Na’alehu Anthony: I think that when you look at many native cultures in the Pacific, specifically Hawaii, you see this degradation of all these things that had come the previous hundred years. So, in the ‘70s Hawaiian language was outlawed in schools for almost a hundred years, which meant that there was this generational loss of all of these things that were passed on orally, because the language had been smothered. And so when there’s this reawakening of things people are having to look in different places to find this stuff. So, there were all of these fights, if you will, for different native rights, land rights, language rights, the right to just be Hawaiian. And so now it’s turned the Hawaiian Renaissance, but you see these, I think, these pillars that came back, song and chant, asserting land rights, as well as, wanting to relearn some of these traditional knowledges which voyaging is a huge component.
I think that when you look at all of the pieces of culture that were lost by that point, and the fact that we were almost fully colonized into this Western mindset, that not only did the canoe provide an actual image of how our people got there, but it proved that these people were very, very sophisticated and could do these unthinkable tasks of taking a canoe in open ocean for 25,00 miles and pulling land out of the sea. And so it wasn’t just this visible character that you could see, and touch, and feel, but it changed the way Hawaiians felt about themselves because of these acts that had been done a thousand years before.
In this excerpt from the podcast, Anthony explains the significance of that successful 1976 voyage. [1:36]