For the first time, a piece of Native Hawaiian art is hanging in the room where the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs meets, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. The Committee, which oversees legislation relating to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian groups, is chaired by Senator Danial Akaka, the first U.S. Senator of Native Hawaiian ancestry.
The room’s walls feature art by American Indian and Alaska Native artists, but until now no work by a Native Hawaiian artist had been featured, according to the Hawaiian Way Fund, which worked with businesses and nonprofits to purchase the piece.
The work, a painting by Brook Kapukuniahi Parker entitled “Aha Ula,” was hung on Thursday, September 20, prior to a Committee meeting, and is on permanent loan to the Committee.
“This is such a tremendous endeavor,” Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement President Robin Puanani Danner said in a press release. “It will be a reminder to generations of Senators that legislate on this committee for the betterment of all Native peoples—we so appreciate the great service both Senator Akaka and Senator Inouye have been to us as Native Hawaiians, and to our Native counterparts in other areas of the country.”