Hawaii telescope project draws concerns from Canadian faculty, students, groups

August 7, 2019

The construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea has drawn serious concerns from Indigenous groups, students, and academics from across Canada and beyond. The Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), which includes 20 universities, has been a partner in the telescope project since its inception in 2003. "Indigenous people across the country stand with each other no matter what side of the [Canada-U.S.] border we fall," said Tomas Jirousek, the Indigenous affairs commissioner at McGill University's Students' Society. “We are taking action and hopefully holding our universities to account when it comes to standing complicit.” The University of British Columbia issued a statement calling for a 60-day moratorium on construction of the TMT, and the University of Victoria issued a statement indicating that it is “fundamentally important to us” that the TMT “be developed in a way that respects local communities and their cultural practices.” The Province reports that controversy over the project has grown since 35 Hawaiian elders, or kūpuna, were arrested on July 17th. CBC | The Province (National) | UVic