WASHINGTON - On Wednesday evening, the iconic Hawaiian voyaging canoe Hokule'a and her crew were greeted with a welcoming ceremony at the Washington Canoe Club on Water Street. White House dignitaries and members of the Hawai'i congressional delegation were present to usher the canoe into the nation's capital.

Christy Goldfuss, director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, announced the sighting of the Hokulea and briefed the audience gathered at the canoe club of the welcoming event.

Hokule'a arrived at the destination escorted by a canoe flotilla, as the traditional sounding of the conch and ohana chant were conducted by the Hokule'a crew. The event also featured a cultural welcome of song and dance by students and educators from Kamehameha Schools and Halau O Aulani.

Along with Goldfuss, other White House representatives who were present included U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith.

"What you are doing here with the [Worldwide Voyage], what you are doing here with the culture is something that will live on for generations to come. So we are enormously proud of the leaders, the crew, the volunteers, and supporters of this epic journey," said Secretary Jewell.

U.S. Senators Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono from Hawaii along with U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island were also present and provided remarks to welcome Hokule'a and her crew to Washington, D.C.

"When I think about Hokulea and her first journey to prove what Native Hawaiians were capable of, it's an incredible story. Now we take that message and turn it into a global message of sustainability and malama honua," remarked Sen. Schatz.

"Here we are in Washington, D.C., the nation's capitol, with Hokule'a with the message they are taking around the world. It's the voice of Hawai'i, and I am very proud of our crew and all of the young people who have been so involved in this voyage," said Sen. Hirono.

After engaging with the community in Washington, D.C., Hokule'a is scheduled to sail to New York City in June for World Oceans Day on June 8.

For Hokulea's most up-to-date U.S. East Coast schedule, visit http://www.hokulea.com/hokuleas-planned-east-coast-port-stops/.

To follow the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage, visit http://hokulea.com/track-the-voyage

 Since departing Hawaiian waters in May 2014, Hokule'a has sailed more than 25,000 nautical miles and made stops in 14 countries and 70 ports, weaving a "Lei of Hope" around the world. Along the way, more than 200 volunteer crewmembers have helped to sail Hokule'a to spread the message of malama honua (or taking care of Island Earth) by promoting sustainability and environmental consciousness, as well as exchanging ideas with the countries she has visited. So far, crew members have connected with over 45,000 people in communities across the South Pacific, Tasman Sea, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea including Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Indonesia, Mauritius, South Africa, Brazil, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Cuba. For a midway recap of the Worldwide Voyage, please view http://www.hokulea.com/2015-worldwide-voyage-recap/