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Protecting Our Sacred Places

Community Contributed

Opinion by Lori Buchanan

On Molokai, the Navy is proposing to “re-activate” the abandoned Marine base in Ho`olehua, on the doorstep of homesteaders, and significantly increase military training (primarily at night) in Kalaupapa. These are two of the actions, trainings and construction around Hawaii outlined in a Draft Environmental Impact Statement released by the US Department of the Navy in November 2011.

Intermittent military training has been ongoing at Kalaupapa, the Ho`olehua Airport and along Molokai’s western and northern coastline for many years. Currently, old munitions lie buried along the Kaluakoi and Ilio Point coastlines in large numbers below several years and layers of windblown top soils. Military debris leaking cancer causing PCB’s into our west shore waters since 1960 was recently removed. Abandoned asbestos-filled coast guard stations remind us that there will always be a high price to pay for war.

Molokai’s support of our military to uphold the constitution and freedom of this country is irreproachable. We know what sacrifices need to be made in support of our military. Per capita, Molokai Island has historically had the highest number of men and women joining the U.S. military willing to give their lives for their country. My father served as a Marine in World War II, awarded two purple hearts and a bronze star. People we love deeply, returned from Vietnam scarred, but alive. Our sons and daughters are on multiple deployments to the Middle East.

Molokai supports our military, however we also need to protect the places and things that sometimes exceed all understanding. Kalaupapa is a sacred and spirit-filled kipuka not found anywhere else in the world. I am praying, and ask all others who have been touched by the living spirit of Kalaupapa to join me in asking our military and state to protect the sacred peninsula of Kalaupapa and homesteads of Ho`olehua by withdrawing their proposal for military training here.

In December 2011, I pleaded with the Navy to come to Molokai to share their project with our community and they declined. Currently, they are working on their final DEIS which will give them the green light to proceed with their plans. As part of federal law, they are currently looking at impacts to historical properties and culture called section 106 consultations that will result in a written “agreement” between the Navy and DLNR Chair William Aila in the next few weeks.

Contact DLNR Chair Aila at: dlnr.hawaii.gov and Navy consultant June Cleghorn at: june.cleghorn@usmc.mil, phone: (808) 257-7126. The next phone consultation is Wednesday, March 7, 2012. Ask June to email you notes if interested. Also, call or email the Navy’s MV-22/H-1 EIS Project Manager at: (808) 472-1196 or MCBH Public Affairs Officer, Alan Crouch at: (808) 257-8870 or email: alan.crouch@usmc.mil to voice your concerns.


One Response to “Protecting Our Sacred Places”

  1. Kalikiano says:

    Aloha nui loa! ‘Support the military’ is often a convenient covering excuse offered up by those who are not inclined to consider complex issues completely and to think them through to their fullest extent. It is frequently the rallying cause for those who refuse to recognise that there is more to think about in this area of activity than merely supporting soldiers (as warfighters whose collective and individual welfare is often notoriously disregarded, despite the extent of their personal sacrifices). Molokai does not need nor wish to have more military presence than already exists on the island, although limited reactivation of the Ho’olehua facilities is not completely beyond reason. By contrast, encroachment of the historic (and sacred) Makanaluna Peninsula by military contingents for night training is neither warranted nor welcomed (unless I am mistaken), other than for perhaps the purpose of coming back to clean up messes left over from prior training uses (and abuses) of that area (munitions range, etc.). I speak as a veteran and also as a member of the Molokai Koa Kahiko in voicing this objection to these proposed plans and I welcome actions by others who share my concern for these disturbing development. Sistah Lori has thoughtfully provided contact information for voicing complaints, but even more ‘horsepower’ is required if the earnestness of this feeling is to be effectively felt by the military planners who are behind it (read: contact local political representatives and register strong protest!). The above remarks merely reflect my personal opinion, but I feel it is reasonable to encourage objections to this plan with the strongest means possible. Remember Makua Kea’au Coast, on Oahu! Mahalos for listening.

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