Skip Navigation Bar

NLM to Host Nainoa Thompson Special Lecture on the Hōkūle'a and Native Hawaiian Health, May 23

On Monday, May 23 at 11:00 AM in the Lister Hill Auditorium (first floor of Building 38A on the campus of the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland), the National Library of Medicine will host a special presentation by Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and Master Navigator, He Lani Ko LunaA Sky Above: In Losing the Sight of Land, You Discover the Stars. The public is invited.

Thompson will describe the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage and its iconic double hulled canoe, Hōkūle’a, currently on a 47,000 nautical mile journey around the world, stopping at 85 ports in 26 countries including landing in Old Town Alexandria on Sunday, May 15. Thompson will discuss the rich history of deep sea voyaging, exploration, and oceanic wayfinding, the indigenous system of orientation and navigation at sea, and the efforts to use these experiences to revitalize Native Hawaiian culture and health.  He will explain the symbiotic relationships between land, sea, sky, and people, and their cultural, ecological, and personal health. 

Hōkūle’a figured prominently in the NLM exhibition, Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness:

For a special microsite featuring Native Voices Hōkūle’a content and the Washington DC Hōkūle’a-related event schedule, see

Sign language interpreters will be provided.

For information on visiting the National Library of Medicine:  NLM suggests that off-campus visitors plan to arrive at NIH by 10am for the 11am lecture, to allow sufficient time for security processing and walking over to the NLM Bldg. 38A Lister Hill venue.  The NIH campus is accessible via the Metro Red Line Medical Center station, or by driving and parking in a visitor lot.

Nainoa Thompson

Photo: Nainoa Thompson

Since its founding in 1836, the National Library of Medicine has played a pivotal role in translating biomedical research into practice and is a leader in information innovation. NLM is the world's largest medical library, and millions of scientists, health professionals and the public around the world use NLM services every day.