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Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku was born (August 24, 1890 – January 22, 1968) to a noble family of Native Hawaiians of Duke Halapu Kahanamoku and Julia Pa’akonia Lonokahikina Paoa. Ms. Paoa was a direct descendant of Kamehameha I. Shortly after Duke Jr. was born, the Hawaiian Kingdom was overthrown, the territory became a state, and Duke became a United States citizen. Duke Jr. had five brothers and three sisters.

Representing the United States in the Olympics, Duke Medal record: 1912 Stockholm Olympic - Gold Medal in the 100m freestyle | 1912 Stockholm Olympic - Silver Medal in the 4 x 200m freestyle | 1920 Antwerp Olympic - Gold Medal in the 100m freestyle | 1920 Antwerp Olympic - Gold Medal in the 4 x 200m freestyle | 1924 Paris Olympic - Silver Medal in the 100m freestyle

Duke surfed on, January 22, 1968, at the age of 77 from a heart attack.

The first Pacific Islander to reach the Challenger Deep! Nicole Yamase is an inspirational role model for young Pacific Islanders interested in pursuing STEM. Nicole was born in Pohnpei but dwelled in other parts of the Federated States of Micronesia. As a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Hawaii studying Marine Biology: I just want young Pacific Islanders to see that there is no limit to what we can accomplish. I want them to see themselves in me. We can do anything! I hope this experience inspires other young Pacific Islanders to pursue STEM fields and higher education, so that they can serve as a role model for the next generation.

"Yamase's inspiring voyage to the Challenger Deep is a once-in-a-lifetime journey to a place that less than 20 people visited before in human history," said Malte Stuecker--assistant professor at University of Hawaii Manoa Dept of Oceanography. "And now I could see, quite literally how these reefs in the Federated States of Micronesia are connected with the deepest place on Earth," added Yamase.

Mau Piailug (1932 - 2010) was a Micronesian navigator from the Carolinian island of Satawal, best known as a teacher of traditional, non-instrument wayfinding methods for open-ocean voyaging. Mau's navigation methods relied on elements of nature, such as the sun, stars, winds and clouds, seas and swells, and birds and fish...

Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Niue, Rotuma, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Futuna and Uvea formed a large exchange community in which wealth and people with their skills and arts circulated endlessly... Oceania is vast, Oceania is expanding, Oceania is hospitable and generous, Oceania is humanity rising from the depths of brine and regions of fire deeper still, Oceania is Us...

John Alexander Kneubuhl, an accomplished playwright, is the son of a Samoan mother and an American father. On July 2, 1920, John was born in Fagatogo, American Samoa. His father, Benjamin F. Kneubuhl, was a navy surveyor from Iowa who settled in Samoa and later became a successful businessman. John’s mother was Atalina Pritchard from Apia, Samoa.

Mark your calendars because Kitsap Great Give is starting in just a few days! Help strengthen, unite, and empower your community by donating to participating nonprofits like Voices of Pacific Island Nations!

It is not the intention of VOPIN to influence one's opinion or belief of the origin of Pacific Islanders. Technology is absolute in some respect, but the spirituality of Pacific Islanders is fundamental to what developed their history and identity. Before technology, multiple beliefs and legends are handed down from generation to generation about the heritage of Pacific Islanders.

The selection you are watching is one of many theories contesting other technology. However, Pacific Islanders believe in Mana, Tagaloalagi, and other Spirits of the Heavens that formed their identity.

Washington Gives is partnering with Voices of Pacific Island Nations through their online giving platform that helps individuals, groups, and businesses to discover and donate to nonprofits headquartered or serving Washington. Washington Gives hosts two fundraising campaigns, GivingTuesday and GiveBIG, a Washington-focused campaign that kicks off April 19 and culminates on May 3-4! Support by giving to causes you love at wagives.org

Samoans are most proud of their heritage and history. This YouTube clip consists of several Samoan cultures and history. It starts with the simple concept of starting a fire from rubbering together dry "fau" trees. As far back to the 1500s, ancient Samoan stories tell of warriors swinging fire clubs as they ran from lookout to hill, lighting beacons of fire in time of an invasion. The Samoan "Siva Afi or Fire dance" has become more than an art. The Siva Afi has become both a symbol of the past and future. Check out this excellent documentary featured on our Arts and Culture page.

Getting tattooed is a rite of passage into the circle of Chiefs. Chief Sielu Avea shared his experience about getting tattooed. The female tattoo is called "Malu," and the male tattoo is called "Tatau." The art of tattoo in Samoa was banned during the arrival of English missionaries and Christianity in the 1830s. However, the Sulu'ape family was instrumental in revitalizing the art in the Pacific.

Last but not least, Samoans are always willing to share their culture and history with others and make them feel part of the family.

The story of Junior and his cousin Ruth will make you wonder: What if? How can I make the world a better place?They live in Papua New Guinea, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, in the middle of one of the world's largest rainforests. Their journey is over a hundred kilometers in the so-called 'Land of 1000 Rivers,' a five-day journey that leads them through jungles and dangerous terrains just to get an education. Watch Most Dangerous Ways to school on our Arts and Culture page.

Ask yourself - What if? How can I make the world a better place?

The Melanesia region include the four independent countries of Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea. The name Melanesia--etymologically--means "island of black [people], in reference to the dark skin of the inhabitants.

AMBRYM - the Black Island of Vanuatu... Watch The Black Island documentary linked in our Arts and Culture page.

The art of tattooing is thought to have originated from Polynesia, and the word tattoo is from the Samoan word “Tatau” (which means initiation) introduced in the English language by Captain James Cook after returning from his voyages in the South Pacific in the mid – 18th century. To be tattooed as a male or female is a rite of passage into the inner circle of chiefs. Check out the "Marks of Mana" documentary on the female history of tatau in our cultures on our Arts and Culture page.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at a time of challenges and controversy" (MLK). Our world is changing in so many ways. We cannot ignore the past as we look forward to the future. If we continue to ignore Mother Earth, she will be distraught with our decisions. We only have one chance to get it right, or we will all be devastated. Check out Dr. Virginia Smith's insightful TED Talk on our Arts and Culture page.