Hokule’a Comes to Mashantucket

It was a gorgeous day in Mashantucket for some badass “for us, by us” environmentalism and unapologetic indigeneity yesterday as Hokule’a, a Hawaiian sailing society that has been traveling across the world for 40 years, came to visit the Mashantucket Pequot tribe. 

This is one of many stops on Malama Honua (“to care for our Earth”), a voyage the crew embarked on in 2013 to connect with coastal indigenous communities in a global dialogue about climate change and sustainability. Hokule’a made a stop here in New York City for World Oceans’ Day before heading up to New England via Shinnecock. Yesterday afternoon, the Mashantuckets sailed down the Mystic River in a mishoon to greet Hokule’a and begin a weekend of cultural exchange.

The East Coast leg of Malama Honua couldn’t be more timely.  As politicians in the U.S. continue to debate the veracity of climate change, though 2015 was the warmest year on record, the UN’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues concluded last month, resulting in little more than talk about improving the conditions of indigenous communities. In other words, national and international discourses on climate change, particularly as it relates to the world’s coastal indigenous people, are lacking at best. So as far as I’m concerned, the conversations on and inspired by Malama Honua demonstrate how indigenous people are organizing by ourselves for ourselves. Yesterday’s meeting was not for or about white consumption: it was solidarity.

Hokule’a will be in Mashantucket through this coming Monday, June 27, after which they’ll continue up the coast of northern New England. Keep up with the crew’s travels here!

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