The sun sets behind telescopes at the summit of Mauna Kea on July 14, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Caleb Jones)

B.C. First Nation chiefs urge Canada to pull funding for giant Hawaiian telescope

Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says the summit of Mauna Kea is considered a sacred site

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says Canada should bail out of a plan to build a large new telescope in Hawaii on land claimed as sacred by Indigenous Hawaiians.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Hawaii Gov. David Ige, the organization calls for construction plans for what’s known as the Thirty Meter Telescope project to be shut down and for the Canadian government to withdraw support for the project.

In April 2015, the former Conservative government announced it would provide up to $243.5 million for the project over a 10-year period.

The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says the Canadian government’s support for the telescope runs counter to its commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

The organization’s comments come as protesters have been blocking a road to the summit of Mauna Kea, a site considered to be sacred.

READ MORE: Who owns ‘aloha’? Hawaii eyes protections for native culture

On Tuesday, a judge denied a motion filed by telescope opponents seeking a temporary restraining order to stop construction.

The Canadian Press

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