(Photo credit for image above: @protectmaunakea (Instagram)
A personal essay By Me Fuimaono-Poe, FNP-BC
Let me start by introducing myself; my name is Me Fuimaono-Poe. I am the daughter of Matai Ali’i (high chief) Fuimaono, Sialao (Pulemagafa) (Salani, Falealili Upolu) and Helen Borton (Independence, Mo.). Granddaughter of Matai Ali’i Bishop Fuimaono,Lene (Salani, Falealili Upolu) and Paese Faleafine (Vaitogi), our Taupo is Tamasailau. We are one of the largest Samoan families in the US andat last count the Mateo, and Peiu Fuimaono family (Salani, Falealili Upolu) stood at 1096 (2018).
We are from a Christian nation; my family is Mormon. As a Christian, imagine if we knew the exact spot of the Garden of Eden. Some have theorized it is in modern-day Mesopotamia or located by the Tigris or Euphrates river. Some believe it is Adam-Andi-Ahman located in Missouri. Whatever your belief if you knew the exact location would you fight to protect it?
Hawaiians have a creation story; it is told in the Kumulipo in this story the genesis of their people is very clearly defined. Mauna Kea is their Garden of Eden. It the highest point in Polynesia, and the largest mountain in the world. For many Hawaiians this Mauna is sacred and a temple.
The thirty-meter telescope (TMT) is a project backed by several international bodies from Canada, Japan, China, and the US. This telescope would be 18 stories high and take up 8 acres. This telescope would be the largest on Mauna Kea and would significantly impact not only spiritual practices, but the environment itself. This project (as of July 2019) is not fully bonded, meaning if they run out of funding the Hawaii taxpayers would have to pay to complete it (think rail).
Why should we as Samoans resist this project and stand with our Hawaiian relatives? First off, like many Samoan Americans, our journey to becoming American started here in Hawaii. According to Census data, the largest population of Samoans in the US are in Honolulu and California.
We have called Hawaii home for many generations (four for my family). We, as Polynesians, must support each other. Let us not forget that the Bayonet Constitution was signed after King Kalakaua met with our king Malietoa to create an official agreement amongst the Polynesian nations. We are the children of the Mau movement.
I went to the front line this week. I am a Nurse Practitioner and went as a medic. I saw people of all ages, from all social and religious backgrounds brave cold temperatures (20 to 30 degrees) and the searing heat of the day. The elders sat at the front lines for three days under pop tents only to be arrested by a police force protecting a corporation. Imagine your mothers, grandmothers, fathers, uncles being taken away by force to protect a corporation. If that doesn’t hurt your fatu, I don’t know what will.
Not everyone can join the frontlines, but there are still plenty of ways to help share posts to raise awareness.
Here’s how you can donate money to the frontlines:
Hawaii Community Bail Fund: http://hawaiicommunitybailfund.org/
Mauna Medics: https://www.target.com/gift-registry/giftgiver?registryId=4a2262f507f749ad91f74624767463f0&type=GENERIC&occasionType=OTHER&fbclid=IwAR3O5vBoVzZZ2NFxASMTmOVwgUaKLDx1b–cHyy0uucqHeV7HVSExjxKKfg
1. Garden of Eden: https://www.jstor.org/stable/528684?seq=2#metadata_info_tab_contents
2. Adam-Andi-Ahman: http://emp.byui.edu/satterfieldb/quotes/Adam-ondi-Ahman.html
4. Mauna Kea Largest mountain in the world: https://geology.com/records/highest-mountain-in-the-world.shtml
6. Samoans in America: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samoan_Americans