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Las Vegas Hawaiian community shows solidarity with protesters blocking telescope construction

Posted at 11:30 PM, Jul 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-20 11:46:22-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Many Hawaiians living here in Las Vegas are keeping close tabs on a situation unfolding in Hawaii. That's where officials are hoping for a peaceful end to protests over a telescope that's supposed to be built on the island's highest mountain. On Saturday, there will be a gathering in Las Vegas to show unity.

Pololu Nakanelua says an event planned at the Welcome to Las Vegas sign Saturday isn't about protest. It’s about education.

"Our main goal is to appropriately represent our people back home,” said Nakanelua. ”And to portray or display the amount of affection and compassion that we have for a sacred site that is very, very dear to us.”

A sacred site that Pololu said represents a multitude of things.

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Whether it be in unification as a people, whether it be spiritual or religious what have you,” he said. “Things that have to do with the environment."

He said he's not against science and reminds us this isn’t the first or only observatory to have been built on the mountain.

"In the 1960s we had the first observatory up there. There are now 13,” Pololu said. "Now what they are doing up there, we didn’t approve this. We didn’t sign anything that has to do with that. And we weren’t ever informed."

The latest $1.4 billion telescope was fought by activists all the way to the state Supreme Court. This week's protests on the island blocking a road to the mountain are the last stand against it.

“I feel helpless. And I feel conflicted to where I'm all the way over here and so much is happening.”

The events at the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign are at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.