Through the eyes of a Kūpuna in the face of impending arrest at Maunakea

Long-time Native Hawaiian activist and Mālama Mākua founding member Sparky Rodrigues had taken his place among the Kūpuna who desired to get arrested first as Kiaʻi blocked the Maunakea Access Road to protect sacred Maunakea from desecration due to construction of yet another telescope. Thirty-three Kūpuna were arrested on Day 3 of the peaceful stand-off at Maunakea and Uncle Sparky was ready and willing to be one of them.

When there were only a few Kūpuna before him to get arrested, the peacefulness of the moving of Kūpuna to large white vans by DLNR officers was shattered by police from Hawaiʻi, as well as Oʻahu and Maui, arriving and storming the area in riot gear as Kiaʻi raced to stand in front of the remaining Kūpuna, locking arms to forms several rows of human chains around the tents of the Kūpuna. The very tense standoff ended with the cops, armed with large batons, guns, pepper spray, helmets and an LRAD, retreating and leaving the area after a few hours.

The images below, in chronological order, are photos taken by Uncle Sparky of what he saw as he waited for what he thought was an inevitable arrest. His supposed crime: protecting a sacred place from desecration.