FestPAC Promotes Pasefika Mana

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In June 2024, Hawaiʻi will host the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture, the world’s largest celebration of Indigenous Pacific Islanders and a convening of 28 Indigenous Pacific Island communities as a beacon of cultural revival. It is a vibrant and culturally enriching event celebrating the unique traditions, artistry, and diverse cultures of the Pacific.

The roots of FestPAC trace back to discussions of the 1970s when Pacific Island nations, understanding that cultural exchange was a necessary tool in halting the erosion of their traditional practices, created the Festival as a means to strengthen cultural bonds among Pacific Island communities, foster a greater understanding of their individual cultures, and execute activities that preserve and promote Indigenous cultures in the Pacific. The South Pacific Commission (now The Pacific Community – SPC) launched this dynamic showcase of arts and culture in Suva, Fiji, in 1972. The hope was to create a space where Pacific Islanders could gather to share their traditional arts, crafts, music, dance, and oral traditions.

In a world that continues to be more and more accessible, native cultures are affected globally on a multitude of fronts. Western influence and global access can be positive for native communities, but it can also lead to cultural erosion, cultural distortion and commodification. As the world grows smaller and smaller, Indigenous communities become more and more susceptible to global impacts of this contraction and are the first to feel the effects of sea level rise, climate change, environmental exploitation of their traditional lands and resources which can further contribute to the erosion of traditional culture and socio-economic disparity.

As we prepare to convene and host FestPAC June 6 through June 16 in Hawaiʻi for the very first time, we look forward to creating space in our home to have fruitful discussions on Native Hawaiian cultural empowerment and self-determination.

“In Hawaiʻi, our resident demographics encompass Indigenous peoples from across the Pacific region,” noted Aaron Salā, FestPAC Director. “This festival offers a unique opportunity to not only celebrate and showcase our Hawaiian heritage, but also uplift and honor the traditions of our Pacific Indigenous communities, fostering a deeper appreciation for our collective relationships as Oceanic peoples.”

As Native Hawaiians participate in the upcoming FestPAC activities, we assert our inherent right to self-representation and cultural autonomy. Through our presence and participation, Native Hawaiians reaffirm our connection of our ancestral legacy and our ideology of being stewards of our lands, reclaiming our rightful place within the global community of Pacific Indigenous peoples, safeguarding the collective memory of our ancestors, and sharing the best of our culture with our Pacific cousins. NaHHA looks forward to sharing upcoming news on ways we plan to engage in FestPAC and will share more information soon on how the Native Hawaiian community can collaborate and participate with us at the huina, the intersection, of tradition and culture.

For the most up to date information visit www.festpachawaii.org.