Hōkūleʻa in Alexandria


Hōkūleʻa is a voyaging canoe, built in the traditions of Polynesian explorers. Originally built in the 1970s, it sparked the Hawaiian Renaissance, where young native Hawaiians sought to recover and reaffirm their heritage. Now celebrating its 40th year of travel, it’s embarking on a worldwide tour of awareness not only of that culture but also of ecological stewardship. It’s a hell of a story, and the boat is docking in Alexandria on Saturday and Sunday, and DC the following week (more info at bottom of post).

To celebrate, the National Museum of the American Indian is showing documentaries about the boat and the Polynesian Voyaging Society throughout this weekend (and next):

Friday, May 13, 12:00 p.m.
Rasmuson Theater, First Floor

The Navigators: Pathfinders of the Pacific

Over 1,000 years ago, the islands of Polynesia were explored and settled by navigators who used only the waves, the stars, and the flights of birds for guidance. In hand-built, double-hulled canoes sixty feet long, the ancestors of today’s Polynesians sail across vast ocean areas. Today, only a handful of people continue to practice these traditions, most of them taught by one individual from the island of Satawal, Mau Piailug.

Saturday, May 14, 12:00 p.m.
Rasmuson Theater, First Floor

Papa Mau: The Wayfinder
Filmmaker in attendance.

At a time of cultural reclamation for Native Hawaiians, known as the Hawaiian Renaissance, a group of young, Hawaiians looked to restore the traditional arts of canoe building and wayfinding; non-instrument, celestial navigation. Their search led them to the Island of Satawal in Micronesia, and the master navigator, Mau Piailug. Over three decades, Mau taught younger generations of Hawaiians the ways of their ancestors aboard the voyaging canoe, Hōkūle‘a.

Sunday, May 15, 12:00 p.m.
Rasmuson Theater, First Floor

Stories from Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage
Filmmaker in attendance.

Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia, the Polynesian voyaging canoes, are sailing across Earth’s oceans to join and grow the global movement toward a more sustainable world. The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage began in 2013 with a Mālama Hawaiʻi sail around the Hawaiian archipelago, and will continue through 2017 when the new generation of navigators take the helm and guide Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia back to Polynesia after circumnavigating the globe.
Each leg of the journey has been documented by crew and supporters. Come watch a few of the videos and hear the stories shared along the way.

Monday, May 16, 12:00 p.m.
Rasmuson Theater, First Floor

Voyage: Ola I Ke Au A Kanaloa
Filmmaker in attendance.

This coming of age film captures the history making voyage of 14 students from Halau Holomoana on a 1500 mile journey of a lifetime. Lead by Bonnie Kahape’a-Tanner, the students would train for months to prepare themselves for a 10 day open ocean sail to Papahanaumokuakea. The voyage, named Ola I Ke Au A Kanaloa, would chart a course leaving the security and familiarity of home into a realm the students had only studied about, challenging even the strongest of them. Cinematographer Ruben Carrillo uniquely captures this story while playing a significant part as the father to one of the 14 students on board. Ruben shares with intimate detail the struggles and triumphs of this life changing voyage into the depths of Kanaloa.

Friday, May 27
Dinner in The Mitsitam Native Foods Café – 5:45 p.m. Café will offer dinner options available for purchase.
Film screening in the Rasmuson Theater, First Floor – 7:00 p.m. Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson

Visions in the Dark: The Life of Pinky Thompson celebrates the life of a great figure in Hawaiian history. Myron “Pinky” Thompson (Kanaka Maoli), a veteran who survived the Invasion of Normandy, was also a social worker, community leader, trustee at Kamehameha Schools, and longtime president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS) who believed that the ancestral traditions and values of the Hawaiian people were the key to their success. He fought against prevailing colonial views of Native Hawaiians building educational programs and health systems that would support the success of the Hawaiian people of today long into the future.

Tours for the Hōkūleʻa will be available at Waterfront Park on Sunday from 3:00 to 5:00 and in the Old Town City Marina on Monday from 1:00 to 5:00. It will be at the Washington Canoe Club in DC next week and New York the week after that. Check here for details.

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