Letter: Cultural Practitioners’ Access to Mauna Kea Restricted

To:  Interested Parties
From:  Lanny Sinkin, Ali’i Mana’o Nui, Kingdom of Hawai’i

On Thursday, July 2, I received an email informing me that Office of Mauna Kea Management Rangers were allowing those engaged in spiritual practice on Mauna a Wakea to ascend the Mountain only at 1:00 p.m. each day, limiting the number of people that could ascend to ten, and requiring a Ranger be present to accompany the practitioners.

Meanwhile cars and trucks of non-practitioners traveled up and down the Mountain with no restrictions.

I went to the 9,000 foot level and interviewed various Protectors who confirmed what I had been told.

I had no question that the restrictions amounted to an unconstitutional restriction on the rights to religious practice guaranteed by the First Amendment and that the allowing of non-practitioners to ascend the Mountain constituted discrimination against the spiritual practitioners in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equality before the law.

I discussed the situation with the Kahuna of the Temple of Lono.  He agreed to pursue legal action to stop the latest instance of persecution of the traditional faith by the State.  I prepared pleadings to request a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the unconstitutional restrictions.  The Federal Court in Honolulu was closed on Friday through Sunday, so I came to Honolulu today to file the action.

Attached are the cover letter to the Attorney General and the pleadings I filed today.  United States District Court, Honolulu  CV 15 00254.

Judge Watson did not have time to address the TRO today.  I am expecting to hear from him tomorrow.


–Lanny  Sinkin

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