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Kalama Heritage Festival

The Kalama Heritage Festival is a beautiful, culturally rich event that celebrates the impact on the Pacific Northwest region by the Hawaiian Kanaka (humans) that were brought over by the Hudson Bay Fur Trading Company in the mid-1800s. John Kalama was one of the earliest Hawaiians employed by Hudson Bay.

The Festival honors the blended bloodlines contributing to the early historical impact of the cultures between Kanaka and the Pacific Northwest Native Americans. The city of Kalama is named in honor of John Kalama and his contributions to the area. Bill and Gloria Nahalea, the founders of the festival, spent many years researching the progression of the coming together of these two vital peoples. It was not easy, as there simply was not very much information available at the time. Their passion for wanting to learn kept them searching, and because of this, they were able to connect with descendants of the original Kanaka. They were rewarded with many captivating stories, particularly involving a very renowned Hawaiian named John Kalama.


The festival opens with the traditional Native American Permission Ceremony by the Kalama Canoe Family, featuring Leimomiwaiwainui, in honor of Zelma Kalama McCloud, a descendent of John Kalama. Several generations have carried on with the canoe tribal ceremonial traditions and they continue to be a moving element of the festival. It is a beautiful Legacy of the Heart. Since its inception, The Kalama Heritage Festival has been successfully accomplishing what the Nahaleas had intended; to educate both the indigenous tribes and the public about the vibrant history of these two cultures and how they have become intricately intertwined, growing into a distinctive culture unto itself. The festival benefits and blesses all involved with it by giving those present a chance to experience the true aloha spirit of love and welcoming acceptance. It supports the vendors and performers in their livelihood and builds tourism in the Kalama community.

A SAMPLE OF THE FESTIVAL ACTIVITIES FROM PREVIOUS YEARS: ---ENTERTAINERS, ARTISTS, AUTHORS, LECTURERS, MC, include:  Bobby Moderow, (of Na Hoku Hanohano award winning Maunalua), Keoki Kahumoku, Northwest Blend, Halau Hula O Keala'akua Naniloa Mana'oakamai, Kimo Da Kupuna Mele Music, Tina Hendrix of Jimi Hendrix Music Academy, Strum ukulele Group, Halau Hula O Napualani, Pomaikai, Ft. Nisqually Museum, Leimomiwaiwainui Kalama Canoe Family, and more.... ---Jimi Hendrix Music Academy, Renton, offers FREE music lessons & the use of musical instruments to youths. STRUM-" Ukulele Kids Club" is an international gold star non-profit that puts new ukuleles in the hands of hospitalized children all over the world for a lifetime of healing. More information on this amazing club will be there. Ukuleles that help sponsor their cause will be there for sale and a donation for the songbook if you wish to.

---Several Native Tribal groups including Nisqually, Cowlitz, & Puget Sound area tribes that have supported us in the past are excited to participate again this year with their dance, music, chants, and drumming. ---Ft. Nisqually, Tacoma, staff will be dressed in the clothing typical of the mid-1800’s Hudson Bay Fur Trading Company. They will be offering fun games, arts, and crafts of the era. ---Keoki Kahumoku-slack-key guitarist and ukulele performer will be performing his music and sharing stories about pig trapping. He is a former Grammy award winner ---The IMU-   An annual favorite event = watch A traditional Hawaiian oven used for cooking an entire pig underground! ---A variety of food and retail vendors from all over! ---And many more performers, classes, workshops, and activities!

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