Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) joined approximately 1,000 area residents at Waterfront Park in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia to welcome the Hawaiian Canoe Hōkūle’a as she came up the Potomac River to the Washington, D.C. area. The Hōkūle’a is a full-scale replica of a wa’a kaulua, a Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe. Launched in Spring 1975 by the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the canoe has sailed across the globe.
The congresswoman toured the Hōkūle’a, welcomed the crew and all those present for the arrival ceremony, and enjoyed music and dance presented by local hālaus and the Piscataway Conoy Tribe of Maryland. The celebration included cultural performances by local Native American tribes, DC-area hula hālau and students from Kamehameha Schools.
“It was wonderful to see so many people from Hawaii and the Pacific come together to welcome the historic Hōkūle’a to our nation’s capital today. Through their travels across the globe, Hōkūle’a and her crew have united people and nations through a mission of Mālama Honua – caring for our home, our place. Mālama Honua includes sharing the aloha spirit with people around the world, and is something that each of us can take to heart and apply in our lives every single day. As we welcome the Hōkūle’a to Washington DC, we are reminded that we each have a responsibility to make our oceans, our land, and our home a safer, cleaner, and better place.”
Following the Celebration of Friendship, hundreds of people from the area were allowed on board to tour Hōkūle’a and meet with crew members.
Hōkūle’a has voyaged traditionally for 40 years, sailing over 150,000 nautical miles throughout the Pacific. Since leaving Hawaiʻi on the “Mālama Honua” worldwide voyage, the Hōkūle‘a has travelled to more than 12 countries and 55 ports. In March 2016, Hōkūle’a touched the continental US for the first time in the Everglades of Florida, and has since sailed up the East Coast of the U.S.
If you missed the Hōkūle’a in Alexandria, Virginia, she will be in the Washington, D.C. area through the next week. Starting May 20, 2016, there will be Canoe tours and dockside outreach at the Washington Canoe Club through May 23, 2016. More information on times, etc, can be found online. The crew will then set sail to New York City to join the World Oceans Day events hosted by the United Nations on June 8, 2016.
(Photo of the Hōkūle’a via Polynesian Voyaging Society)