Special Sail to Honor Senator Inouye: “He believed in Hōkūle‘a”
The Society’s new canoe, Hikianalia, will set sail Sunday morning. At approximately 10:00 AM, during the ceremonies for him at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, crewmembers will pay homage to Senator Inouye offshore.
“It’s our way of collectively honoring the senator,” says Polynesian Voyaging Society president Nainoa Thompson. “Urged on by his mother who was cared for by a Hawaiian family, he dedicated himself to helping Hawaiians. We join other Hawaiian organizations by paying tribute to him, in our own way.”
Senator Inouye was a friend of the long-time president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the late Myron B. “Pinky” Thompson. Together they rallied the Hawaiian community to identify its needs and strengths, and created policy and programs to address the important issues.
“Senator often told us that the most important federal dollars he ever put together were those for Hōkūle‘a and voyaging,” remembers Thompson. “The senator loved Hōkūle‘a. He respected the canoe and what it meant to the Hawaiian community, to the revival of our cultural awareness.”
“Most of all, Senator believed in her,” says Thompson. “He believed in what Hōkūle‘a has represented for the future of Native Hawaiians. He believed in the well-being of Hawaiian children, and he wanted them to know that their ancestors were extraordinary.”
Senator Inouye with Friends of Hōkūle‘a and Hawai‘iloa at the Opening of the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington DC, 2004 (photo from the Friends of Hōkūle‘a and Hawai‘iloa website).
To demonstrate to Senator Inouye’s family and colleagues that the voyaging community found him to be extraordinary, PVS will acknowledge his contributions to the revival of Polynesian voyaging through sailing a canoe in his honor.
Hōkūle‘a is currently in dry dock until the end of January, when she will undergo sea trials, crew training, and other preparations for the epic three-year Worldwide Voyage, departing in June 2013.
“Voyaging is one of the things that we as Hawaiians hold as an affirmation of who we are,” Thompson continues. “Senator would have wanted us to carry on, to embark on this monumental voyage throughout our planet Earth sharing our culture, our wisdom, our aloha.”