A Fictive Kinship: Making "Modernity," "Ancient Hawaiians," and the Telescopes on Mauna Kea

What can Mauna Kea teach us about settler colonialism in Hawai‘i? This article -analyzes the politics and poetics of the struggle over Mauna a Wākea and the Thirty Meter Telescope (or TMT)—a $1.4 billion observatory boasting to be the next “world’s largest telescope,” proposed for construction on the mountain considered sacred to Kanaka ‘Ōiwi (Native Hawaiians), that, if built, would become the summit’s fourteenth.

Iokepa Casumbal-Salazar

A Fictive Kinship:
Making “Modernity,” “Ancient Hawaiians,”
and the Telescopes on Mauna Kea



The University of Hawaii continues to believe that Mauna Kea is a precious resource where science and culture can synergistically coexist, now and into the future, and remains strongly in support of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

—Dan Meisenzahl, quoted in the Honolulu Civil Beat

Unfortunately there’s this whole colonialism thing going on, and so, you have to, somehow, get past that. It’s kind of easy for us [astronomers] to get past that because I don’t feel like a colonial person. . . . I feel like I’m one of the slaves. . . . From the astronomy perspective it’s less of a big leap to get over that.

—Paul Coleman, interview by author, May 8, 2013

It has nothing to do with astronomy. You could build anything up there. The problem is that you want to build anything up there. 

—Abraham Kamakawiwo‘ole, quoted in Mauna Kea: Temple under Siege


What can Mauna Kea teach us about settler colonialism in Hawai‘i? This article -analyzes the politics and poetics of the struggle over Mauna a Wākea and the Thirty Meter Telescope (or TMT)—a $1.4 billion observatory boasting to be the next “world’s largest telescope,” proposed for construction on the mountain considered sacred to Kanaka ‘Ōiwi (Native Hawaiians), that, if built, would become the summit’s fourteenth.1 It would stand eighteen stories tall, displace roughly ten acres of undisturbed land on the mountain’s northern plateau, and dig one hundred feet below the earth’s surface, possibly more. While many Kanaka ‘Ōiwi argue the TMT would desecrate one of the most -sacred sites in the islands—a place revered as a house of worship, an ancestor, and an elder sibling in the mo‘okū‘auhau (or genealogical succession) of all Hawaiians—advocates of big science justify the transgression by lauding the project’s pledge to create jobs, stimulate the economy, and fund educational opportunities in STEM. Others repeat the promise of new discoveries that will explain the origins of our universe: a scientific ambition thought to generate myriad benefits for all of humanity. Yet, as TMT advocates emphasize the project’s urgency, they also insist that the Western imperative of “modern astronomy” to explore space is analogous to “ancient Hawaiian” sea voyaging in the Pacific. The discursive strategy consigns indigeneity to obsolescence. While Western science is conflated with modernity and settler culture is imagined as the measure of humanity, Kānaka ‘Ōiwi who oppose the TMT are rendered selfish, regressive, and unreasonable. Likewise, TMT proponents argue that exploration of new frontiers and discovery of distant worlds is a universal human aspiration. I argue that the ideologies of science and multiculturalism in which these assumptions are embedded function to delimit what constitutes rationality and, thus, the category of the human. I explain how, within the hierarchies of human difference these discourses conjure, Kanaka ‘Ōiwi appear as a foil to the scientific settler state’s legitimacy as sovereign and desire to become native. I will also show how the struggle to protect Mauna a Wākea is emblematic of over a century of struggle against U.S. settler colonialism, its logic of elimination, and practices of replacement.2


In examining this controversy, I might have challenged the allocation of public and private resources channeled into big science projects while poverty persists, health care and education remain inaccessible to many, and the state’s dependency on tourism and militarism has produced enormous wealth disparities, widespread homelessness, and Kanaka emigration. Instead, however, my focus here is directed toward ideologies of discovery, belonging, possession, and knowledge. I am concerned with ways in which the rhetoric of big science, as taken up by the state and advocates of astronomy expansion, works to expel Kanaka ‘Ōiwi from modernity as a path to settler selfhood. Within the official narrative practices that dimly repeat the ambiguous categories and cultural imperatives to “discover new worlds,” advance “scientific knowledge,” and “coexist on the mountain,” particularly when combined with the state’s legal apparatus, Kanaka ‘Ōiwi are ruled ineligible as caretakers of land and, thus, are denied a meaningful voice in decisions over the future of Hawai‘i. Relegated to the “dark ages” of tradition, Native peoples appear as the agonistic menace of the modern scientific state. Delegitimized as irra-tional within the gendered hierarchies of Western science and philosophy—both of which bear heavily on contemporary views of Indigenous culture and activism—Hawaiians become suspect and subject to institutional anti-Native racism yet fetishized as an archeological remnant within multicultural society. Looking at narrative practices by which ‘Ōiwi are disqualified and settler legitimacy is achieved, I argue that the urgency for another telescope is less about progress or the human condition than maintaining control over land and confining Native self-determination to a permanent state of deferral. With Mauna Kea, the co-constitution of Western sciences and imperialism is laid bare. Though, as ‘Ōiwi philosopher Manulani Meyer describes it, Mauna a Wākea “is a perfect example of clashing cosmologies,”3 it is also an example of the mechanics of settler colonialism. Before I discuss the historical context of the current struggle, let me begin with a scene of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi resurgence. 

Kū Kia‘i Mauna


Outraged by the Board of Land and Natural Resources’ final decision to uphold a permit issued to the University of Hawai‘i for construction of the Thirty -Meter Telescope in 2013, Kānaka ‘Ōiwi took to the mountain in October 2014 and again in April 2015. With the permit awarded, many thought construction of the TMT was inevitable, until a group of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi activists in their twenties—educated and fluent in our language, culture, and history—decided to put their bodies on the line in defense of the sacred mauna. What began as a small but dogged effort to block the delivery of heavy equipment from reaching the summit quickly exploded into a six-month mass demonstration on the mountain. Within days, the TMT controversy was thrust into the global media spotlight. It was almost impossible to miss reports of the daily confrontations between state park rangers, county police, Office of Mauna Kea Management personnel, and land defenders. 

Initially, spontaneous roadblocks and vehicle checkpoints were fashioned to keep work crews from reaching the project site, but very shortly a semipermanent encampment went up. In Hawaiian a kia‘i is a guardian or caretaker. As the media began covering the activists’ actions as “protests,” it became clear the underlying connotation was that “protestors” were unreasonable, ill-informed, and petulant. This image was reinforced in the contested case hearings as well, as the University of Hawai‘i had actual legal teams while those petitioning the permit were ordinary, untrained citizens. Immediately they began self-identifying as kia‘i, or protectors, instead of conceding to the diminutive referent and thereby reshaping the public debate. The kia‘i were not fighting against something so much as they were fighting for something: the protection of the mountain from further development. The demonstration culminated on June 24 with a dramatic, daylong standoff in which dozens of kia‘i were arrested. Over seven hundred people participated in the action that day. A series of arms-linked human blockades were positioned across the road to the summit, each functioning as a distinct front that would slow the police caravan, stall arrests, and undermine any notion that removal would be swift and simple. The first to confront police was a line of ‘Ōiwi women, who invoked the female kupua (demigod, super-natural being) of Mauna Kea and chanted their resolve. Eventually, once the first few lines of kia‘i had been overcome, they scattered large stones across the unpaved road, disabling the officers’ vehicles from advancing. As the mist of Lilinoe shrouded the summit, construction crews and law enforcement descended the mountain in defeat. 

Throughout the summer there were several more confrontations. A set of “emergency rules” that included a ban on overnight camping was ordered by governor David Ige as an attempt to dismantle the activists’ encampment. This led to one nighttime raid in which seven women in prayer and ceremony were arrested without warning. Yet, simultaneously throughout local communities, solidarity actions across every island began breaking out as well. There was also an unprecedented proliferation of news coverage across the United States and abroad as well as an increase in scholarly attention unseen over the previous decade of Mauna Kea activism. The hashtags #WeAreMaunaKea, #KūKia‘iMauna (rise protectors of the mountain), #AoleTMT (No TMT), and #ProtectMaunaKea went viral over social media, attracting celebrities and other supporters from around the world. 

By December the spectacle of an Indigenous uprising incited the Hawai‘i State Supreme Court to review and revoke the TMT’s permit (discussed below). However, the victory was bittersweet, as the decision to rescind the permit was justified, not because of the project’s ethical, cultural, or environmental transgressions, but instead because the permit was granted prior to holding a contested case hearing. In a procedural error, the state’s Board of Land and Natural Resources had simply failed to observe due process. This was a precarious victory, as the court’s ruling was less a turn toward justice than a political act. Though aligned with the demands of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi and our allies, it was ultimately a re-inscription of state authority. While most TMT opponents welcome the decision, I fear the state has nevertheless retained something far more valuable than a telescope: its authority to decide.4 Next, I explain how the mountain is sacred within Kanaka ontologies to provide context for why Hawaiians have chosen to use their bodies, where their voices were ignored, in defense of this place.



‘O ke keiki pō lani kēia a Kea i hānau: The Sacred Mauna

Mauna Kea is commonly translated as the “white mountain” because of its snowcapped peaks during winter months and the word “kea” translates as “white,” but its name has other meanings as well.5 It is also the namesake of the akua (god), Wākea (the expanse of the sky), hence today’s popular name, Mauna a Wākea. The mountain is also the hiapo (firstborn) of the five mountain peaks born to Papahānaumoku (Papa who gives birth to islands). Also referred to as “Earth Mother” and “Sky Father,” Papa and Wākea are two of three original ancestors in the epic mo‘okū‘auhau (genealogical succession) known as the Kumulipo, which ties Kanaka ‘Ōiwi to ‘āina, the land, in a familial relationship. Preceding written literature, the Kumulipo is a ko‘ihonua, or cosmogonical mele (chant), that is structured around scientific observation of environmental and celestial patterns. It describes the origins of the universe6 beginning in the time and space of Pō (darkness) and mapping the emergence of all elemental forms—animate and inanimate—from the smallest of creatures to the stars, to humans, and beyond. In this mo‘okū‘auhau, Papa, Wākea, and their daughter, Ho‘ohōkūkalani (“she who creates stars in the sky”), are parents of the archipelago, the maka‘āinana (the common people), and the ali‘i (the ruling class).7 Ho‘ohōkūkalani births Hāloanakalaukapalili (quivering long stalk), a premature son born still and from whose burial place emerged the first kalo (taro), the staple food of Kanaka that allowed for the Lāhui (the nation and people) to flourish. The second son, Hāloa, named after his elder sibling, was the first human and the first ali‘i to govern the Lāhui. These connections were attached to the genealogy of ali‘i to emphasize the centrality of environmental responsibility and resource management to the idea of good governance. As Noenoe Silva argues, these mo‘olelo (stories, histories) “are ingeniously crafted metaphors. They are carrying substantial symbolic weight and are also indicative of a way of being in the world and of conceiving the world and our place in it—we are part of a family that includes the sun, stars, ocean, and everything else in the world.” The mo‘okū‘auhau also conveys the kuleana (right, privilege, responsibility) Kanaka ‘Ōiwi are encouraged to adopt and practice—that is, to care for the land as a member of one’s family. While Mauna Kea is conceived as an elder sibling, an ancestor, in a genealogy that includes the ali‘i, the maka‘āinana, and ‘āina, many today use the name “Mauna a Wākea,” or “the mountain belonging to Wākea.”8 


Mauna a Wākea is also a piko. Translated as both “summit” and “umbilicus,” piko describes the mountain and connotes its generative life forces. The human body has three piko: the crown of the head, the navel/umbilical cord, and the genitals. The concept of a piko also signifies genealogical connection, referring to a spiritual center, a “linking of the body with forebears of old and descendants to come.”9 For many of the families living on the slopes of Mauna a Wākea, a very old tradition that continues today is the practice of depositing the piko and ‘iewe (afterbirth, placenta) of the family’s newborn in hidden places on the summit to protect the child. For this reason, the mauna was also known as “ka piko kaulana o ka ‘āina,” the “famous piko of the land.”10 

As the fresh water of Mauna a Wākea produces rich soil for much of -Hawai‘i Island, ‘Ōiwi also honor its significance as a source of life by celebrating its many water forms—the mist, rains, clouds, the lake, and the snow. It is no coincidence that the spirits attached to these water forms are frequently women—the akua and kupua said to live on Mauna a Wākea, including Lilinoe, Waiau,11 Poli‘ahu, Kahoupokane, and Mo‘oinanea. Although its namesake is Wākea, the mountain is also famous for the mana wahine (female power) it celebrates through such naming practices. For the descendants of Papa, Ho‘ohōkūkalani, and Wākea, Mauna a Wākea is “the ‘aha ho‘owili mo‘o (the genealogical cord) that ties earth to the heavens,”12 symbolizing “the bonds between the living individual and . . . [one’s] never known and long departed ancestors.”13 It is, at once, an ancestor, a portal to the akua, an elder sibling, a primary source of water for the people, and a place of spiritual being and reflection for Kanaka ‘Ōiwi. This body of thought and way of relating to the natural world is part of a deeply held ethical positionality common to many ‘Ōiwi, what I describe as an onto-genealogical ethos: that is, to care for the land, water, and other natural beings. In many ways, it is this conception of being and ethic of cherishing the land that constitutes the foundation of what we call aloha ‘āina—a key concept in ‘Ōiwi thought (to which I will return). 

Mauna a Wākea is located in a region of the mauna (mountain) called -kuahea, or an “area where trees are stunted as due to altitude,” far above ele-vations habitable for human populations.14 In kuahea, thin air deprives the lungs of oxygen, sunlight is harsh to the skin, the cold is piercing, and few plant or animal siblings can live.15 Measured from ocean floor to its peak at 33,474 feet, Mauna a Wākea is the tallest mountain on the planet. At this ele-vation, altitude sickness is common: CO2 drops and gas molecules expand, causing stomach cramps, lightheadedness, dehydration, fainting, headaches, vomiting, nausea, or worse. For those who make the journey, there are -major health risks involved. For ‘Ōiwi i ka wā kahiko (in the times of old), these effects on the body must have contributed to its mana (divine power) and the sense of reverence, humility, and respect with which ‘Ōiwi related to the mountain. The layers upon layers of meaning attributed to this place represent an ‘Ōiwi ontological relationship to Mauna a Wākea and a way of being in the world that renders the land as family. This is why Mauna a Wākea is sacred.



Half a Century of Astronomy and Mismanagement
on Mauna a Wākea


Astronomers say that to understand the origins and evolution of the universe, they must study the oldest, most distant light. To probe further into space, there is a constant demand for bigger, faster, and more powerful telescopes. Many of the world’s best observatories are currently located on Mauna Kea. Over the last thirty years great advances in technology have resulted in major scientific breakthroughs among the telescopes. For example, observations made at the Keck Observatory16 have led to the discovery of dwarf planets, the approximate age of the observable universe, and the rate at which the universe is expanding. Yet, more answers lead to more questions. With technology advancing as quickly as it does and with the most cutting-edge telescopes reaching their limits, many scientists suggest that the only solution is to build more powerful instruments, like the Thirty Meter Telescope. The TMT promises to render distant objects that were previously inaccessible, not only visible, but with greater speed and clarity. With millions of dollars already committed to the project, over a decade of planning, and parts being manufactured around the world, as of this writing all that remains is the state of Hawai‘i conservation district use permit.


In 1968 the University of Hawai‘i entered into a sixty-five-year lease with the state, paying a nominal one dollar per year to use 13,321 acres of summit lands situated in the ahupua‘a (division) of Ka‘ohe in the mokuoloko (district) of Hāmākua to build a “an observatory.”17 The first telescope was erected that year; and every decade since, UH has continued to grow its astronomy franchise. Four successive telescopes were built in the 1970s and, at that time, there was no public consultation, no clear management process, and little governmental oversight.18 In the 1980s, two more telescopes went up and a third broke ground, while no binding management plan was approved by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources until 1985; moreover, even this UH Mauna Kea Management Plan and its 1995 Revised Management Plan failed to address the adverse impacts of continued industrial development on the ecological or historical properties of the summit or the lives, cultural practices, and well-being of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi. In 1961, HRS 183 was passed into law through Act 187, which created the four major land districts—-Conservation, Agricultural, Rural, and Urban—encompassing all land in the state. However, it was not until HRS 183c, passed by Act 270 in 1994, that the state would retroactively make the telescopes legal vis-à-vis its newly created “resource subzone”—one of five categories within the Conservation District—for which the category “astronomy facilities” was conjured as an approved land use. This means that the laws making astronomy on Mauna Kea legal were written after the Conservation District laws—after seven telescopes were already built. The Final EIS suggests there are currently “12 facilities” on the summit, “11 observatories and one separate telescope.”19 Because the Keck Observatory and the Submillimeter Array, which consists of eight mobile dishes, are each considered by the University of Hawai‘i to be a single “observatory,” what amounts to twenty-one telescopes has been reduced to a count of thirteen. 

Mauna Kea is prized by astronomers because of its unparalleled physical attributes. It is the tallest mountain on earth as measured from the ocean floor to its peak. At 13,796 feet in elevation and surrounded by thousands of miles of open ocean, there is very little atmospheric turbulence. Rising to over 40 percent of the earth’s atmosphere, the air is extremely stable, dry, and cold—essential qualities for ground-based observation. Piercing above the general cloud layer, the mountain has a relatively high number of clear nights annually. Compared to other more remote locations such as those in Chile or South Africa, Mauna Kea is also rather accessible, being less than two hours from Hilo and five hours from the mainland United States. 

One scientist told me that astronomy is a “benign science” because it is based on observation, and that it is universally beneficial because it offers “basic human knowledge” that everyone should know “like human anatomy.” Such a statement underscores the cultural bias within conventional notions of what constitutes the “human” and “knowledge.” In the absence of a critical self-reflection on this inherent ethnocentrism, the tacit claim to universal truth reproduces the cultural supremacy of Western science as self-evident. Here, the needs of astronomers for tall peaks in remote locations supplant the needs of Indigenous communities on whose ancestral territories these observatories are built. It does so by invoking the morality of liberal multiculturalism. “Why would anyone oppose astronomy? Why are Hawaiians standing in the way of progress?” they ask. “Can’t astronomers and Hawaiians coexist on the mountain?” These frames decontextualize the historical relations in which the TMT controversy has emerged and dehistoricize the struggle over land and resources in Hawai‘i by vacating discourse on settler colonialism in favor of problematic claims to universality. When the opposition to the TMT is misrepresented as an arbitrary disregard for science, Hawaiians appear unreasonably obstinate. In light of the stories of U.S. imperialism in Oceania and Hawai‘i, perhaps we should be asking, What constitutes progress? Who determines that? And what are the costs of its production? 


In 1959, as a condition of statehood, the territorial government was to assume a relationship of guardianship over Native Hawaiians, an arrangement in which Indigenous calls for independent governance was ignored.20 According to this protectorate relationship, Native Hawaiians are like wards of a court—they cannot sue the U.S. government for misuse of lands or violation of rights. Hawaiians have no land base but retain a one-fifth interest in the “Ceded Lands.”21 They receive a portion of revenues generated from what totals approximately 1.8 million acres of former Hawaiian Kingdom government and Crown lands that were seized in 1893 by a group of conspirators who would soon fashion themselves the “Republic of Hawaii.” To avoid prosecution for treason should the legitimate government return to power, the conspirators “transferred” these lands—the spoils of a foreign intervention—to the United States under the auspices of “annexation” in 1898.22 The lands were then renamed “Public Lands,” to be controlled by the government of the Territory of Hawai‘i. When Hawai‘i was made a state in 1959, authority over these lands was then transferred to the state of Hawai‘i, which has held them as a “public trust” for five purposes, one of those being the betterment of Native Hawaiians.23 Aside from the hegemony secured through U.S. military occupation, the state’s authority comes mainly from the perception of its legitimacy, which derives from its mandate to manage Native Hawaiians and the seized lands. Yet, with each new category applied to the Crown and government lands of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the original desception grows more egregious when the legal history the United States’ occupation becomes visible. 

The first two decades of Hawai‘i’s statehood was a time in which Kanaka ‘Ōiwi were fighting dozens of other battles aside from Mauna Kea astronomy. These included struggles over Native rights, access to land and resources, -legal protections for cultural practices, and the right to teach ‘Ōiwi children in the Hawaiian language. Contrary to popular (and self-affirming) settler claims, Kanaka ‘Ōiwi in the 1960s and 1970s did not simply ignore the desecration of Mauna Kea or consent to the development of the mountain. Indeed, Hawaiians expressed their dissent in the few public forums available, by writing newspaper editorials, publishing opinion pieces, and speaking out at public events. However, this generation of Hawaiians was also just beginning to develop a sense of community activism and to heal from the despair and self-doubt caused by nearly a century of U.S. colonial occupation and racist settler hegemony.24 What came to be known as the Hawaiian -Renaissance—
a movement inspired by the American civil rights struggles and the antiwar, black, women’s, gay, American Indian, and other social movements of the 1960s—would usher in a new era of Native cultural revitalization in arts, sciences, language, dance, history, and other traditional knowledge as well as a collective pride and self-confidence among younger Kanaka.25 This increasing knowledge of self has resulted in a broad understanding of the systemic injustices under settler colonialism. Since mid-century, the sustained commitment to anticolonial resistance and Indigenous resurgence has only intensified. 

Kanaka ‘Ōiwi researcher and professor of Indigenous politics Noenoe Silva’s discovery of the Kū‘ē petitions (also known as the “anti-annexation petitions”) in U.S. Library of Congress archives in the early 1990s—by which the signatures of thirty-eight thousand Kingdom citizens blocked ratification of two treaty attempts to annex Hawai‘i and forced Congress to violate U.S. constitutional and international laws—gave new meaning to Hawaiian activism. If earlier generations had any doubt their sense of injustice and desire for independence were justified, throughout the 1990s and 2000s Kanaka ‘Ōiwi would gain strength from this new historical understanding. It told young Kanaka that if their ancestors could fight and succeed in defeating legal annex-ation of their country, so could they. Organized opposition to astronomy expansion would build momentum in this climate of increasing Indigenous political consciousness. 


While the first five telescopes were erected with only limited media attention and legal scrutiny, Kanaka were fighting desecrations, settlements, removals, and other battles around the islands. Among them was the struggle to end the U.S. Navy’s bombing of the island of Kaho‘olawe, which it used as target practice for over forty years. While the state of Hawai‘i leased the mountain’s summit lands to the University for a dollar per year, ‘Ōiwi fought the rampant tourism development and the mass evictions that drove thousands from Hawai‘i’s beaches, urban centers, and valleys to locations less desired by settlers, developers, and the state. 

Through the 1990s, as the encroachments and dispossessions become increasingly glaring and intolerable, a collective desire for justice and political transformation grew into the “Hawaiian sovereignty movement.” This history is beyond the scope of the present article, but suffice it to say Kanaka ‘Ōiwi had developed a political consciousness that honored the nineteenth--century kupuna who participated in the Kū‘ē petition drives. The momentum of a 1993 centennial observance of the U.S. invasion that unseated Queen -Lili‘uokalani would build into what Haunani-Kay Trask describes as “the contemporary Hawaiian movement”—a vibrant and decentralized campaign for justice, land, and restoration of independence that persists to this day.26 

It is in this context the University of Hawai‘i found itself struggling to gain popular support for its astronomy franchise that had not been required during the first twenty years of construction on the mountain. While Kanaka ‘Ōiwi were building an activist consciousness and politics of resistance, they were also becoming lawyers, educators, and defenders of sacred lands, eventually turning their attention toward Mauna Kea. In 1998, a damaging state legislative audit found that after thirty years of construction on the mountain, the University of Hawai‘i’s management was “inadequate to ensure the protection of natural resources,” controls were “late and weakly implemented,” historical preservation was “neglected,” and the “cultural value of Mauna Kea was largely unrecognized.”27 A lengthy federal lawsuit against NASA followed and, in 2003, the Keck Outrigger Telescopes project was defeated when U.S. District Court judge Susan Mollway rejected NASA’s environmental assessment for the project because of its failure to adequately address the cumulative impacts of astronomy on Mauna Kea. In 2003, following a contested case hearing, the state’s Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) issued a conservation district use permit that allowed astronomy development to continue without a comprehensive management plan. In 2004, community groups appealed to the Third Circuit Court and, in 2005, state lawmakers ordered a follow-up legislative audit, which found that three decades of astronomy activity had caused “significant, substantial and adverse” harm to the “resources” of the summit. In 2006, state Court of Appeal judge Glenn Hara ruled that no further astronomy development on Mauna Kea may be conducted without approval of a comprehensive management plan by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. NASA then withdrew funding for the Keck Outrigger project and the University of Hawai‘i began work on developing the most comprehensive management plan (CMP) for Mauna Kea to date. The CMP and its four subplans (the public access plan, the natural resources management plan, the cultural resources management plan, and the decommissioning plan ) were thought to cross every “t” and dot every “i” such that it should be almost impossible not to permit the TMT. The thousand-plus-page document proscribes no limits on future astronomy -development. 


To this point, nothing had much interfered with astronomy on the mountain. But now the astronomy community and UH were forced to present themselves as having evolved. They began using the term “cultural sensitivity” in describing how they had turned over a new leaf, reflected on their mistakes, and were now committed to doing the TMT “the right way.” They -embarked on a lengthy and expensive campaign to assuage community concerns about impacts to the environment by committing to “mitigation measures,” actions claiming to offset the anticipated damage to the mountain’s natural, cultural, and historical resources. These measures include establishing a “community benefits package” of $1 million a year to be spent on science education in Hawai‘i schools. They promise to cover the observatory dome with an “aluminum-like coating,” which is supposed to camouflage the structure by reflecting the blue sky. Works by Native Hawaiian artists will hang from interior walls, and select Kānaka ‘Ōiwi have been consulted, with some even sitting on the Kahu Kū Mauna advisory board. 


Moreover, with the Thirty Meter Telescope under serious consideration and their reputation tanking, advocates of astronomy expansion had to disqualify Hawaiians legally while demonstrating they were giving adequate attention to Hawaiian concerns. They adopted a multicultural model of inclusion, locating Hawaiians who believe “a seat at the table” is better than having no say at all. The CMP used Hawaiian language, histories, and culture to help convince the BLNR and the public that the University of -Hawai‘i’s administration and Institute for Astronomy and the TMT Corporation were committed to the strongest stewardship of the mountain ever known. The management plan was meant to demonstrate a newfound sense of cultural awareness, accountability, transparency, and sensitivity toward Native Hawaiians. The rhetoric of inclusion, participation, and recognition characteristic of liberal multiculturalism would become instrumental in casting skepticism on Kanaka ‘Ōiwi activism and the community’s calls for protection of the -mountain. 


In 2009, amid growing protests, the BLNR approved the University of -Hawai‘i’s CMP but denied community requests for a contested case hearing. In 2010, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo applied for a conservation district use permit (CDUP) to build the TMT. The BLNR approved a permit in February 2011, prior to holding a contested case hearing, which was deferred until August. Despite the tenacity of the citizens participating in the contested case—underdogs with no legal expertise facing off against the University’s experienced team of professional lawyers—the BLNR’s final decision to uphold the permit was delivered in April 2013. At the close of the contested case, hearings officer Paul Aoki justified his ruling by suggesting, “The purpose of the conservation district rules is not to prohibit land uses.”28 With prohibition off the table, the state’s role appears to be facilitation of development on ecologically rare and culturally significant lands, the prospect of which undermines the mandate of the Department of Land and Natural Resources to conserve conservation lands. Nevertheless, Hawai‘i’s Supreme Court rescinded the CDUP in 2015 because of the BLNR’s failure to observe due process. In the court’s opinion, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald wrote, “Quite simply, the board put the cart before the horse when it issued the permit before the request for a contested case hearing was resolved and the hearing was held.”29


Notwithstanding Hawai‘i’s often-progressive judicial actions, the alignment of state agencies, private capital, and big science suggests that the neoliberalization of governance in Hawai‘i, coupled with the ideology of liberal multiculturalism, operationalizes settler colonialism. It also suggests that, far from defending the rights, sovereignty, or claims of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi, legal discourse within multicultural society functions to contain them. Native culture, language, and histories are valued only insofar as they affirm the settler state’s commitment to capital and its authority to govern. Also disturbing, though not surprising, is how the tension between its agencies and courts reveals the settler state’s inability to resolve its inherent contradiction—that is, its commitment to both capitalism and Kanaka ‘Ōiwi. In my interview with kumu hula, educator, and contested case petitioner Pua Case, I learned of the frustration she and her colleagues experienced in the struggle to protect Mauna a Wākea from future development. She expressed the pain of hearing University officials describe their concern for the mountain as a sacred site, a rare and fragile ecosystem, and cultural monument: “I think the parts that make me sad is when they say things about how they know the mountain is sacred to us, or important and significant. That they realize there is cultural significance and how much they love that mountain. And in the next breath [they say], ‘But we’re still going to build on it.’ When you talk to two sides like that, that makes me sad because it’s then I know that we still have a long way to go.”30 The disregard for the sense of injury experienced by Hawaiians caused by astronomy expansion on Mauna Kea is a reflection of the continued disavowal of American settler colonialism in Hawai‘i more broadly. 

Disavowal, Settler Colonialism, and Kanaka Indigeneity


Because Native Hawaiians continue to assert claims to lands expropriated from the Hawaiian Kingdom and a state sovereignty that never legally ended, Native activism, bodies, and desire for self-determination have become a constant foil to the state’s neoliberal vision of Hawai‘i. For this reason, the state endeavors to manage that opposition by fashioning Native claims as retrograde and irrelevant. One method has been to promote the touristic -image of Hawai‘i as an alluring visitor destination and racial melting pot, and to depict Hawaiians as a hospitable “host culture.” The multicultural distortion obscures the historical grounds for sovereign claims by reducing Kanaka ‘Ōiwi to a “minority” status. As Judy Rohrer notes, the racialization of indigeneity through U.S. law “renders indigenous claims inarticulable . . . while simultaneously normalizing white settler subjectivity by insisting on a -color-blind ideology, an ideology based on ignoring historical and institutional white privilege.”31 In multiculturalism’s strategic racialization of Indigenous land claims, Hawaiians are imagined as just another disadvantaged group vying for minority rights, one whose call for protection of historically situated Native rights becomes trivialized and recast as “special rights.”32 Any deviation from the roles to which Hawaiians are assigned poses a threat to the state’s image within neoliberal modernity as capable of rational governance. For this reason, discrediting Kanaka indigeneity becomes a central concern of the state. 


Consider a speech by former governor Neil Abercrombie delivered to the Kohala Chamber of Commerce in 2009. In his attempt to ease investor concerns in the face of Hawaiian opposition to the TMT, Abercrombie stated the project “will move forward. There will be no more obstruction from someone who found their cultural roots six minutes ago.”33 Here, Abercrombie dismisses Kanaka articulations of indigeneity and cultural praxis as invented and political as a means of affirming the state’s commitment to neoliberal capital. In his 2014 state-of-the-state address, Abercrombie described Mauna Kea as “Hawai‘i’s gift to the world,”34 echoing former University president M. R. C. Greenwood’s 2011 UH announcement in which she also characterized the mountain as “a gift to all the people of Hawai‘i.”35 As a discursive strategy this multicultural rhetoric is productive. It suggests Kanaka activism is irrational and opportunistic, while distorting Indigenous claims to land, nationhood, and sovereignty as excessive, reactionary, and aggressive rather than historically situated. A sense of settler victimhood is also suggested by the simultaneous vilification of Indigenous activism and recoding of contested lands as belonging to “all of Hawai‘i’s people.” Multiculturalism succeeds in containing indigeneity by leveling difference, dehistoricizing context, and depoliticizing the social relations by which native-ness holds any distinct -significance.


Differentiated “from other forms of colonialism” and by its “singular -focus” on accumulating land, Audra Simpson explains, “colonialism survives in a settler form.”36 Patrick Wolfe argues that “territoriality is settler colonialism’s specific, irreducible element.”37 Settlers are no transient visitors; they come for good. And unlike colonial forms in Africa and Asia, under settler -colonization “invasion is a structure,” not an event.38 As a sustained process, an equally central objective is to deracinate Native inhabitants from these territories. Thus, at its core is a foundational logic of elimination. 


However, elimination is only an objective, not an outcome, however close it may come in particular instances. Because Indigenous peoples remain and have the capacity to refuse inclusion, recognition, reconciliation, or displacement, Simpson adds, settler colonialism “fails at what it is supposed to do: eliminate Indigenous people; take all their land; absorb them into a white, property-owning body politic.”39 For as long as the Native continues to exist, settler claims to land and resources remain precarious, haunted by those they have dispossessed. This is its underlying paradox: any final realization of settler colonialism is inherently impossible. Elimination is always already a thwarted desire, despite its tenacity. Facing the presence of the Native subject repressed, settler possession and legitimacy must be made time and again. This explains the constant attacks on Indigenous communities around traditional practices and contemporary expressions of cultural identity, all of which challenge Native authenticity. Obsessed, the state endeavors to achieve its sense of right and belonging through dismissals and disavowals, carrying out practices of replacement through laws and techniques of governance that maintain socioeconomic, racial, and gender hierarchies. 


Settler self-authorization does not always involve explicit displays of force. Indeed, in most contemporary instances it is produced within myriad banal legal mechanisms and the mundane, pragmatic bureaucracies that discipline Indigenous thought and bodies, and that structure anti-Native racisms and other social hierarchies. 


As mentioned above, despite its theoretical utility for understanding this logic of elimination, settler colonialism can only ever be partial. Although it can impose great injury and pain on those it oppresses, settler colonialism is always incomplete and unresolved. Of course, for those who suffer from its hierarchies and violence, colonialism is not an historical anomaly or a system that was overcome by the multicultural state and capitalist democracy at the end of World War II or the United States’ supposed toppling of imperialism. No, colonialism is alive and well, and it exists within foreign settlement and capitalist development on Indigenous lands. As Alyosha Goldstein puts it, “Settler colonialism in what is now the United States changes over time, shifting in disposition variously from accommodation to annihilation to inclusion of Indigenous peoples, while never being reducible to the encounter between ‘settler’ and ‘Native’ positionalities.”40 Even as it structures Indigenous subordination, settler colonialism is also inherently unsustainable, troubled by ruptures, exceptions, and limits to the power it wields over its subjects. Evidence abounds in the settler state’s claims to legitimacy and jurisdiction over Hawai‘i, which become less convincing with each iteration.41 In these fissures there is a potential to transform those structures of dominance that control our mobility, thought, speech, bodies, and ability to determine the fate of our lands and waters. In these openings are windows to imagine other possible futures than those we are living. One central goal of Native and Indigenous studies scholars must be to pry open these rifts—it certainly has been for the grassroots activists willing to fight for the protection of the sacred mountain.



Gender, Tradition, and Modernity


Many critics of the movement to protect Mauna Kea ridiculed the kia‘i for standing against the TMT in what has been viewed as a regressive and overly emotional reaction to something that is ultimately “all about jobs,” education, science, or “coexistence.” In these critiques, the use of coded language resonant with earlier colonial tropes points to the sense of American exceptionalism brought with the U.S. occupation of Hawai‘i. Much of this rhetoric adheres to ideologies of white supremacy under the pretenses of economic -security and scientific discovery. Anti-TMT activism is depicted as an attack on science, while basing that opposition in cultural forms of enviro--spirituality is equated with the anti-scientific dogmatism of biblical creationism. 


Take for example a New York Times article by George Johnson, who claims that Hawaiian “religious fundamentalists” are among the last few left “still waging skirmishes against science.”42 His framing is predicated on the assump-tion that modern capitalist democracies alone have the capacity for rational thought as embodied in Western techno-science. His condescension to the land protectors, whom he describes as “turning back to the dark ages,” builds on two presumptions. The first is Western science’s triumph over tradition, superstition, and dogma, which has historically mistaken technological achievement with biological, cultural, and intellectual superiority.43 The second is the notion of the mind/body distinction, which imagines modern man as overcoming the trappings of bodily desire and emotional weakness, both of which are associated with women.44 I will tend to both. Johnson writes:


This month a group of Native Hawaiians, playing drums and chanting, blocked the road to a construction site near the top of Mauna Kea and stopped the groundbreaking ceremony for the Thirty Meter Telescope. . . . But for the protesters, dressed in ceremonial robes and carrying palm fronds, T.M.T. has a different meaning: “too many telescopes.” For them the mountain is a sacred place where the Sky Father and the Earth Mother coupled and gave birth to the Hawaiian people. They don’t all mean that metaphorically. They consider the telescope—it will be the 14th on Mauna Kea—the latest insult to their gods. Push them too far, the demonstrators warned, and Mauna Kea, a volcano, will erupt in revenge. It can be difficult to tell how motivated such protests are by spiritual outrage and how much by politics. Opposition to the Mauna Kea obser-vatories, which are run by scientists from 11 countries, has been going on for years and is tied inseparably with lingering hostility over colonization and the United States’ annexation of Hawaii in the 19th century. The new telescope is a pawn in a long, losing game.45


It is difficult not to read these passages as the production of a new dogma where science and imperialism are indistinguishable. According to Johnson, Hawaiians simply lost. Native traditionalism lost to European Enlightenment and the inevitable march toward modernity—they should just get over it. Comments like these dismiss Indigenous expressions of pain, outrage, and resentment and recast them as retrograde impulse, reactionary, and irrational. However, as Glen Coulthard reminds us, “What implicitly gets interpreted by the state as Indigenous peoples’ ressentiment—understood as an incapacitating inability or unwillingness to get over the past—is actually an entirely appropriate manifestation of our resentment: a politicized expression of Indigenous anger and outrage directed at a structural and symbolic violence that still structures our lives, our relations with others, and our relationships with land.”46 Johnson’s rhetoric hustles to re-entrench settler legitimacy and white possession. It appeals to the underlying fears of white, masculine entitlement without explicitly naming it. Instead, he constructs a sense of settler victimhood, presumably caused by dangerous, angry, and irrational Natives. In my reading, Johnson does this through two specific steps. First, he suggests the TMT is a noble and universally beneficial project, “designed to see all the way back to the first glimmers of starlight” and representing “a triumph in astronomy’s quest to understand the origin of everything.”47 Next, Johnson instructs us to understand anti-TMT activism as equivalent to an irrational opposition to science by invoking the seventeenth-century persecution of Galileo. He writes, “These days the opposition [to science] comes not from the Vatican, which operates its own observatory, but from a people with very different religious beliefs. . . . It is not just religious fundamentalists who are still waging skirmishes against science.” Johnson continues, writing that today it is “Indian creationists” who obstruct Western rational man’s march toward progress. In other words, Johnson conflates the defense of Mauna Kea with the Roman Catholic Church’s condemnation of Galileo for teaching the theory of heliocentrism. The fiction posits astronomers as victims and Kanaka land defenders as power-hungry Natives. 

When Johnson claims Hawaiians have turned “back toward the dark ages,” he is also enacting a gendered racial ideology grounded in Eurocentric conceptions of modernity. Arguably, his language is not overtly racist or misogynist, but the assumptions implied can be traced to the normative hierarchies that give modernity its meaning. He can associate Hawaiians with all the historical tropes of colonial conquest without recourse to explicitly racist or misogynist language, but instead through implication. Modern man coheres around white hetero-patriarchy but remains “haunted by specters of the feminine and the primitive.”48


According to Catherine Scott, mid-twentieth-century modernization -theorists’ gendered constructions of “an idealized modernity” rationalized prevailing hierarchies structured in male dominance over women by disciplining subject formations available to them. To reinforce the idea of -modern subjects and modernity’s exiles, Scott argues, “constructions of traditional society . . . [mobilized] ideas about women, family, and community that function as points of contrast,” against which the notion of the “rational, forward-looking, male-dominated public sphere” could be imagined.49 Three major themes of these modernization theories stand out. The first is a “presentation of tradition as a bundle of characteristics that also have historically been used to subordinate women and denigrate the social relations associated with females, especially mothers.”50 The second is a “reliance on the public/private distinction in discussions of modernity and tradition,” by which “modernity, rationality, technological progress, and good government are achieved in a public realm inhabited by autonomous men.”51 The third is the reliance on an “evolutionary model of social and political change” in which human development is portrayed as the “struggle for dominance over nature” and presented as analogous to male dominance over women.52 The image of the unreasonable Native obsessed with tradition and fearful of progress invokes these mythologies of modernity that ultimately reproduces racialized and gendered hierarchies.


Sandra Harding also analyzes gendered temporalities embedded in Western notions of modernity, particularly as the category is staged in agonistic binary to tradition. She explains, “Objectivity, rationality, good method, real science, social progress, civilization—the excellence of these and other self-proclaimed modern achievements are all measured in terms of their distance from whatever is associated with the feminine and the primitive.”53 Harding describes how the modernity versus tradition binary posits women and Natives as inherently traditional and thus equally inferior to modern man. In TMT discourses, modernity is gendered masculine and associated with science, law, governance, rational thought, and the public sphere, while tradition is gendered feminine and associated with superstition, religion, family, emotion, and the home. When the binary is invoked, the result is not only the trivialization and discrediting of tradition but also the inversion of subjectivities, such that ‘Ōiwi appear to transgress white possession and masculine authority. 

For example, at the start of the protests in April 2015, UC Berkeley astronomy professor Sandra Faber sent an incendiary e-mail that was forwarded to a listserv of more than two hundred scientists. In that message Faber attempted to garner support for the project and to rally a counterprotest against the kia‘i on the mountain. She did so by inciting fear:


Dear Friends,

The Thirty-Meter Telescope is in trouble, attacked by a horde of native -Hawaiians who are lying about the impact of the project on mountain and who are threatening the safety of TMT personnel. Government officials are supporting TMT’s legality to proceed but not arresting any of the protestors who are blocking the road.54

Of course there were no “attacks,” but Faber’s sentiment points to the persistence of white supremacy in settler modernity. In her construction of settler victimhood, she neglects the history of violence by which Hawai‘i was -acquired by the United States as a white colonial possession. As if the political activities atop Mauna Kea exist in a historical vacuum, Faber, like Johnson, now represents the Native subject as a danger to not only the TMT project, but also civilization itself. Her rhetoric functions to remake settlers as “innocent subjects,” Sherene Razack writes, “standing outside hierarchical -social relations, who are not accountable for the past or implicated in the present.”55 The rush to innocence here resonates with the “new racial ideology” Eduardo Bonilla-Silva describes as “colorblind racism.”56 Any time -Hawaiians stand up to settlers over the protection of sacred places or demand the return of land and resources through community demonstrations, we are said to be “overly emotional” or just “hung up” on the past. Where the expletives of earlier colonial racisms are no longer defensible, dismissals like these must be understood as expressions of multicultural racial ideology. It is a “racism without racists,” the beauty of which, Bonilla-Silva writes, is that “it aids in the maintenance of white privilege without fanfare, without naming those who it subjects and those who it rewards.”57 It re-inscribes the predominant social order in which Indigenous communities are assigned to subordinate positions through the institutional structures that function to reproduce hetero-patriarchal white supremacy: “Shielded by color blindness, whites can express resentment toward minorities; criticize their -morality, values, and work ethic; and even claim to be the victims of ‘reverse racism.’”58


This racism resonates with that of Hiram Bingham, a nineteenth-century leader of the first mission to Hawai‘i. He wrote, “The appearance of destitution, degradation, and barbarism, among the chattering, and almost naked savages . . . was appalling. Some of our number . . . turned away from the spectacle. Others with firmer nerve continued their gaze, but were ready to exclaim, ‘Can these be human beings! How dark and comfortless their state of mind and heart! . . . Can such beings be civilized? Can they be Christianized?59 Both Faber and Bingham’s characterizations of Hawaiians dehumanize the Native subject as a path to self-authorization. When the images of the angry, militant Hawaiian or the ignorant, heathen savage are invoked today, the implication is not only that Hawaiians are immoral, irrational, and anti--science, but also that we are not even human at all. 


In examining “genres of the human,” Alexander Weheliye explains how “visual modalities of dehumanization” function to produce modern selfhood. Western society constructs a liberal humanist conception of man through -racializing assemblages wherein “a conglomerate of sociopolitical relations . . . disciplines humanity into full humans, not-quite-humans, and nonhumans.”60 Examples can be found in early colonial encounters where the conflation of technological achievement and human worth functioned to -expel the Native from the categories of rationality and civility. Constructions of modern man reinforce the inside from which the Native is expelled, signaling a threshold and outside to modernity. 

Inclusion might seem to remedy the problem of exclusion; however, I argue the problem is not exclusion, but instead how settler subjecthood comes to signify humanity and draws the limits of modernity from which Kanaka ‘Ōiwi are in permanent exile. The problem for Hawaiians is not one of access to the field of astronomy or the legal process, but how Western law, science, and the state together control the ways humanity is imagined in the first place. 


A Fictive Kinship and Other Appropriations

The image of an obsolete, antimodern, and irrational Hawaiian resonates with two other, but interrelated stereotypes—the vanishing Indian and the uncivilized Native—which originate in the Doctrine of Discovery. As Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz explains, “From the mid-fifteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, most of the non-European world was colonized under the Doctrine of Discovery, one of the first principles of international law Christian European monarchies promulgated to legitimize investigating, mapping, and claiming lands belonging to peoples outside Europe.”61 The work of the myth of discovery was to create a legal and moral justification around which to rationalize American conquest of Indigenous communities and settler colonization of Native lands. One effect has been to undermine and interrupt the thousands of years of Native presence on lands that precedes European colonization. This has been done, in part, by distorting the histories and cultures of Indigenous peoples through naming practices that rendered Euro-American settlement as the inevitable triumph of rational and scientific modernity over “savage” tradition.62 Today, these discourses of civilization have become so taken for granted they are invoked in settler--colonial laws governing American Indians without explicit citation. They also proliferate in film, literature, and other popular cultural forms as if they are simply naming the historical truth of Native inferiority.63 The persistence of these myths, as justification for theft of Indigenous lands and settler belonging, renders any grievance of Indigenous communities as anachronistic, unreasonable, and -invalid. 

In terms of U.S. governance over Indigenous communities in the nineteenth century, the Doctrine of Discovery was particularly effective in the “Marshall trilogy.”64 As Joanne Barker notes, the set of three pivotal -Supreme Court decisions “provided the first substantive definition of sovereignty for American Indians by the U.S. judiciary and subsequently served to establish precedence for the trust relationship between the U.S. federal government and American Indian tribes (and, since 1972, Alaskan Native villages and, since 1920, Native Hawaiians).”65 It is on the precedence of these U.S. court decisions and the racializing hierarchies they created that the state of Hawai‘i’s own trust relationship with Native Hawaiians is based. The Marshall trilogy formed the ground on which the fiction of white possession through “discovery” of Indigenous territories would be rationalized and -“title” could be imagined. By invoking ideologies of civilization and enforcing its boundaries, American settlers also rendered Native peoples inferior and illegitimate. Like modernity, civilization has always been arbitrarily defined as an exclusive domain of Christian European peoples. According to the ideologies of discovery, civilization, and modernity, though tragic, Native death is -inevitable. 

Along with the collective indifference to Native genocide and the naturalization of white settler subjectivity it produces, today, multicultural settler society treats Indians as ungrievable. The logic suggests that because Indians lost, they should just get over it. Yet, even within those liberal multicultural spaces in which the “colonization and genocide of American Indians is a truth almost universally acknowledged,” that violence is simultaneously “effaced and deferred.”66 As Jodi Byrd argues, “Indigenous peoples are located outside temporality and presence, even in the face of the very present and ongoing colonization of indigenous lands, resources, and lives.”67 The simultaneous presenting and absenting of Native peoples in law does not so much obscure histories of colonial violence as posit them to be irrelevant to contemporary claims to land and sovereignty. In these ways, liberal multiculturalism renders “indigenous peoples lamentable victims whose case is unactionable.”68 Within the teleologies of settler multiculturalism, land and memory are cleared of Natives, settler sovereignty is invented by settler laws, and Natives, though fascinating and unknowable figures, are little more than relics of the past.


In Hawai‘i, these tropes loom over land use and Native rights issues. Kanaka ‘Ōiwi are both necessary and necessarily a threat to settler society. Tourism needs Hawaiians, but only in a manageable form. The case of Mauna a Wākea and the TMT serves as a mirror of that ambivalence—a reflection of the simultaneous disavowal of Kanaka indigeneity and fetishization of -Hawaiian bodies, culture, and language. Paradoxically, Hawaiians are a threat to settler coherence and a conduit through which settler legitimacy may be achieved. Just as the trope of the vanishing Native relegates American Indians to obsolescence and thereby clears space for settler belonging, discourses on “ancient Hawaiians” function to contain Kanaka indigeneity temporally, by confining their legitimacy to the past where it can affect neither contemporary land use decisions nor the myths of Native inferiority on which settler governance is based. As “archeological artifacts,”69 Hawaiians may be celebrated as curios of the past in popular discourses, but rendered ineffectual because of their eviction from modernity. 

Take, for example, an early Mauna Kea Master Plan summary in which former Keck Observatory directory Fredrick Chaffee was quoted saying, “After all, the ancient Hawaiians were among the first great astronomers, using the stars to guide them among the islands in the vast Pacific, centuries before anyone else had developed such skill. Long before Europeans and mainlanders, Hawaiian astronomers were studying the heavens with awe and wonder, the same feelings that draw modern astronomers to study the heavens. At this very deep level, I feel we are brothers and sisters.”70 Chaffee’s statement imagines a fictive kinship that recodes dispossession as inheritance by inventing a temporal hierarchy that both racializes and genders difference. Through comparison with “modern astronomers,” the move at once recognizes and trivializes Kanaka ‘Ōiwi scientific achievements, rendered interesting but expired. The logic of this rhetoric imagines astronomers as heirs to Hawai‘i and Mauna a Wākea by constructing a modernity within a linear temporality in which -“ancient Hawaiians”—“long before” and “centuries” ago—are obsolete and thus inferior. As discussed above, the prevailing ethnocentrism of this view associates Hawaiians with the primitive and the feminine. These categories are antagonistic to a conception of modernity based on hierarchized binary forms wherein the Native subject is backward (vs. forward) looking, provincial (vs. worldly), narrow (vs. broad) minded, emotional (vs. intellectual), fearful (vs. embracing) of technology, impulsive (vs. contemplative), passive (vs. -active), et cetera. This mythology of modernity rationalizes the hierarchies that underpin the settler social order and structure male dominance over women as a conditional logic of own possibility. Chaffee’s ostensible celebration of ‘Ōiwi scientific achievements, therefore, serves as a gloss to naturalize the idea of another telescope. However, in the process the move obscures the TMT’s role in the ongoing colonization of Hawai‘i. Here, Hawaiians are frozen in time—legitimate only insofar as we remain at odds with modernity. As Sherene Razack writes, “The definition of a successful settler project is when the indigenous population has been reduced to a ‘manageable remnant.’”71 The legal records, court briefs, witness testimonies, legislation, and derivative “official” discourses of the state collectively “tell the story of a pre-modern people encountering and losing out to a more advanced and superior race.”72 Thereby, “the settler and the settler state are both constituted as modern and exemplary in their efforts to assist Indigenous people’s entry into modernity.”73 Settler subjectivity hinges on this relationship with Native peoples.


In another example, settler selfhood and belonging are again fashioned through a cultural appropriation mobilized through the episodes of speculative fiction. The same 2000 UH Master Plan summary features a quote by Hawai‘i’s monarch, Mō‘ī David La‘amea Kalākaua, in which he addresses a British expedition of astronomers dispatched to the Kingdom of Hawai‘i to observe the rare transit of Venus in 1874. The Master Plan summary gives the impression that Kalākaua’s support for the transit expedition indicates support for the TMT. In the document, titled “Voices and Visions of Mauna Kea,” the Kalākaua quote reads as follows: “It will afford me unfeigned satisfaction if my kingdom can add its quota toward the successful accomplishment of the most important astronomical observation of the present century and assist, however humbly, the enlightened nations of the earth in these costly enterprises.”74 Recasting Kalākaua as an advocate of the project to expand industrial development on Mauna Kea today, over 130 years later, is a novel idea, but misleading. Far from anticipating contemporary ground-based -astronomy and large-scale observatories on Mauna Kea, the objectives of the mission were rather modest. It was one of five British expeditions sent to different locations around the world to observe the transit of Venus across Earth’s view of the sun, the data of which was to assist in the development of a more precise measurement of the scale of the solar system. Published in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser in 1874, the quote is from a letter in which Kalākaua welcomed the expedition, expressed genuine appreciation for their work, and offered the Kingdom’s logistical support. Yet this context is absent in the Master Plan. 


Kalākaua was encouraging not the development of telescopes on Mauna Kea, but the “costly enterprises to establish the basis of astronomical distances.”75 He was supporting four or five portable telescopes in Honolulu, none bigger than ten feet long, and all temporarily positioned for the single event. No permanent telescope was proposed for Mauna Kea. Yet the omission of reference to the transit of Venus serves as a contribution to the colonial rewriting of the history of sciences in Hawai‘i. As Noenoe Silva explains, “Colonial historiography . . . does not simply rationalize the past and suppress the knowledge of the oppressed,” it recasts that knowledge with ellipses, transpositions, and re-contextualizations to suit the historical narrative that affirms the requisite hegemony.76 


The deployment of history to draw connections between earlier events and their relevance to issues today is not in and of itself a harmful practice. However, when the implication is made that Native historical figures, unable to speak for themselves, would support today’s monumental techno-science on Mauna Kea, the discourse naturalizes the settler-colonial replacement of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi by rationalizing the idea that settlers can also be heirs to the mountain, and to Hawai‘i. No, Kanaka Maoli and astronomers are not -“brothers and sisters” within this fictive kinship that imagines the expropriation of Indigenous lands and desecration of sacred sites as a destiny and desire of the Hawaiian people. 

Our Worlds


In this article I have challenged settler framings of Kanaka indigeneity that cast protectionist activism against industrial development on sacred sites as antiscience, atavistic, and irrational. To do this, I have analyzed the reasons Hawaiians have put everything on the line to protect what is sacred within Indigenous thought worlds, onto-cosmologies, and cultural praxis. I have also interrogated the gendered and racialized hierarchies that underpin the ideologies of modernity and enforce a concept of humanity from which Kanaka ‘Ōiwi are exiled. 


So I return to the question: What can the struggle over Mauna a Wākea teach us about settler colonialism more broadly? In my view, Mauna a Wākea is about much more than just another telescope, the ability to observe the origins of the universe, the discovery of other worlds, progress, or prestige. At its core, Mauna a Wākea is about power. It is a struggle over meaning and its making; about asserting new relationships to the land, new criteria for legitimacy, new modes of belonging, and new meanings to be ascribed to the sacred, the natural, and what it is to be human. It is about the ways in which the settler state achieves cultural legitimacy from the ideological currency afforded to science as a voice of reason and providing a path toward universal truths about “our world.” It is about the techniques of governance by which Kanaka ‘Ōiwi claims to land, sovereignty, and independence remain in perpetual deferral. How are we to understand the controversy over Mauna a Wākea and the TMT if we fail to identify or accept the context in which this battle is being waged; if we fail to critically analyze settler-colonization -under U.S. occupation? Indeed, contrary to statements frequently made by influential figures, many of whom are Kānaka Maoli and community leaders, there is no “getting past colonialism,” particularly when it continues to structure our everyday lives. 


To Kanaka ‘Ōiwi the land is paramount because it is fundamental to our indigeneity. Indeed, Mauna a Wākea is more than just a list of physical attributes; it is our kin. As our kupuna are buried in the soil, our ancestors become the land that grows our food and the dust we breathe. Kanaka ‘Ōiwi understand ourselves to be descendants and siblings of the land. As Ty Kāwika Tengan reminds us, while the bones of our ancestors are buried in “the same land that feeds [our] families and waits for [our] bones to be replanted by [our] descendants,” we are birthed of the land in both a metaphorical and a material sense.77 This is why Mauna a Wākea is sacred to ‘Ōiwi. The knowledge of our genealogies, rooted in the land itself and linking us together as family, lies at the heart of our aloha ‘āina, our love for the land. 


At the time of this writing, a second contested case hearing has just concluded after nearly five months. The kia‘i fighting this battle within the legal space of the state are in an ambivalent position. On one hand, to stop the desecration of the mauna, our movement requires everyone to contribute to the struggle; no venue is irrelevant or inconsequential. So ‘Ōiwi must continue to fight for the protection of our sacred sites, be it with our words in the courtroom or our bodies at thirteen thousand feet above sea level. Yet, on the other hand, in participating in forums controlled by the state and under the plenary power of the United States, a tacit concession is made, however complex and nuanced that decision may be. This fundamental bind is that to participate in the laws of the state is to recognize its authority over us. Yet, we cannot not participate, because to do so would only encourage continued desecration and industrial development of our ‘āina. I believe it is in such ambivalence that we find settler colonialism’s ruptures, cracks, and fissures. In the contradictions of structured violence, Kanaka are unstoppable—though success is not always obvious or total. It is also the responsibility of every kia‘i to exploit these ruptures, to pry them further open, and to thwart settler colonialism’s ambition to replace Kanaka Maoli and eliminate our claims to independence, self-determination, and sovereignty. 

The story of Mauna a Wākea is about so much more than telescopes and stars, science versus religion, or coexisting under the terms of the settler state. Indeed, Mauna a Wākea is a story about the future we imagine for ourselves and our ancestral homelands. 


Iokepa Casumbal-Salazar is a UCLA President’s Postdoctoral Fellow.




 1. I use the terms Mauna Kea and Mauna a Wākea interchangeably throughout this article. In reference to the Indigenous people of Hawai‘i, I use Kanaka ‘Ōiwi (Native), Kanaka Maoli (real people, i.e., Native), Native Hawaiian, and -Hawaiian. Finally, for kanaka (person, people, Hawaiian, subject, population), I use kānaka for the plural (as with a countable number) and kanaka for the singular and the category, the generic. 

 2. See Patrick Wolfe, “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the -Native,” Journal of Genocide Research 8, no. 4 (2006): 387–409; Patrick Wolfe, Settler Colonialism and the Transformation of Anthropology: The Politics and Poetics of an Ethnographic Event (New York: Cassell, 1999).

 3. Manulani Meyer, Director of Indigenous Education at University of -Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu, quoted in Lander and Puhipau, Mauna Kea: Temple under Siege (2006). 

 4. This point must be contextualized in the broader issue of federal recognition. In the last several years the U.S. Department of the Interior has been advocating for a process in which it would facilitate a “government-to-government relationship” between Native Hawaiians and the United States, a process that is touted as a best path toward restoring a degree of self-determination and protecting Hawaiian rights and entitlements. However, it has been hotly contested for its underlying ambition to seal a final land settlement and obtain the necessary, though currently unachieved, legal jurisdiction (i.e., title) over Hawai‘i. Although such an examination is beyond the purposes of this article, suffice to say, the struggle over Mauna Kea and how the controversy is to be represented is best understood in the broader context of settler colonialism.

 5. The heading above is a lyric from the mele hānau (birth chant) composed in 1813 for Kauikeaouli, the newborn son of Kamehameha I, titled “No Kalani ‘Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III,’” also known as “Hānau a Hua Ka Lani” and “Mele Hānau no Kauikeaouli.” It may be translated as “This is the royal offspring of night borne by Kea.” See Mary Kawena Pukui and Alfons L. Korn, ed. and trans., The Echo of Our Song (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1973), 12–28.

 6. ku‘ualoha ho‘omanawanui, Voices of Fire: Reweaving the Literary Lei of Pele and Hi‘iaka (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014); Noenoe K. Silva, The Power of the Steel-Tipped Pen: Reconstructing Native Hawaiian Intellectual History (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2017).

 7. Noenoe K. Silva, Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2004), 11.

 8. Silva, Power of the Steel-Tipped Pen, 191.

 9. See Mary Kawena Pukui, E. W. Haertig, and Catherine A. Lee, Nānā I Ke Kumu (Look to The Source), vol. 2 (Honolulu: Hui Hānai, an Auxiliary of the Queen Lili‘uokalani Children’s Center, 1972), 293–94.

10. This is according to the Lindsey family of Waimea as recorded by Kepā Maly. See Kepā Maly, Mauna Kea Science Reserve and Hale Pōhaku Complex Development Plan Update: Oral History and consultation Study, and Archival Literature Research, Appendix E: Limited Overview of the Hawai‘i Loa Traditions (-Honolulu: Prepared for Group 70 International, 1999), B-14.

11. Waiau is the only alpine lake in all of Oceania. Historically, to bathe in its fresh waters was an act of great significance for ali‘i (ruling monarchs) seeking the spiritual affirmation of one’s right to rule as well as the mana (divine strength and mindfulness) to lead the Lāhui in a way that is pono (correct, upright, and in balance with the true condition of nature). 

12. According to oral comments recorded by Kepā Maly given by panel participants Emma Kauhi, Leina‘ala Teves, Pua Kanahele, and Larry Kimura at
UH-Hilo on December 1, 1998, “Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are both considered to be -kupuna; the first born, and are held in high esteem.” See Maly, Mauna Kea Science Reserve and Hale Pōhaku Complex Development Plan Update, B-14. 

13. Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, Nānā I Ke Kumu, 294.

14. Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel H. Elbert, Hawaiian Language Dictionary, rev. ed. (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1986), 169; Katrina-Ann R. Kapā‘anaokalāokeola Nākoa Oliveira, Ancestral Places: Understanding Kanaka Geographies (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2014), 50–51.

15. There is some disagreement about the highest regions of the mauna, as some describe them as “wao akua” (a region believed to be inhabited only by spirits). See Pukui and Elbert, Hawaiian Language Dictionary, 382.

16. The Keck Observatory consists of twin telescopes with primary mirrors measuring ten meters in diameter, making them not only among the largest telescopes in the world, but also among the most productive.

17. General Lease No. S-4191. 2,033 acres were removed from the UH Management Areas and placed within the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve in 1998. The lease now encompasses 11,288 acres of state land.

18. The “Mauna Kea Plan” was approved in 1977; however, far from a “management plan,” this document addressed the technical aspects of research facilities and not the concerns of environmentalists or ‘Ōiwi. 

19. See the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, Final Environmental Impact Statement, Vol. 1: Thirty Meter Telescope Project, Island of Hawai‘i (May 8, 2010).

20. Initially, only “native Hawaiians”—those of 50 percent blood quantum as defined in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921—were covered under the Statehood Act. HHCA defines “native Hawaiian” as “any descendant of not less than one-half part of the blood of the races inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands previous to 1778.” See U.S. Congress, 1921, House, Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of July 9, 1921, 67th Cong., 1st sess. C42, 42 Stat 108. Since the mid-1970s, “Native Hawaiian” began appearing in U.S. congressional legislation in reference to those whose blood quantum is below 50 percent. The Apology Resolution, signed into U.S. law by Bill Clinton in 1993, defines “Native Hawaiian” as “any individual who is a descendent of the aboriginal people who, prior to 1778, occupied and exercised sovereignty in the area that now constitutes the State of Hawai‘i.” The racialization of Kanaka ‘Ōiwi into these two categories not only divides the community into those with access to homestead lands and those without; it also trivializes the significance of Kanaka indigeneity while normalizing the fiction that is the “State of Hawai‘i.” Today, the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs recognizes both “native Hawaiians” and “Native Hawaiians” as the aboriginal people of Hawai‘i; the Department of Hawaiian Homelands continues to provide entitlements only to “native Hawaiians.” In a 1959 referendum, the Territory of Hawaii was made a “state” when Hawai‘i residents, predominantly non-Hawaiians, voted for “admission” into the American union. While the only other option to “statehood” was to remain a U.S. territory, many Kānaka ‘Ōiwi refused to vote at all. Independence, self-determination, and decolonization were off the table, and justice deferred.

21. The term “ceded” is a misnomer, as control over these Crown and government lands was assumed following an attempted coup by this illegitimate group of traitors whose arrest of Queen Lili‘uokalani and removal of her cabinet were made possible only by the armed assistance of United States Naval Marines—who have not since left Hawai‘i and continue to occupy the islands in violation of international law. See Tom Coffman, Nation Within: The Story of America’s -Annexation of the Nation of Hawai‘i (Kāne‘ohe, Hawai‘i: Epicenter, 1999); and Jon M. Van Dyke, Who Owns the Crown Lands of Hawai‘i? (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 2008); Keanu Sai, “The American Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom: Beginning the Transition from Occupied to Restored State” (Ph.D. diss., University of Hawai‘i, 2008).

22. See Public Law 56-331, the Hawaiian Organic Act, April 30, 1900. Although the rich history of nineteenth-century activism falls outside the scope of this article, I will mention that it was Kanaka resistance which eventually blocked two attempts at a legal annexation of Hawai‘i to the United States, a point I return to later in the article. As a result, the U.S. government passed the “Newland’s Resolution,” which was used to obscure that legal impossibility. As Keanu Sai argues, today’s military occupation of Hawai‘i and the act of Congress on which it is based are violations of international and U.S. constitutional law. See Sai, “American Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom.” In the interest of the stated objectives of this article, I have chosen not to provide a critical analysis of the implications of a strategic or ontological adherence to state-centered legal discourses as an means to end the U.S. occupation of Hawai‘i or to achieve decolonization, although I believe such work is necessary.

23. See “An Act to Provide a Government for the Territory of Hawaii,” -Hawai‘i State Legislature, April 30, 1900 (C 339, 31 Stat 141). For analysis of some of the effects of statehood on Hawaiians, see Haunani-Kay Trask, From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai‘i, rev. ed. (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1999). 

24. On the legal impossibility of U.S. jurisdiction in Hawai‘i, see Sai, “American Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom.” Sai explains how, without a treaty of annexation, the internal legal mechanism by which the United States asserts legal jurisdiction over the Hawaiian Kingdom is a legal fiction, despite its material consequences. Though it lies outside the scope of this article, it should also be noted the Hawaiian Kingdom was a recognized state within the League of Nations, the predecessor to the United Nations, evidenced by dozens of treaties with other states, including five with the United States and over ninety legations and consulates throughout the world.

25. For a particularly insightful collection of scholarship on this history of struggle and Indigenous resurgence, see Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua, Ikaika Hussey, and Erin Kahunawaika‘ala Wright, eds., A Nation Rising: Hawaiian Movements for Life, Land, and Sovereignty (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2014).

26. See Haunani-Kay Trask, “The Birth of the Modern Hawaiian Movement: Kalama Valley, O‘ahu,” Hawaiian Journal of History 21 (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1987): 126–53, which surveys the events in a key period in grassroots Kanaka activism and political awakening involving mass protests against the eviction of families and farmers in east O‘ahu’s Kalama Valley, where a California-style suburban neighborhood was planned.

27. Office of the Auditor, State of Hawai‘i, “Audit of the Management of Mauna Kea and the Mauna Kea Science Reserve,” Summary Report No. 98-6 (1998), http://lrbhawaii.info/reports/legrpts/auditor/1998/scr109_97.pdf.

28. State of Hawai‘i, Department of Land and Natural Resources, DLNR File No. HA-11-05, “Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Decision and Order” (April 12, 2013), 92. 

29. See SCAP-14-0000873 (Supreme Court of the State of Hawai‘i, December 2, 2015). 

30. Pua Case, interview by author on September 22, 2012, Waimea, Hawai‘i.

31. Judy Rohrer, Staking Claim: Settler Colonialism and Racialization in -Hawai‘i (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2016), 107.

32. Such was the case in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the landmark Rice v. Cayetano case. See J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2008); and Rohrer, Staking Claim.

33. West Hawai‘i Today, April 1, 2012. 

34. Neal Abercrombie, “2014 State of the State Address,” http://dhhl.hawaii

35. “UH Update: Monthly Report from President M. R. C. Greenwood, UH System News,” March 2011, http://www.hawaii.edu/offices/op/reports/march2011

36. Audra Simpson, Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life across the Borders of Settler States (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2014), 19, 7.

37. Wolfe, “Settler Colonialism and the Elimination of the Native,” 388.

38. Ibid., 390.

39. Simpson, Mohawk Interruptus, 7–8.

40. Alyosha Goldstein, ed., Formations of United States Colonialism (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2014), 9. 

41. Again, see Sai, “American Occupation of the Hawaiian Kingdom.”

42. George Johnson, “Seeking Stars, Finding Creationism,” New York Times, October 20, 2014. 

43. See Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000); Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage, 1994).

44. See Elizabeth V. Spelman, “Woman as Body: Ancient and Contemporary Views,” Feminist Studies 8, no. 1 (1982): 109–31.

45. Johnson, “Seeking Stars, Finding Creationism.” 

46. Glen Sean Coulthard, Red Skin, White Masks: Rejecting the Colonial Politics of Recognition (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014), 109.

47. Johnson, “Seeking Stars, Finding Creationism.” 

48. Sandra Harding, Sciences from Below: Feminisms, Postcolonialities, and Modernities (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2011), 3.

49. Catherine V. Scott, “Tradition and Gender in Modernization Theory,” in The Postcolonial Science and Technology Studies Reader, ed. Sandra Harding (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2011), 290.

50. Ibid.

51. Ibid., 291.

52. Ibid.

53. Harding, Sciences from Below, 3.

54. Janet Stemwedel, “Desirous of a Telescope, Team Science Struggles with the Practical Details of Sharing a World,” Storify, 2015, https://storify.com

55. Sherene H. Razack, Looking White People in the Eye: Gender, Race, and Culture in Courtrooms and Classrooms (Toronto: University of Toronto Press 1998), 10.

56. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Racism without Racists: Colorblind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), 2.

57. Ibid., 3–4.

58. Ibid., 4.

59. Hiram Bingham, A Residence of Twenty-One Years in the Sandwich Islands: Or the Civil, Religious, and Political History of Those Islands (Hartford, Conn.: Hezekiah Huntington, 1848).

60. Alexander Weheliye, Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2014), 4. 

61. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (Boston: Beacon Press, 2014) 199.

62. Jean M. O’Brien, Firsting and Lasting: Writing Indians Out of Existence in New England (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010).

63. For a discursive analysis of these tropes found in cinema, see Jacquelyn Kilpatrick, Celluloid Indians: Native Americans and Film (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999).

64. These are Johnson v. McIntosh (1823), Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831), and Worcester v. Georgia (1832). See Joanne Barker, “For Whom Sovereignty Matters,” in Sovereignty Matters: Locations of Contestation and Possibility in Indigenous Struggles for Self-Determination, ed. Joanne Barker (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005), 1–32.

65. Ibid., 6.

66. Jodi A. Byrd, Transit of Empire: Indigenous Critiques of Colonialism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011), 6.

67. Ibid., 6.

68. Ibid., 165.

69. Here I use Rohrer’s characterization in Staking Claim.

70. Fredric Chaffee, quoted in University of Hawai‘i, “Voices and Visions of Mauna Kea,” Mauna Kea Science Reserve Master Plan and Implementation Process Summary (2000).

71. Sherene H. Razack, Dying from Improvement: Inquests and Inquiries into Indigenous Deaths in Custody (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015), 5.

72. Ibid., 4.

73. Ibid., 6.

74. Kawika Kalākaua quoted in University of Hawai‘i, “Voices and Visions of Mauna Kea,” Mauna Kea Science Reserve Master Plan and Implementation Process Summary (2000).

75. Pacific Commercial Advertiser, September 19, 1874, quoted in Michael Chauvin, Hōkūloa: The British 1874 Transit of Venus Expedition to Hawai‘i (Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 2004), 198–99.

76. Silva, Aloha Betrayed, 9.

77. Ty P. Kāwika Tengan, Native Men Remade: Gender and Nation in Contemporary Hawai‘i (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2008), 25.