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KS chief cultural officer Dr. Randie Fong leads the Hawaiʻi delegation in important protocol to ask permission to enter these lands.

Waʻa Wednesday: Cross-cultural exchanges in Washington D.C.

May. 18, 2016

A tri-campus delegation of 12 Kamehameha Schools eighth grade students have been in Washington D.C. from May 12 through May 23 to engage in cultural-educational exchanges and represent Hawaiʻi in the welcoming ceremonies for Hōkūleʻa. 

“The name we have chosen for the delegation is Kaiwikuamoʻo Wakinekona D.C.,” shared KS chief cultural officer Dr. Randie Fong in an email.

“Kaiwikuamoʻo is the star line within which Hōkūpaʻa (North Star), Hōkūleʻa (Arcturus) and Hikianalia (Spica) are aligned. It is rising in the sky and easily seen over the East Coast of the U.S. where we’ll be traveling.”

Students have been doing research and writing which will be uploaded to a Weebly website so friends, family and teachers can follow their journey.

“Representing Kamehameha Schools and the Lāhui Hawaiʻi at significant landfalls of Hōkūleʻa is not only a KS tradition – it’s a duty, a kuleana that our school has nurtured and maintained since the canoe was first born over 40 years ago,” shared Fong.

“As our haumāna honor the canoe in ceremony, they will also interact with Native Americans and visit their sacred lands; wander the halls of Congress guided by Hawaiʻi interns;  tour the White House, Pentagon, Library of Congress and the US Supreme Court; absorb the richness of various Smithsonian museums; learn about the horror of the Holocaust, and be humbled in the liberating presence of towering figures like Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.  They will engage in an environmental service project in conjunction with the National Park Service which is celebrating its 100-year history.  And to close the week, they will make two lei on behalf of the Hōkūleʻa Crew: one which will be draped on the statue of Father Damien, and the other on our beloved warrior-king, Kamehameha, before attending a reception hosted by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.”

A private ceremony was held upon Hōkūleʻa’s arrival with the Piscataway Indian Nation, the original stewards of the land in the Washington D.C. area. Students joined the crew as a delegation from Hawaiʻi to ask permission from the Piscataway to enter their lands. They were welcomed to Piscataway with joy and warmth in celebration of the Mālama Honua mission of the Worldwide Voyage.

About 1,000 residents from the Washington D.C. area gave Hōkūleʻa a grand welcome as she arrived at the Waterfront Park Pier in Old Town Alexandria, VA. The canoe was greeted in the Potomac River by a fireboat from the Alexandria Fire Department. Following the arrival, a Celebration of Friendship with Native Americans from the region and local officials took place at the Waterfront Park. The ceremony included cultural performances by Native American tribes, DC-area hula hālau and a tri-campus delegation of students from Kamehameha Schools. Following the Celebration of Friendship, hundreds of people from the community came on board to tour Hōkūleʻa and meet with crew members.

“Thank you for supporting this opportunity for our haumāna to serve as Hawaiian ambassadors on the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage – this allows them to engage the greater classroom of the world, and experience live the world class, culture-based education that now defines our present and future as Pauahi’s living legacy of learning,” shared Fong.

Follow along with these students on their Wakinekona D.C. blog.

For more information about the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the Worldwide Voyage, visit or find the society on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Google+.



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