to practice your culture?

MAUNA KEA — In the early morning hours of Sept. 9, 2015, eight Native Hawaiians were arrested on Mauna Kea. Seven wahine were arrested while they were in the act of pule, or prayer. This is the second law enforcement action on Mauna Kea since the enactment of the 120-day-long “emergency” rule.

Lanakila Manguil believes, “The arrests were targeted at one specific group (the kiaʻi).” He noted that tour buses were also in the restricted zone, but that group was not arrested and taken to jail.

“Native Hawaiian traditional and cultural practices are protected under the constitution under Article XII, Section VII and cannot be regulated out of existence,” said Robert G. Klein, OHA board attorney and former Hawaiʻi supreme court justice. “The emergency rules on Mauna Kea go too far.”

On the same day of the arrests, upon the invitation of Lanakila Manguil and other kiaʻi, OHA Trustees, administration and staff visited the kū kiaʻi mauna camp on Mauna Kea. After cultural protocols, everyone had the opportunity to meet as kanaka to discuss the issues surrounding Mauna Kea.

OHA Ka Pouhana Kamanaʻopono Crabbe said of the face-to-face meeting, “Moʻolelo was shared not only about the mauna, but the fight; the passion not only to defend Mauna Kea, but the passion to be who we are as Native Hawaiians. That is so much a part of our being, and our cultural identity that if we donʻt fight now, much could be lost.”

On Sept. 10, 2015, on the day following the arrests and OHA’s visit to Mauna Kea, trustees voted unanimously to create an ad hoc committee on Mauna Kea. The committee will be chaired by Kauaʻi and Niʻihau Trustee Dan Ahuna and Ka Pouhana Kamanaʻopono Crabbe will serve as vice chair.

“By creating this committee, I hope that we will be on a pathway to action and results,” said OHA Chair Robert Lindsey.

Created by OHA Digital Media
Produced by Ryan “Gonzo” Gonzalez and Alice Malepeai Silbanuz
Interview by Kēhaunani Abad and Alice Malepeai Silbanuz
Video by Ryan “Gonzo” Gonzalez and James Hall
Additional footage courtesy of 4Miles, DLNR, and Camille Keawekane-Stafford
Edit by James Hall

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