Kānaka Maoli Clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaiʻi speak out on Maunakea.

Rev. Jasmine Bostock

Following is a statement from Kānaka Maoli Clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaiʻi: The Reverend Jasmine Hanakaulani Bostock and The Reverend Paul Nahoa Lucas

The Episcopal Church in Hawaiʻi stands proudly on the shoulders of our ancestors, who were faithful aliʻi. Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV invited and welcomed our Church into these islands.  Queen Liliʻuokalani was an honored member of our Church.  Our history as Episcopalians is tied with them, and, therefore, with the sovereign nation and people of Hawaiʻi. As such, our responsibility is to the welfare of this ʻāina, and the kānaka  maoli people whom our monarchs loved and served so dearly.

As Episcopalians, our Baptismal Covenant asks us, “Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being?”[1] We boldly answer, “I will, with God’s help.” We fear that the dignity of kānaka  maoli people is not being respected, and with the militarized police presence, there can be no peace. Hawaiians are a living, breathing people, whose cultural practices do not belong in museums, or merely on display for tourist consumption. The cultural practices lead many to protect Mauna a Wākea as she is perceived to be genesis point of the people of these Islands – she is a part of us.

Rev. Nahoa Lucas

The conflict on Maunakea has escalated with a “state of emergency” being declared to counter those who are standing to protect Maunakea as a sacred place. This is not an issue of being anti-science, as Hawaiian people have a long and proud history of technological advancement. We reject a colonialist worldview that sees indigenous peoples as ones whose intelligence is inferior.

We recognize the ‘eha, the hurt, that are on many sides of the issue. We acknowledge and respect the many police officers sent to keep peace on Maunakea.  We know they often have relationships with the protectors and that they respect the kūpuna. Emotional harm has been done and that deeply divides an island community. The police officers are upholding the law, as they have vowed to do.  We also are keenly aware that sometimes a law or its enforcement can be unjust or immoral. In another age, it was legal to bomb Kahoʻolawe and to ban ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi from public schools, though these were injustices. We also encourage and respect the Kapu Aloha, which is nothing but aloha – the experience of reverence – that is being kept on the mountain. We believe that Kapu Aloha is the Way of Love, it is the journey of Jesus, and it is ultimately the only way forward for these Islands.

This conflict centers on efforts to respect Maunakea as a sacred space – as wao akua, realm of the gods. In our Judeo-Christian heritage we can well understand and appreciate such a perspective about a place. Mount Horeb, Mount Carmel and Mount Zion were sacred dwelling places for God. Sacredness is not merely a concept or a label. It is a lived experience of oneness and connectedness with the natural and spiritual worlds. Nature is not inert, but a place where our Creator is known and honored. Maunakea is such a holy place for the Hawaiian people and many others.  Seeing the land and seas as nothing more than something created for human consumption and benefit has deep colonial roots, and one that for indigenous peoples is maliciously articulated in the now discredited Doctrine of Discovery[2] that shaped much of Christian history.

The words of Psalm 18:2 come to mind, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my god, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Maunakea isn’t simply part of what God has created, but it is the very reflection and abiding place of the Holy.  Honoring the creation is honoring God, as an ʻōlelo noʻeau tells us, “He aliʻi ka ʻāina, he kauwā ke kānaka .” Meaning, “the land is chief, and man is her servant.”

We, the Episcopal Church in Hawaiʻi, stand in service to Maunakea as a sacred place, and in solidarity with those who are protecting her. We add our prayers for just resolution to this issue, that the dignity of all people will be upheld, and the sacredness of Maunakea will be honored and protected.

[1] Book of Common Prayer, 305

[2] For more information, please see https://www.episcopalchurch.org/library/topics/doctrine-discovery

The above statement accompanied a teaching by the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaiʻi, the Right Rev. Robert Fitzpatrick on the need for a moratorium on all moves to begin construction of the TMT. He called for solidarity with the Hawaiian people as they “seek to protect their culture and seek their own path as a sovereign community.”

A similar statement drafted by Dr. Kahu Kaleo Patterson to which over 100 members of clergy and lay people of faith lent their names was issued to, and picked up by some press.   Picture shows Richard Salvador and Dr. Kahu Haaheo Guanson of the Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center delivering the statement to Governor Ige’s office.

Those who wish to add their names to that statement which is still circulating should write to Dr. Kahu Kaleo Paterson at kaleop@me.com


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Posted in I BLOG, Politics and Religion, Uncategorized

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