BERKELEY, Calif. — In the stadium on Saturday, Sept 14, 2019 at the university, people are eating popcorn and cheering with banners while cannons fire. They say they are celebrating polynesian heritage. However outside the stadium, students (many Hawaiians) are celebrating real polynesian culture trying to protect Mauna Kea . They are standing to protect the mountain and the land. The students are educating the public and uplifting Indigenous Hawaiians and global indigenous communities in the face of capitalism and colonialism.
Bria Puanani Tennyson proudly shouted the truth at the stadium “UC Berkeley is an investor in the thirty meter telescope, the ‘TMT’, set to be built on Hawaii’s sacred mountain Mauna Kea,. This mountain is also the watershed for the entire island. Native hawaiians did not consent to this development and the desecration of their land, and they are actively working to protect it. As university stakeholders, the students, are made complicit in the university’s violence and desecration of this sacred land. As university stakeholders, we demand that the university divest from desecration and destruction at Mauna Kea. The native people have spoken and said no and the university needs to listen. Do the right thing. Live up to the university’s own motto and principle of ‘Let there be light”. You say you care about seeing the stars, but you do not care about seeing the people. DIVEST BERKELEY DIVEST.”
She was partnered by Mila Elizabet, Mescalero,Apache whose strong voice carried the words and prayers to the stadium.
To end the day in a good way, Hula Manu O’o, does a prayerful dance. Hula Manu O’o is a traditional Hawaiian Dance ensemble based in Sausalito, CA under the direction of Kumu Lisa Pua Saunders (www.facebook.com/HulaManuOo). On the video below Kumu Pua offers hula during the rally at UC Berkeley.
The Protect Mauna Kea rally organized by Bria Puanani Tennyson stood in solidarity with na kia’i of the sacred mountain, Mauna Awakea. The song “Poli’ahu” was composed by Hula Master, Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewitt and tells of the natural forces of this sacred place and one of it’s deities. Kumu Pua does her hula to help demonstrate the importance of protecting sacred space, and to energize and sustain cultural practices. #NOTMT