Doug was born and raised in Washington, DC, and came to Hawaiʻi in 1984 to study Geography and later teach at the University of Hawaiʻi. It was then that he heard of Hōkūleʻa and the Polynesian Voyaging Society and became interested in Polynesian migrations and navigation. He travelled to Micronesia to do community-based research interviewing navigators and canoe builders including pwo Navigator Mau Piailug. Later, he worked on an exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian about how the voyaging canoe can teach us to live sustainability on our planet.

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