“There is a major controversy created by the initiation of construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope project on Mauna Kea, a mountain considered sacred by the Hawaiian people. Some comments filed about the nature of the controversy have revealed ignorance about the traditional faith of the Hawaiian people.
“Relevant to the telescope discussion, the Hawaiian faith is science-‐based. The faith of the Hawaiian people is founded on the four Gods: the Sun, the Ocean, the Land, and the Fresh Water. Those elements create and support life, including providing the food that keeps Humans alive. Hawaiians worshipped food. That is why the true center of the Hawaiian faith is the Pu’uhonua, the protected area where growing food to feed the people was the primary kuleana.
“The Hawaiian religion was the practice of the individual implementing that faith into daily life. That practice was based on a highly sophisticated understanding of the Natural World based on more than one thousand years of observation. The traditional Hawaiians understood more about the physical world than the Europeans who reached the islands because achieving that understanding was a spiritual practice and obligation. That understanding was very much grounded in knowing “our place in the Universe.””