UPDATED 11:31 a.m.
Lt. Gov Josh Green heard testimonials with kupuna at Maunakea Access Road, and said he would take their messages back to Gov. David Ige.
“They’ve made every rational argument possible,” Green said of the kupuna.
Green said he intends to ask Ige to de-escalate the situation, which he said would entail the removal of all armed police from the area.
Furthermore, Green said the time is approaching for a “reckoning” to determine whether the TMT project can go forward.
“The people with the most wisdom feel we can’t go forward without cracking the foundation of the Hawaiian culture,” he said.
“I know people may not agree with that. I don’t care,” he continued.
The protests on Maunakea have ceased to be about TMT, he said, and are now a referendum on “generations of hurt” felt by the Hawaiian people that Green said need to be addressed.
Statements from the kupuna ranged from fears of the telescope irreparably damaging groundwater on the mountain, to the power of the university of Hawaii to govern activity on the mountain, to the under representation of Hawaiian people in the state government.
Several kupuna expressed doubt that the Hawaiian people’s grievances can be addressed within the current political system and urged Green to change the system into one that works.
Green also said he is worried about the continued health of the kupuna protesters. The kupuna are elderly and exposed to the rain and cold of the mauna, Green said, visibly shivering.
Deescalating the situation, he said, is necessary to preserve the well-being of the protesters.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green visited the Thirty Meter Telescope protesters’ camp on Maunakea this morning.
He walked with kupuna Noe Noe Wong-Wilson and said Gov. David Ige should meet face to face with protesters.
During his visit, Green, who is a physician, dropped off medical supplies and volunteered his services as a doctor.
Friday in a Facebook post, Green criticized Ige’s decision to deploy National Guard troops to assist law enforcement.
“I believe that this struggle is more about the heart of Hawaii and our sense of self and dignity, especially for the Hawaiian people, than it is about a telescope,” he said in his post. “It is about cultural recognition and people’s self worth. “