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Celebrating Island Culture

September 14, 2018

By Karin Arnold

Department of Corrections

(Tim Kelly, DOC Communications)

SHELTON – Washington Corrections Center (WCC) hosted its Fourth Annual Asian Pacific Islander (API) event. Approximately 250 people attended the event to include incarcerated individuals, staff, visitors, and community guests.

The event recognized numerous cultures included within API heritage. Decorations represented the cultures of China, Japan, Hawaii, Samoa, the Philippines, Thailand, Guam, and Vietnam to name a few.

There was story telling from various individuals, presented verbally and in dance. Some of the dances presented were the Säsä, the Haka – Warrior dance, Hula dance, and traditional Taualuga dancing. The Haka dance tells the story of two villages coming together to fight. Both sides represented the force they brought and tried to instill fear into their opponents. When both sides were done showing force, they came together as one and showed strength and unity as a whole.

API members want to encourage unity and a common understanding of incarcerated men striving for success and change. The API group invited incarcerated individuals from Asatru, Tribal Sons, and the Black Prisoner Caucus to attend the event. They taught the groups the Haka and allowed them to perform alongside them.

The performances were entertaining and educational to many who had never experienced the culture before. One visitor stated this was the most diverse and educational event she had ever attended.