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Exhibition Program

Education: Online Activities

Hawaiian Star Compass

Select a category of knowledge recorded on the compass. First see the Hawaiian labels on the compass, and then for each category click “view English” to add blue English labels. Read more about the meanings of their Hawaiian names below the illustration.

Star Compass

The Hawaiian Star Compass represents the navigator’s 360 degree view of the ocean horizon. The compass marks cardinal directions, divides the horizon into several directions, and identifies the rising locations of stars—“the basic mental construct for navigation.” The Hawaiian names on the compass reflect the navigator’s mastery of other elements of the environment, such as winds and birds of the region. Select and examine one of the elements marked on the compass. And consider what they reveal about the native Hawaiian perspectives.

Credits: Hawaiian Star Compass, Copyright by C. Nainoa Thompson