Mahalo and mauruuruu for having Kalei and Ku'ulei perform hula in the heart of Seattle's Chinatown-International District as a part of the opening ceremonies. We enjoyed sharing our culture alongside the Federal Way High School Pacific Islander Student Group and spoken word poet Kiana Fuega for an evening of Pacific Islander heritage.
The Wing Luke Musuem is a non-profit historical museum dedicated to connecting everyone to the rich history and cultures of Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. Below, an excerpt from Tatau/Tattoo: Embodying Resistance their newest exhibit, highlighting South Pacific and Filipino voices in the traditional art and historical and cultural significance of tattooing.
“Our words for blood are toto, eleele, and palapala. Eleele and palapala are also our terms for earth, soil, mud. We are therefore made of earth. Our blood, which keeps us alive, is earth. So when you are tatauing the blood, the self, you are reconnecting it to the earth, reaffirming that you are earth. The tatau and malu are not just beautiful decoration, they are scripts-texts-testimonies to do with relationships, order, form, and so on. Tatau became defiant texts or scripts of nationalism and identity. Much of the indigenous was never colonized, tamed, or erased.”
- Samoan poet and writer Albert Wendt
This exhibit was developed by a variety of community members whose voices, photographs and artifacts share the stories of the significance of tattooing, as ways to "water our cultural roots" and as resistance to colonialism and the erasure of history.
Exhibit runtime: November 5, 2015 - October 9, 2016