Published July 30, 2016
MOUNT DESERT ISLAND, MAINE— Last Saturday, July 23, 2016, members of the Penobscot Nation paddled out into Sommes Sound, off the coast of Maine, to welcome the crew of the Hokule’a into their territory.
The Hokule’a was built in 1975.
Built in 1975, the Hokule’a is large canoe that is not equipped with GPS, compass, map or sexton. Crewed by 20, who are members of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the Hokule’a is on a worldwide voyage that began over two years ago in May 2014. The Maine visit is the last stop on the mainland United States before it continues its voyage.
Traditional Penobscot birch bark canoes were used to welcome Hawaiian guests.
After the Hokul’a entered the Sommes Sound, a ceremonial call and response took place on the water, with the traditional Hawaiians using a conch shell to signal their entry and the Penobscot paddlers responding by drum. Then, the Penobscot tribal citizens escorted the Hokule’a to shore, where a formal welcoming ceremony took place.
Culture exchange brings admiration.
The Penobscot Nation hosted the Hawaiian crew for three days, ending with a large feast and social dance in the community on Monday night. They were joined at the event by the Korean youth exchange from New York, making the night a true multi-cultural exchange. Traditional songs were shared by all three groups.
Penobscot Nation tribal citizens walking in their birch bark canoe.
On Wednesday, the Hokule’a set sail for Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on Wednesday. It will make its way down to the Panama Canal to begin several legs home to Hawaii in June 2017.
Editor’s Note: Sherri Mitchell (Penobscot Nation) contributed to this story from Maine.
Photos by Martin Neptune from the Penobscot Nation.