First Day in Our Nation’s Capital

Sunday, December 9th, 2018

Taylor, Brytne, and I explored D.C. a little today, ahead of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting which starts tomorrow. We checked in to the registration booth today for the conference, and got a first look at the convention center (which is MAASSIIVVEEE), and tried to get a better handle on where our hotel is in relation to the conference, etc.

We checked in and got our badges, then tried to figure out what to do for lunch. Since it was still lunch time, I suggested we try the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, since I had eaten there the last time I was in D.C. Amongst locals, like my dear friend Laura, know that the American Indian museum is the place for yummy food.


I had the mushroom stew and grits. Needless to say, this mushroom lover was in heaaaaveeeen!!!


Taylor had bison steak, grilled fennel, and mashed cauliflower. Everything was amazingly delicious! And also very new to us, as we have never tried fennel before!


Brytne got the Indian Taco. I’m not sure if these pictures have shown how big every serving was, but we all could’ve shared one of these plates and been sufficiently full. But we ate as much as we could because it was all so yummy!

After eating we walked around the museum. I saw a lot of similarities in the messages from Native Americans as I hear from Native Hawaiians.


One of the most powerful comes in this simple picture. In the caption, it says, “Religions linked to the landscape still struggle to convey their principles to non-Indians.” and that couldn’t be more true in Hawaiʻi. With the continued conversations about TMT, the basic message is that respecting indigenous cultures and sacred sites is one thing foreigners donʻt understand, and donʻt take the time to understand. Instead, they view their beliefs above those of local, indigenous cultures, and this is where we run into issue.

One of the exhibits here was interactive, literally. They had a video playing with random folks describing where theyʻve seen Native American culture or images in their life. Also, they had postcards where visitors could write down their own stories. Here are two of my favorites.


There were so many amazing interactive tables here. The one above is a touch screen table, basically you click on a square on the map and it tells you about it, gives you a 360 view of it (like Google street-view), and other interesting facts. It would be great to see stuff like this for Hawaiian ahupuaʻa and important historical sites! (Maybe it already exists and I just donʻt know about it?)

Of course we were kind of obsessed with Machu Picchu. Itʻs an engineering marvel and of course it all was because of water. Because water is everything. Duh.


And I am going to keep this short, but I canʻt leave without posting this picture. Of course there is a lot in this museum about the Trail of Tears, and the removal of Native Americans from their home lands. This is a wall with reflections for native people on the history of their people, and how it has affected and continues to affect them. It is hard to be in this museum and not be completely frustrated with, literally, everything…

Well, the sun is down. It has been down since 5P. It feels like itʻs 9P, and I donʻt know if thatʻs because we are just tired or if it is the sun, or both? Soon it will be time for dinner, and weʻll have to brave the cold again…. which we havenʻt figured out how to do, by the way. Weʻll probably get the hang of it by the day we leave…but until then, weʻll be frozen Hawaiʻi kids.
Aloha & a hui hou,



Published by Diamond Tachera

I'm a graduate research assistant at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. I study groundwater geochemistry and groundwater flow paths in the Hawaiian Islands.

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