Dancers, drummers, audience celebrate Asian American-Pacific Islander heritage
May 28, 2014
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The sights, sounds and flavors of Hawaii and Tahiti were seen, heard and tasted May 28 as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month was celebrated at the operational headquarters of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.
A dancing and drumming group with more than 25 years of experience, Manava O Polynesia, performed at the event. The group's director is Charlene M. Maneafaiga, a contracting officer with Army Contracting Command assigned to SMDC's Colorado Springs office.
"We teach our children about their heritage through the dances and the music," Maneafaiga told the Soldiers, airmen, family members and contractor employees who filled the room.
After several adult and many young dancers demonstrated the traditions of Hawaii and Tahiti, some audience members were "drafted" to learn the Tahitian Fruit Salad dance.
With the group's dancers nearby to help and a drummer giving instructions, the audience members leaned and swayed in the directions of imaginary fruit on a string--an apple to the right, orange to the left, banana to the front and mango to the rear. The final performance by experienced and amateur dancers combined the motions, getting progressively faster.
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month is conducted in May. It recognizes the accomplishments of people who have origins in the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).