Mauna Kea is located on the Big Island of Hawai i. It is a dormant volcano and the highest mountain in the world measured from sea bottom. Mauna Kea first attracted astronomers in the 1960s. Since then there has been a total of 13 telescopes built on Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea is considered to be the preeminent site in the world for ground-based astronomy. On April 12, 2013, the Thirty Meter Telescope Observatory Corporation was granted a Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) to build and operate the US $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea. The TMT will have the most advanced technology of any telescope on Earth. Paradoxically, Mauna Kea is also considered to be the most sacred place in all of Hawai i for Native Hawaiian people. Mauna Kea is the spiritual center of the Native Hawaiian people, connecting them to their original creators, Papahānaumoku, the Earth Mother, and Wākea, the Sky Father. For astronomers, the TMT is a necessary next step for science and the future of humanity itself. For Native Hawaiians, the TMT threatens their sacred mountain and culture. The dispute between proponents and opponents of the TMT represents a fundamental difference in philosophy between two disparate views on the TMT—science in general, and the role of history, culture and spirituality in determining the outcome of a difficult and sometimes contentious issue. In this thesis, I will first present a detailed analysis of the history of Hawai i, as it provides a background into the importance of Mauna Kea to the Native Hawaiians and why they are standing up to protect their revered Mauna. I will then examine the subject matter by highlighting the current court cases challenging the legality of the TMT. In doing so, I will investigate the following questions: How and why was Mauna Kea selected for the TMT? What are the actual and perceived benefits of building what will become the world s largest and most powerful telescope on Mauna Kea? What is the nature of the opposition to the TMT? How have the cultural beliefs, practices, and myths of the Native Hawaiian people been treated in the quest to build and operate the TMT? Although the TMT may be instrumental in unraveling the mysteries of the universe and benefitting humankind , is it also symbolic of a deeply ingrained disconnect from the Earth? How has the Cartesian separation of the mind and body influenced this apparent disconnect between man and the Earth? How has the TMT been granted a use permit to build when it is clearly violative of not only Hawaiian culture, history and land, but the Native Hawaiians themselves?