Berkeley Talks transcript: Activist Pua Case on the movement to protect Mauna Kea

Listen to Berkeley Talks episode #150: Activist Pua Case on the movement to protect Mauna Kea.

[Music: “Silver Lanyard” by Blue Dot Sessions]

Intro: This is Berkeley Talks, a Berkeley News podcast from the Office of Communications and Public Affairs that features lectures and conversations at UC Berkeley. You can subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. New episodes come out every other Friday.

[Music fades]

Abigail De Kosnik: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the Berkeley Center for New Media’s Art, Technology and Culture Colloquium. My name is Abigail De Kosnik and I’m the director of the Berkeley Center for New Media, which is an interdisciplinary research center that studies and shapes media transition and emergence from diverse perspectives. I would like to begin by extending our warmest thanks to the fantastic co-sponsors of tonight’s event, the American Indian Graduate Program, the Arts Research Center, the Department of Ethnic Studies, the Media Studies Program, the Center for Race and Gender and the Native American Studies Program. Thank you all so much for co-sponsoring.

As I said, this event is part of our Art, Technology and Culture Colloquium, which was founded in 1997 by professor Ken Goldberg. And it is an internationally respected forum for creative ideas. Free and open to the public. It presents leading artists, writers and critical thinkers who question assumptions and push boundaries at the forefront of multiple intersecting fields. Tonight’s lecture is also a part of BCNM’S Indigenous Technologies Initiative or Indigenous Tech, which explores questions of technology and new media in relation to global structures of Indigeneity and settler colonialism in the 21st century. Our Indigenous tech events and ongoing conversations with Indigenous scholars and communities aim to critically envision and reimagine what a more just and sustainable technological future can look like.

We have highlighted Indigenous engagements with fire management and traditional ecological knowledge, computer science, virtual reality, social media, online activism, video games and more. The thinking behind this initiative would not be possible without the theorists and artists like Pua Case and the Mauna Kea protectors and others who inspired our series, as well as the leadership of our coordinators, Marcelo Garzo Montalvo and Sierra Edd and my collaborators at BCNM, Sophia Hussain, Lara Wolfe and Clancy Wilmott.

As part of Indigenous tech as an initiative, BCNM commits to supporting Indigenous sovereignty. We recognize that BCNM is located in the territory of Huichin, the ancestral and unceded lands of Chochenyo speaking Ohlone peoples, specifically, the Confederated Villages of Lisjan. The history of prolific technological development in this region, as in every region, has always depended on the land, and all of our technological infrastructures and activities take place here today on and in relation to this land. At BCNM, we commit to supporting the sovereignty and ongoing stewardship of this place by Ohlone peoples through building long-term reciprocity and relationships with tribal leaders and organizations.

Tonight we invite everyone to participate by responding to the lecture in the chat or in the Q and A box at the bottom of your screen and we ask that all of you help us maintain an inclusive, respectful and harassment-free space. Attendees who violate any of our community guidelines will be removed from the event and may be disallowed from future online DCNM events. If you are new to our events, please read our community agreements and we’ll now share a link to those in the chat. Also, I want to mention that we have captions available if you’d like to turn them on.

And now I am honored to introduce Talia Dixon, who will be our moderator for the night. Talia is a second-year Ph.D. student in performance studies at UC Berkeley, with interest in Indigenous studies, Native American law, Native California and Indigenous ecologies. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2021 with an HBFA in modern dance and a minor in Native American studies. Talia is Payómkawichum enrolled in the Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians and her graduate work focuses on the embodied performance of Indigenous knowledge and culture. And now it’s my great pleasure to welcome to Talia to introduce our amazing speaker.

Talia Dixon: Thank you Abigail, and welcome to our guests. I’m so excited to be able to introduce Pua Case to you all tonight. Pua was born and raised on the island of Hawaii, surrounded by the high mountains of Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Hualalai and Kohala. She is a Kumu Hula teacher of traditional dance and chant, and a teacher of the ways culture and traditions of the Kānaka Maoli or the Native peoples of Hawaii.

Pua and her family are petitioners of the contested case hearing filed on behalf of Mauna Kea Mountain. As a representative of the Mauna Kea Ohana, she and her family have traveled throughout the continent to Europe in various places across the Pacific over the last seven years to network, build relationships and form alliances with organizations, tribes and individuals who are facing similar issues regarding their cultural life ways, traditions and land bases in order to create a platform for protection of sacred places, social justice and positive change. I’m honored to listen to Pua tonight and to hear the wisdom of such a powerful Indigenous leader. Let’s take a moment to welcome Pua and thank her for her participation in our Indigenous Technologies Initiative Program here at the Berkeley Center for New Media.

Pua Case: Aloha, mai kakou. Aloha everybody. I’m thrilled to be here today. This is my first Zoom presentation by myself in a while and the reason that I said, “yes” to be here today, first of all, is because of the alliances, yes, that was mentioned that we have formed over years of standing for each other’s mountains, land bases, waters.

And so, may I begin by saying, Aloha [Hawaiian language 00:07:42]. I’m greeting you from where I am right now in [Hawaiian language 00:08:16], along with anyone else who happens to be in this presentation today who has come on to support as a supporter from Mauna a Wākea. We greet all of you from Puukapu, from our Mauna, Mauna a Wākea, from our island, Hawaii Island and our pae ʻaina, the islands that we call home. The islands that we cherish and treasure.

So, in the way of greeting you, for me, I’m going to be standing at the ahu, at the slope of Mauna a Wākea, at the beginning of an access road in a parking lot on a lava field. I’m going to take myself right there in this moment so that everything I say and all of my actions and my intention and my vibration give honor to the mountain and also to everyone who stands for Mauna Kea, everyone who supports our stance and everyone who has a stance of their own.

So, to the hoa ʻaina, my dear friends who come from the lands that you have mentioned, I honor you the hoa ʻaina of that place from the hoa ʻaina of my place. To the [Hawaiian language 00:09:41] those of you who are connected to us, our cousins and relatives who are out there, to those of you who are our hoapili, those who stand as we do and face the same and similar challenges and celebrations. And those who are our hoaloha, our friends who have become our friends. Maybe you don’t understand, maybe you can’t be on our ‘aina, but something in you says, “I really have to support these people and their places and the sacred.” And to all of you we say, aloha ʻaina. Love for the land like no other is what brings us here.

And in that, because I am never presenting alone, I’m going to ask all of you who know this chant with me to say it with me, so we open the space and we bring Mauna a Wākea, the reason that we are all here today and the reason for what we do and the reason that we are joined together into the people, into the circle. So with that, (singing) [Hawaiian language 00:10:52].

So, from all of us from Hawaii and for Hawaii, we say, [Hawaiian language 00:11:41]. Mauna Kea has brought us together and Mauna Kea has brought us to this moment and I greet you, aloha mai kakou.

When I agreed to this sharing, this is what I wrote on Instagram, which happens to be a technology that I’m familiar with and able to use. I wrote this because I wanted to make sure that everyone knew my heart and why I was going to agree to be on this program beyond my relationships with those who come from those lands.

I said this, “There’s so many reasons I choose to speak publicly about the Mauna. I’m born and raised on the slopes of this majestic mountain. I love sharing about the way that Mauna has changed and transformed us, the effort and the work of everyone collaborating for the collective commitment, the projects that my organization Mauna Kea Education and Awareness coordinates on a daily basis.

But most of all, it’s my honor to pay tribute to this movement and the networks, the alliances and the relationships that have been established, especially in the lands that I’m speaking to today and the support that we provide for each other. And I love doing my part from my perspective to speak on the way we are rising together like a mighty wave. [Hawaiian language 00:13:48]”

I happen to be looking at the chat and glancing at the chat for just a second because it’s really helpful when I can see that there are those of the Mauna who are here with me and I’m not alone. There was a time when I agreed to become a part of the stance for Mauna Kea in 2010, where I thought that perhaps that would be the case, that I would stand alone in my community. And over the years we have grown to be a mighty movement and we will never stand alone. So I can see you, [Hawaiian language 00:14:58] to all of you, aloha to my Mauna Kea and Education and Awareness [Hawaiian language 00:15:05], who do fabulous things so that we are able to be a presence for the Mauna every day.

If I’m asked about technology, Indigenous technology and how it relates to what I’m doing right now, which is the technology that enables me to be here with all of you today. I’m going to pause for a moment and I’m going to think about my two girls, Kapulei and Hāwane. And I’m going to start there because of course they’re the reason that I’m standing for this Mauna, because through them the message I received it will I try one more time in my community to stand for Mauna Kea. And so to my girls today, I’m here in the slopes of Mauna Kea and my girls are on the other side of the [Hawaiian language 00:16:10] of Hawaii. They’re on the oldest island, Atoll, if you will, in the Hawaiian Archipelago. You might know it as Kure Atoll. I know it as Holaniku.

And my girls have been there for almost a month now and they left for a couple of really significant reasons. One, they were going to be traveling as a team of three women to stay for three months on an atoll. An experience that most people, including myself, will never have the chance to experience. And they’re there, yes, to maintain the camp and take care of the bird life and sea creatures and take care of the [Hawaiian language 00:17:04], the island, the Atoll. But they’re also there to do what I’m doing right here at this moment to connect us all. They’re there for me to connect from Mauna Kea to them on Holaniku. We’re together to establish and reestablish and reconnect wisdom, ways of life, ceremony, ritual, vibration, intention, upright action from one end of the [Hawaiian language 00:17:45], to the other.

So when I’m thinking of them today, the reason that I bring them up is because without modern technology, that would just be something that my [Hawaiian language 00:18:03] would be going through privately right now. I’d be receiving the emails from them, I’d be answering them and I’d be living the most beautiful experience along with them. But through what we’re able to do, I’m able to share their teachings, their learnings, their lessons, their ceremony and their celebrations with all of you. And that makes it all worth it.

So I’m going to invite you, and I know that I asked if there could be a picture of Kure Atoll, Holaniku shared with you all today so you could see what I’m talking about. And I’m not sure… Oh here it comes. First of all, let’s say here we are on the Mauna, me and my girls. It’s a familiar stance for us, isn’t it? Everyone from Hawaii. How many times have we all stood right there looking up at the Mauna, praying to the Mauna, asking the Mauna to protect us, stating and committing to the Mauna that we will do our best to protect the Mauna. So that’s Hāwane, Kapulei and I, like we do all of the time, quietly chanting our commitment and dedication.

So this is one end, if you’re not familiar with Mauna Kea and what I’m standing for, protection of Mauna Kea from the building of a 30-meter telescope on the northern plateau, the other side of the mountain, the side that would actually be facing my community. And then I want you to see where my girls are right now.

That’s why I always get nervous about technology. I think I sent in a photo of Kure Atoll. So I’m going to say that my daughters are on this tiny little atoll right now in the moment that we’re speaking and they know that I’m on this call and they said, “Mom, don’t worry, we’ll get you from that side. We got you. We’ll be praying and joining from that side to this side.” So with that said, I think that there’s a couple of questions that are going to guide us along. So I’m going to call in Talia and we’re going to have an exchange here. There’s my Holaniku, do you guys see that? That’s where they are. That little piece of [Hawaiian language 00:20:56] down there, that’s where Hāwane and Kapulei are right now. And that’s where we are joining, we are joining together from the Mauna to the [Hawaiian language 00:21:06] right now. So Talia, I’m going to invite you back in.

Talia Dixon: Okay. Hello.

Pua Case: Hi there.

Talia Dixon: Hi.

Pua Case: I felt kind of alone for a while there.

Talia Dixon: Well, we were here the whole time.

Pua Case: Yeah, I know, you had me.

Talia Dixon: We were here. So, you started addressing our first question, but I can ask it. Its, how would you define Indigenous technologies and thinking specifically in relation to… Did you catch that?

Pua Case: I didn’t.

Talia Dixon: Sorry.

Pua Case: I caught Indigenous technology and I’ll just go from there.

Talia Dixon: Yeah, okay.

Pua Case: Every Indigenous person on this presentation knows what Indigenous technology is, don’t we? It’s our prayer, it’s our voice, it’s our dance, it’s our chant, it’s what we create from our hands. It’s what we transfers from the ancestors to everything that we do. It’s our [Hawaiian language 00:22:38], it’s that call in. It is the manner in which we move. It is the manner in which we teach and we share. Anything that is from the natural environment, that is interwoven within us and then comes out forward. That to me is Indigenous technology. Anything we create from nature, anything that extends from us that is nature. Any of the skills and the wisdom that we absorb, that we receive and then we transmit, to me is our Indigenous technology.

I used to say kind of as a joke, kind of being intimidated by technology. I come from old school, I was a teacher for over 20 years. You can imagine how we showed a film in those days or the limitations of technology for us. And once everything boomed in technology and there were so many things that we hadn’t learned in our generation, like right now I can’t even share a screen and show you guys a PowerPoint at the same time, I have to have all these beautiful young people here to help me to get through it. But at that moment in time I remember saying, and I meant it, “My Halau or my Hula school is my cultural PowerPoint.” My Halau is my PowerPoint in action, in motion and in real time. And that to me is Indigenous technology.

If you want to ask me how that relates to the world today and what we’re doing right now and how it interweaves with modern technology, then this is what I’ll say to that, “My purpose for when I stand for Mauna Kea and the commitment I’ve made with those who stand with me as far as what I do on the daily, which is run an organization called Mauna Kea Education and Awareness, is that we would be a presence every single day for Mauna Kea. And I mean a presence in every way through all means possible.

And that’s a huge thing to take on. When you look at a movement of movement that has to stay in action because the struggle and the challenge is not going away, saying what we’re facing as an example. We have been standing successfully for 12 years against the building of a huge telescope, not because it’s a telescope but because it’s an 18-story building of any kind that would be built on the northern plateau in a pristine landscape on a sacred mountain, and for so many reasons.

And for 12 years, we have remained visible, we have remained committed, we have remained engaged and fully activated. But it is as if on a daily basis we have never stood because they are determined to build. And so any of you who are facing what we’re facing today, when a corporation, a institution, a developer, whatever the case may be for us five countries, are determined to build no matter the consequence, no matter, it is almost as if you have to re-establish every day that you are here.

And if I only had myself, my friends, our people, these islands and we couldn’t get the word out, then we would not be able to be the presence that we are today. And we wouldn’t have had the ability to unify so many people that the Mauna brought together. And that was because we were able to send our message out to the world. So I know for some of you out there like my friends Karina, like Kaline, every single day from when we wake up to when we go to bed, we’re thinking about what we stand for because that’s what we’re committed to.

We made a choice and then we didn’t have a choice. And we said, “We are going to stand until we cannot stand any longer.” And in that we will need to be an active presence every day for what we stand for because as soon as we aren’t, it’s as if we gave up. It’s as if we disappeared. It’s as if we’ve been erased. It’s as if we don’t exist. So every day we have to re-establish that we’re still here for Mauna Kea.

And that’s where the Indigenous technology and the global technology that comes through computer and anything you can plug in and get the message out with comes into play. And we have to utilize the tool to be able to make sure that we’ll be able to stand not just for today, but for every day. And that will be able to be in this all the way, else we wouldn’t be able to do it. So just from me being here today, we are spreading the word even farther and wider and we will become stronger and prouder and more united than ever, so that’s how it all comes together.

Talia Dixon: Thank you so much. One thing that really sticks out in that, in what you just said is thinking about Hula as an Indigenous technology and just the knowledge that that practice can hold. And I wonder if you could just talk a little bit more about the Hula as Indigenous technology before we move on?

Pua Case: Sure. First of all, I don’t know if there’s Hula people out there today. This is so strange because we are not on the [Hawaiian language 00:29:48] today for [Hawaiian language 00:29:51], we are not on the [Hawaiian language 00:29:53], we are not facing each other, we are not in a ceremony. It’s really difficult. That’s a difficulty of being out here because I want to acknowledge all of you. I want to take a look at who’s out there. I want to say aloha to you individually as we do. This is the difficult part because I’m talking to this screen and I’d rather be on the [Hawaiian language 00:30:15] with all of you.

But if you are a dancer or a chanter or a teacher, I definitely would never use the term technology, even Indigenous technology, to refer to what we do from the spirit. Somehow that term technology, nowhere has a place within the ritual. So I’m going to take that term out on technology and I’m just going to talk about Hula and spirit. Because I don’t think our people would’ve referred to the arts that come from ritual and spirit as a technology. I think it changes what it is when you put that western word on it. So let’s just take that out for today and let’s talk a little bit about Hula.

Hula is the extension of spirit through words and motion and chant. And yes, it is connected genealogically to [Hawaiian language 00:31:24], to the stories, to the prayers, to creation. And we all know that we all have a dance form. I hope we all have a dance form, that locks you in, that is undeniable. That when you start to say the words and you start to do the motions, that you are who you descend from, you are them and it takes you there and you are able to bring alive the land. You are able to sing about the rain. You are the rain. You are able to honor your people. You are able to explain, you are able to feel everything that you are singing, chanting, and dancing about. Be it the volcano, be it about the Mauna, be it about a thunderstorm, be it about the deities. And you are incorporated and you are transformed and you are everything.

That is the ritual of Hula that we come from the core, the foundation of the Hula that we come from, at least that I come from. And I can say in the Mauna Kea movement, and really now for some of the other movements that are coming out of Hawaii, and really around the world as well. When your dance and your prayer and your chant and your stories and the spirit of all of that ground your movement, then out of that will be the values, the protocols, the rituals that will show you how to stand in a manner that maybe you would not have stood in if you had not used those ancient skills and wisdoms and protocols.

So, for the Mauna movement, for us very simply on the roadway, as you know, if you dance to the livestream, if you watched us in the video and if you were there three times a day, every day for nine months, we called in the elements and the prayers and the ancestors and the warriors and we said, “Guide us, teach us, protect us, correct us, lead us so that we know fully how to interact and stand in the realm of the [Hawaiian language 00:34:19], the vow [Hawaiian language 00:34:20], the realm of the deities, the realm of who we pray to, the realm of who we believe in.” That was the role of the Hula, the chant, the prayer and the dance. It grounded us in our commitment to not allow 18 stories to be built on the Mauna, which would adversely impact us in every way imaginable.

And in doing that for our people I know, we reconnected and or connected to our belief system, to our past, to our ancestral ways in a way that we would never have done if we hadn’t been up on the [Hawaiian language 00:35:17] in a movement for Mauna Kea. And I know the world saw that and I know in that the world said something good is happening there, something strong is happening there, something Pono, something upright is happening on Mauna a Wakea, and that came out of what you might call Indigenous technology, I call the ritual.

Talia Dixon: Wonderful. I wonder if now might be a good time to share that clip?

Pua Case: Which one? The chant?

Talia Dixon: I’m not sure…

Pua Case: We’re going to show you a clip because everybody that’s out there, let’s just be on the Mauna right now. Let’s just be at home right now and let this just be a sharing and a talk story and really deep heartfelt communication between us two and whoever happens to be here, who’ve given up a part of their day to be with us today. And mahalo nui for doing that because this is important. This is important that we stay unified, activated, encouraged and inspired. So why don’t we inspire them a little?

Speaker off screen: Should I play the jam video or “Standing Above the Clouds”?

Pua Case: Let’s start with the jam video.

Speaker off screen: Okay. Sounds good, one second.

(Video clip)

Group of people in video: [Hawaiian language singing 00:37:08].

Hāwane: [Hawaiian language 00:40:05].

Pua Case: [Hawaiian language 00:40:08]. So I’m going to talk about that term that just ended, that musical jam for a moment. That term that Hāwane was calling, [Hawaiian language 00:40:25]. I want to really emphasize today as well and pay tribute to every single person who’s ever stood for Mauna Kea long before I have, years and years before I have in those who are going to stand years after and most importantly today, those who are standing right now because it’s not easy. I can come on here and we can talk about technology and we can talk about Hula and we can talk about so many different things. But the bottom line is, at the end of the day we’re here because we were united, we made a commitment to stand and protect what is most dear and most sacred to us at this time. Because there’s no turning back for us. There’s no turning back.

I’m a teacher over 20 years, I quit my job so that I could go up on the Mauna full time. I quit it when my daughter called me in the classroom and said, “Mom, I’m running up the mountain and the police are after me and I think I’m going to get arrested today.” And I looked at my daughter, I could see her, I could see her running up that mountain, even as I was standing in front of a classroom I could see her and I said that day, “I quit.” I had to. And I don’t want to pretend that we’re just singing, but damn straight we are singing. Because when you’re standing, its hard, it’s challenging, especially if you’re in that core that’s made the commitment to stand every day with the commitment to be a presence for what you stand for. And I honor you for that, whoever you are because it’s all consuming and exhausting.

So, one night in our living room, we were creating a chant called [Hawaiian language 00:42:33] and it was a chant that actually was saying to the spirits of the mountain, “Let us go up to the mountain because we don’t know what else we can do for you because they are coming.” And you have the ability and the permission to incorporate us so that we only do good and we only do what the spirits of the Mauna say. And we will stand [Hawaiian language 00:43:06] as guardians, Mauna for this mountain. And we will stand as guardians as mountains, unshakeable, even when it’s hard. Even when we’re on the ground, even when things seem hopeless, we will stand [Hawaiian language 00:43:27], as mountains unshakeable.

When you see us standing, it’s been a long journey. It’s been an everyday journey for many of us. But I don’t think any of us would change a moment of it. Why? Because 90% of the friends I have and the people I know in this stage of my life have come into my life because one sacred Facebook, social media and many of them are those that I would link arm and arm with and travel to and stand with. Whether it be the [Hawaiian language 00:44:12], all the tribes up to Redding, [inaudible 00:44:15], Winnemem Wintu, Standing Rock, where I stood with my dear sister LaDonna many times. When [inaudible 00:44:26] LeDuc and many more, many more all around the world, [Hawaiian language 00:44:32], as we stand as mountains, unshakeable.

But I tell you what the heartbeat of the movement is. How we keep the movement moving really is through the music. It’s through every single vibration of every composition that has ever been written for Mauna Kea and for all of Hawaii, for the issues we have, for all the places we have, through the words of the songs we have stood stronger. It’s in the arts. For all of you who have ever painted, sketched, created an art piece that signified the movement, don’t ever stop because we need that. We need to be a constant reminder that we are still here. If you have made videos, films of us, what we are showing you with that jam for the Mauna is how all of that came together because of everything that everybody did, doing their part that enabled us to stand for Mauna in celebration, in song, in chant and dance and strength and courage. So, that’s thousands of people that assembled in just one day to sing for something that we believe in.

And then we’re going to show you a clip as to what happened right after that. And I’m going to introduce this clip to you if you haven’t seen it before. It’s a short film called, Standing Above the Clouds. That’s now being made into a feature which will be out next year with a musical EP of eight selections that will be songs, chants and prayers that support Standing Above the Clouds. But what’s important about Standing Above the Clouds, are all of you filmmakers out there, we must have thousands of films on YouTube, Vimeo. And that’s because you never gave up on us and you saw the Mauna and you said, “We need to be a part of this and we need to show the world what’s happening.”

So, right after this jam, something happens that’s really incredible. And what we’re showing you here is a short piece of a film that showcases, that shares and highlights three women, myself being one of them and our daughters and really our mothers. And how three generations of women stood in the courtroom, in the community on the front line and what we go through and went through when we do that. So, here’s a little piece and I’m going to ask you to really look at that ending because that’s connected to the previous clip.

(Video clip from film Standing Above the Clouds)

Speaker in the film: By just, how incredible they are when we’re standing together. There is the 40, the 400, the 40,000, the 400,000 women behind and around us. Women of all colors, of all ages on this mountain that we love so deeply. [Hawaiian language 00:48:08].

Pua Case: [Hawaiian language 00:48:14]. So if you’re at home right now… Oh, as you can see, we’re not on the mountain right now. And Mehana did give birth. And her daughter is older than that, for sure. When you look at that last scene, do you know what that is? If you were there on that day, you surely do. That is [Hawaiian language 00:49:00], power-filled women. Women of courage, of all ages of all nations led by Native Hawaiian women who decided to make a stand and never turned back.

So, how we created that at the end, I mean I will say, please watch the film. We are no longer on the Mauna because we don’t have to be. We know that they’re not going to try to build at this moment. And when they don’t make an attempt to build, then we don’t need to be there at this time because really the stance has come back down into the community, it’s come back down into the meetings, it’s come back down perhaps into the courtroom and we’re going to have to stand down here for a while and have an exchange and hopefully we won’t ever have to go up again in defense of the mountain. Hopefully we’ll just go up in celebration when we say no more and it’s over.

But for right now, looking back on that day when we were up on the Mauna and we were singing, [Hawaiian language 00:50:16], what you saw is singing. As soon as that was over, I saw all these people, thousands of them standing up on the [Hawaiian language 00:50:28], on the roadway, the road up to Mauna a Wakea and I thought, “Wouldn’t this be a great ending for Standing Above the Clouds?” And really for my daughter’s song, [Hawaiian language 00:50:40] ends that as well. And I just thought maybe if I run around to the other side and say, “Everybody turn around, get the drone going, get the [Hawaiian language 00:50:53], the men to line the [Hawaiian language 00:50:55] and leave the women right there and give the women a moment that they will never forget.” So if you were there that day, I’m just going to say, let me hear an [Hawaiian language 00:51:14], because I was there that day and I will never forget that.

So, all we did was turn around, move the men off, have the women right there, and we put our hand above our head with this symbol. Talk about some kind of technology. Hand movements, isn’t it? If you want to talk about Indigenous technology, let’s just go with sign language. And if you’re looking at this symbol and you still don’t know what we’re doing when we do that symbol, I’m going to tell you what we’re doing because next time you come up on the Mauna or when you need to stand with us or you come to do your protocol, you put your hands in your triangle, you stand like that picture of me and my two girls facing the mountain, and you put the summit of the mountain in the middle of the triangle and you hold that for just a second. And you remember, you see that with your heart and your soul and your eyes and your spirit.

And then no matter where you go, no matter where, you put your hands up and you will always see the summit of Mauna Kea in the middle of your triangle. And that’s what we’re doing. We’re putting our hand up and we are reminding ourselves that in the middle stands Mauna Kea and how does Mauna Kea stand and [inaudible 00:52:39]? Stands unshakeable as a protector for us as we stand as protectors for them. So this is our symbol, as many of you have one for your movement. This happens to be our [Hawaiian language 00:52:57] in the middle, no matter where we go, there’s our mountain standing and we stand as strong as our Mauna and we will never disappear.

Talia Dixon: Thank you so much. I think maybe we could move into the final segment of what we had planned and that was just to talk a little bit about the relationship between California and the movement to protect the Mauna. And I think that will lead into the final piece about just an update about the funding for the telescope.

Pua Case: Sure. I love talking about the relationship, my personal relationship with California because some of my dearest comrades, sisters, women warriors live there and they are Natives of that lands, as well as Native Hawaiians who live on those lands, as well as supporters who live on those lands. And [Hawaiian language 00:54:10], our relationship has been established and is solid. So how I will start that relationship building, and again this is just for me, everybody has their relationship with each other. Everybody has a relationship with the mountain. This is just my relationship and I only speak of mine.
When we were standing for the mountain.

If you really go back to the spirit world and you believe that, and if you are Native, Indigenous or close to the earth, you know that the earth speaks to you. You can see the spirits of the place, that happens. That’s how our ancestors lived and moved and at harmony in this world. And we are no different when we open ourselves up to it and we are not afraid. And we say, “Teach me, show me, share with me, lead me.” And the mountain said to us, “Go to California to the mountain.” Which we knew as Mount Shasta and my family said, “Mount Shasta, why would we go there?” And the mountain said, “Because I’m connected to Mount Shasta. And you go over there as the human that is connected to the Mauna and you go stand on Mount Shasta and you connect us together as the mountains will connect and stand together, so will all of you.”

So long story short, my family traveled to Mount Shasta on the advisement and direction of a mountain. And through that journey we began a relationship with the Winnemem Wintu. And we saw that they were struggling, they were standing not just from Mount Shasta, but for the return of the salmon, for the health of the water. Oh my goodness, talk about an upstream kind of climb. And Kaline became my best friend ’til today, ’til always. And through her and through others like Karina of the [Hawaiian language 00:56:25], like all of the tribal people in between all of the [Hawaiian language 00:56:31], we came together and we said, “I’ll stand for you and you stand for me. And together in this unification we’ll stand stronger and taller.”

And we began a relationship that resulted in many of them coming to the Mauna over time. And many of us going to assist and help say with the run for salmon, with the shell [inaudible 00:57:00], with so many issues that they were facing in what is called California that [Hawaiian language 00:57:06], our relationship has become so strong that I have to say my next move when I come up there because I want to honor all of you, truly all of you from that area, is to really open three Kukulu Art Exhibitions throughout California, which I’m working with the students to do. And I’m working with the Native people to do, it’s called, Kukulu Pillars of Mauna Kea. Where we honor those who have stood in certain areas, which we’ve done here in Hawaii. And now I want to branch out and honor California and then maybe other places because we have to show one another in the world what it is to truly be unified in place and in movement.

And so when you ask me about our relationship with California, all I can say is that it started with one mountain saying go to another mountain and make a connection. And through that you will make a connection with the people and you will stand together, and look, we’re still standing together. We’re still standing.

I’m going to tell you one fast story, real fast because it’s going to go into the funding. Went to California one year and a lot of you might not know this story, but I went to California for a canoe journey. There were canoes coming to the San Francisco Bay area and I’m part of the protocol for voyaging canoes. So I went up to do some protocol there. And while I was there, my husband called me and he always has me go on missions whenever I go somewhere. And he said, “Don’t leave without going to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in Palo Alto.” I didn’t even know where Palo Alto was, but he said, “You go over there and you tell them they cannot build on our mountain.” And I was like, “Oh my goodness.” This must have been like 2011, 2012 perhaps. And I was like, “Go to Palo Alto to their corporation headquarters and tell them that they can’t build on Mauna Kea?”

And I was relatively new in standing for the Mauna, but I enlisted the help of a former student who’s a [Hawaiian language 00:59:50] there in California. Her name’s [inaudible 00:59:52]. I said, “[inaudible 00:59:54], you were once my student, now you’re a [Hawaiian language 00:59:57]. I’m on a mission, you got to take me to Palo Alto.” “Why to Gordon and Betty Moore?” “Because they’re the largest single donor for the 30-meter telescope. And that’s how California weighs in as if you want to call it five countries, California represents the United States as a country that is trying to build the telescope on the mountain. And I’m purposely not going too much into that today because I’m going to tell you how you can help us and because this is far from over.”

But anyway, I get to Palo Alto and we get out of the car and [inaudible 01:00:40] out the Hawaiian salt and she’s salting me over and she’s sprinkling me with some [Hawaiian language 01:00:46] water and she’s going, “[inaudible 01:00:48], you’re going to be okay and I’m going to wait right out here and you’re going to get into that building and you’re going to go tell them that they cannot build on the mountain.”

So I got to the door and I was just pounding on the door and nobody answered for a little while and I just was persistent and I kept pounding. And finally somebody opened the door and I said, “I’m here to see Gordon and Betty Moore.” Like I even knew who they were or… I said, “I just have to see them because I’m here about the telescope.” And lo and behold, if they didn’t lead me up the stairs thinking that I was going to say something really good, they were like, “Oh, you’re from Hawaii. You must just love that we’re planning to do this telescope.” By the time that I left that building, they knew good and well that they were never going to build on that Mauna, never. Because I told them it wouldn’t just be me, it was going to be all of us that would never allow for that to happen.

And a few years later we went back there and we went back there to tell them once again. But that’s what I mean, you can keep telling them and the next day they’ll say, “We listen to you respectfully, but can we build on your Mauna anyway?” And I fear that, that’s what’s going to be going on for a while longer. But California, you have Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, you have Caltech, you have all of that, but you have great tribal people, strong, brave people who have stood for Mauna Kea the entire time. And I have no doubt, no doubt that we will keep standing and we will be victorious. And a lot of it is because of the support that we’ve gotten from all of you. So do you want to go into funding? Should we?

Talia Dixon: Do you want to go into funding?

Pua Case: Should we go into… I’m going to go into what’s happening right now.

Talia Dixon: Okay.

Pua Case: Is that good? So everybody that’s in Hawaii that’s been on this call, National Science Foundation just completed their scoping meetings in Hawaii. And we told them under no uncertain terms that they will never build here. And we also know that even if they listen, they didn’t hear us and they’re still going to make every attempt to get the money, should they get the money from Congress to give at least 800 million, which will still be $800 million short of what the TMT really needs to build. But should they get the funding, I have no doubt they’re going to give the funding over for the telescopes.
So what I want to show is a clip of the scoping meeting and then I’m going to tell you how you can help us before we leave here, how you can help us in a few very significant ways if you’re on this call and you haven’t already done so. Is that good, Talia?

Talia Dixon: That sounds great. Thank you.

Pua Case: We’ll show you what it’s like to testify at one of these scoping meetings. As of totals from the meetings held before this one from the live streams, we counted 40 total testimonies in Hilo, 38 Mauna, two TMT. In Ka’u, 80 total. Why 80? Because their community went up one by one and said no in the microphone, and that’s testifying. 78 Mauna, three TMT. In Kona, 25 testimonies, 24 for Mauna, one astronomy.

On Monday, Aug. 15th, 2022, it will be 2,700. 2,700 days standing for Mauna Kea, since the count began on March 25th, 2015. For this phase of the movement for the protection of Mauna Kea that began with the first contested case hearing we started with six petitioners and maybe 20 supporters on a good day. In February 2012, at the concluding hearing for the permit, we had grown to about 200 in ceremony in Hilo. On Oct. 8th, 2014, we stopped the groundbreaking with at least that many.

On June 24th, 2015, it was reported that we were 700. Another contested case in Supreme Court hearing later by 2019, our numbers went from 3000, 10,000, 20,000 and more throughout the Pae ʻĀina. And, yes, we do recognize that there are some Native Hawaiians and supporters who are pro PMT. But on this date, at this time, are no construction on Mauna Kea petition, signifying not just some Native Hawaiians and their supporters, but the masses, the multitudes, the majority of Native Hawaiians and their supporters, not just from here, but from around the world. That number is 470,369. A resounding no consent, no construction, no funding, no TMT, no. As of totals from the meetings held before this one…

That’s what we have to do on a continual basis. We have to restate “no,” a trillion times. No, you’re not going to build on our Mauna. No, you can’t wait us out, you can’t manipulate us, you can’t hope that we change our mind, you can’t wait for us to divide and implode, you can’t bribe us, pay us off. You can’t do that because we will not change our mind because it’s not something that you can say, “Please let us build.” And you all know this. So I’m just going to go deep to the heart right now because it makes me really emotional when I watch myself and I watch all of the others. When I was testifying, I said to everyone, “Didn’t this just feel like we were in a frontline action all over again?” And that’s what it felt for me. That’s how I felt. It felt like the police were coming next. And it takes everything to stand up again and again and again and hold on and not get too weary or exhausted, not give up.

So, you have to really look at it as a celebration that we have been able to hold off five countries, five countries for 12 years, who does that? We do that. And who is we? All of us. I always say that no one ever saw that coming, that the Native people of Hawaii would say no. Because it’s almost like when everybody hears of us with aloha spirit, “Where’s your aloha spirit?” It’s almost like we’re supposed to give everything away. We’re supposed to give more than we even have because we have aloha spirit. But that’s not the definition of aloha that I know, for me aloha is aloha [Hawaiian language 01:09:50], upright action, stand for your land. Do everything you can to protect it and no, is no. And so having said that, it does take a whole collective, it doesn’t just take a Native people. We all need help.

It can be led by the Native people, whatever Native land you in, know your protocol, go gently, do what you’re told, do what you asked, but rise and do something. So what I’m asking for and what I was asking for there in conjunction with that testimony that I just gave, I’m going to ask you to all go to protect Mauna Kea Instagram and their bio is going to lead you to some actions. One of the actions is going to be to please provide comments to the National Science Foundation because I’ll tell you what they’re scoping out right now. They’re scoping out no NSF investment in the construction and operation of an extra large telescope. And that’s the one we’re going for, no construction. But they have another choice, the choice that I think that they’re going to choose in the end, they’re going to invest in the construction and operation of the TMT and they’re going to have an NSF facilitated plan to define and practice responsible astronomy in Hawaii in partnership with the Mauna Kea stewardship.

I still think that after all these years, that’s the one they’re going to pick. So, we need to be that mighty wave, [Hawaiian language 01:11:39]. We need to be the mighty wave, so we’re asking you, all of you out there to share with your friends to go and protect Mauna Kea, to please comment on the National Science Foundation comment period. That’s up in Sept. 17th, I believe. And we’re also going to ask you to sign the petition that says no construction because our goal is 500,000 signatures and we’re not that far away from 500,000.

So, if you could just do those two things that would really help us. And then if you could, make sure to stay activated, stay encouraged, stay inspired, don’t give up, engage and just be a presence, not just for Mauna Kea but for everything that you hold dear as well. And that’s our ask for today.

Talia Dixon: I think that in what you just said started to answer one question we got from the audience, which was just, “What words or feelings do you want people around the world to know about Mauna Kea?”

Pua Case: What I said at the very beginning, Mauna Kea is the sealant, the unifier that brings people together. It’s the highest mountain in the world from the sea floor. Mauna Kea has united us in a way that we never thought possible, not just here in Hawaii, but everywhere. The manner in which we have stood for the mountain is the manner in which we are standing throughout Hawaii for all that we hold dear and know that there is no turning back for us and we will keep standing strong like a mountain, unshakeable.

Talia Dixon: Thank you for your beautiful words, Pua. People on the chat are just thanking you too.

Pua Case: I want to thank people in the chat because I know my Mauna Kea Education and Awareness core group is there and if not for them, I Mauna Kea 24/7 and they do everything they can to make sure that Mauna Kea is presence as I do. So I want to mahalo them especially. And all of our [Hawaiian language 01:14:33] that I saw on the chat are elders, all of the Kea, EF Mauna Kea, all of the supporters from Mauna Kea and really everywhere around the world and all of our relatives, whether they be in California or anywhere else, mahalo for being here today, but not just here for standing for what you believe in as well.

Talia Dixon: Okay, I think if there’s nothing else you’d like to say to wrap up, I think this has been amazing and so interesting. I’m so grateful that I was able to be here with you tonight. Thank you so much.

Pua Case: Well, I do want to say [Hawaiian language 01:15:25] to everybody out there, I’m not seeing you in person and that makes a big difference for me. I don’t know who’s on the call, that makes a difference for me. I’m just speaking in my bedroom from my heart and I’m trying to say the best things that I can for Mauna Kea and I’m leaving so much out because you can’t put into one hour a lifetime of being raised on slopes of this mountain and what it really means to stand and not give up and have the heart of the mountain in everything you do, and stand pono in the best way that you can. And just the mahalo, the thanks to the networks and the alliances.

One thing I will say to all of you who have organizations, what I’m learning more than ever is build up your core group. It doesn’t mean to add to the everyday, but what I mean is make those networks formal. The partnerships that we share between us, if I can say, please post this because I’m going to post that. I’ll post yours, you post mine. This exchange on social media of really the technology of today is vital to the success because of the presence it gives us.

To all of you filmmakers out there, storytellers, artists, all of you who can be a presence of the mountain by what you do on a daily basis, please don’t ever stop because we need you, musicians, composers, we need you, but we need everybody. But we need to remain a presence for what we stand for. And that’s what I’ll say at the end. Be a presence for what you stand for and never stop because we’re in this for the long haul. Aloha

Talia Dixon: So beautiful. I love that so much, thank you. I think that wraps us up really good.

Pua Case: Okay. Aloha everybody.

[Music: “Silver Lanyard” by Blue Dot Sessions]

Outro: You’ve been listening to Berkeley Talks, a Berkeley News podcast from the Office of Communications and Public Affairs that features lectures and conversations at UC Berkeley. You can subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen. You can find all of our podcast episodes with transcripts and photos on Berkeley News at