Episode 6: Outrigger Canoe Paddling History and Culture with Kaimana Brummel


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Dan talks story with outrigger canoe racer Kaimana Brummel, and learns about her family’s ties to canoe paddling. At age 22, Kaimana became the Executive Director of Hawaiian Canoe Club, continuing the legacy of being deeply involved in this Kahului-based canoe club. Through her work with the club, Kaimana has organized the Pailolo Challenge outrigger canoe race. She also talks about how integrated canoe paddling is to Hawai’i’s culture and traditions, both in the past and in the present.

Kaimana begins by talking about her own family’s roots in the paddling world, her involvement with Hawaiian Canoe Club, and how that has continued to shape her life with her own kids today. And through these stories, the idea begins to emerge that canoe paddling is much more than a sport not just to Kaimana, but to many people across these Hawaiian islands.

Dan and Kaimana also talk about the history of the Hawaiian canoe here in Hawai’i, and how it played such an important role in pre-contact life. Hawaiians used outrigger canoes for fishing, sport, and transportation. But the missionary era had a stifling affect on Hawaiian culture, which has left knowledge gaps of tradition and cultural practices that are even felt today. Kaimana tells an amazing story that centers around the Hawaiian Canoe Club’s efforts to build a second koa canoe for their club, from harvesting the koa tree to creating the final outrigger.

Kaimana expands on the metaphor that was used during the voyages of Hokule’a of a canoe as her moku (her sphere of influence, her immediate world, her area), and how we are all in the same canoe, depending on each other to move the canoe forwards. What can we learn from canoe racing and canoe paddling? And how can we take those lessons and apply them to our communities? During this talk story podcast, Kaimana helps us understand the important life lessons that are an everyday part of canoe paddling. And she believes that if more people were taught these lessons, it would have such a positive impact on communities across the world.

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