Deceleration Podcast #1: Kingdom of Hawaii is within you

Occupy Hilo
Hawaiian cultural practitioners, environmentalists, and activists opposing the 2014 groundbreaking ceremony for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT). Image: Occupy Hilo
Lanny Sinkin
Lanny Sinkin

In San Antonio, Lanny Sinkin is known as the former director of Solar San Antonio, an advocacy organization that had been dedicated to moving the city beyond fossil fuels. Today, nearly two years after leaving the position, he is known as Ali`i Mana`o Nui, adviser to Edmund Keli’i Silva Jr., who he considers the rightful leader of a soon-to-be-restored Kingdom of Hawai’i.

In this first episode of the Deceleration podcast, I speak with Sinkin about his transition from solar advocate to king’s advisor, his work with the Temple of Lono, fighting the Thirty Meter Telescope on the sacred mountain of Mauna Kea, the evolution of Dolphinville and the ethics of swimming with cetaceans, and (more generally) religious rights, indigenous sovereignty, and the stain of colonization. It’s a wide-ranging 40-minute talk that never (or rarely) leaves the Island. So get your coffee now and leave the pot on warm. Aloha.

Deceleration #1: The Kingdom of Hawai’i is within you

For an abbreviated discourse on a few of these topics, consider this recent column by the Kahuna to the Temple of Lono, titled, “A week in the life of a Kahuna.”

As the Kahuna of the Temple of Lono, I maintain the traditional faith of the Hawaiian people based in our Temple knowledge. The Temples have always been the symbol of our faith. That faith is an integral part of the Hawaiian identity grounded in the Four Gods and the spiritual land base—the Pu‘uhonua O Hale O Keawe at Honaunau at the base of Mauna Kea.

For more than 150 years, there has been a false narrative regarding the origins and nature of this faith. That false narrative is designed to hide the true nature of the faith behind a curtain of “culture.” The purpose is to deny the true faith based in the land and in the garden and allow this faith to fade from memory.

In just one week recently, I received a number of reminders of how deep the oppression goes and how systematic the bigotry continues to be. As part of emerging from decades of practicing underground to avoid persecution, the Temple stepped into a higher profile.

To find out more about the Kingdom, visit their website or scroll through the Kingdom blog.

Silva’s is by no means the only claim out there. Kingdom politics are deeply complicated and contentious. It is not my intention to endorse one vision over the other, but I chose  Sinkin as a subject due to his long history of fighting for the planet and his unique personal spiritual story, a story I previously only knew in part. Information about some of the other Kingdom movements are available here, here, here, and here.


Featured image on top page courtesy of the U.S. National Park Service.