The article we read from the Alaskan First Nations perspective was among my favourites. This topic is deeply interesting to me, as I originally started in Science and lost interest in persuing it too deeply because I saw how many gaps specialization created. Scientists really need to be systems thinkers in this day and age. Recently, however, I noticed that there are trends trying to tie together concepts in a more holistic fashion.
I took a screen shot of the above Posting from Nautilus, a science online periodical, and was heartened to see that not only did I capture a message about what Nautilus’ mission is, but that the article was very much related to the material we covered in this course.
Reflecting on topics covered in the first weeks of this course, I was curious about how Kiribati’s history of colonization (by the US interestingly) may have played a role in how they educate their population. I found a good amount of baseline data:
Country Profile on International Council for Distance and Open Education – This has some really interesting stats about connectivity (1% access to mobile phones!) and gives a broad overview on current ICT in the nation.
Wikieducator: Kiribati – This has a good overview on what is going on in terms of education, and provides impetus for potential future plants in education
Kiribati National Education Strategic Plan – A great document which I will look through to see how they country is thinking of applying ICT, and whether there is any motivation to integrate culture and indigenous studies in their national education.
UNICEF – Situational analysis of women and children in Kiribati – I am confident I can get a better idea of the role of women and children from these islands through this document. It may provide insight into aspects of their culture I have yet to understand.
So as I have been looking through documents, I found myself finding it hard without being more specific about what I was looking for. A single nation was needed as a focus, and so I thought Kiribati would be a good one, as it has a reasonable population (100 000 people) and has already developed ideas on how to mitigate the climate refugees.
According to this article, they have purchase land on one of their neighbour’s bigger islands and are planning on migrating their entire population there over time.
This article, found on RYOT, states that Kiribati has a government plan to “migrate with dignity” the entire population to neighbouring islands. In any case, the Kiribati culture is sure to be subjected to competing with local cultures, or be thinned out and require new forms of establishing cultural identity. Could social media play a role here?
I was very curious about why we may find Hawaiian culture retains a greater percentage of people who are still able to speak their native language. With language often playing a central role in one’s culture, how is it that Hawaiians have maintained this while other groups suffer from the dying of their mother tongue? Could it be related to how late they were colonized? Their isolation?
I found this link that will help me explore this in more depth, and hope that I can connect this to the what I am exploring… whether the strength of their language is contingent on their educational history or their current educational practices.
Cowell, Andrew “The Apocalypse of Paradise and the Salvation of the West: Nightmare Visions of the Future in the Pacific Eden.” Cultural Studies, 13 (1999):138-160
This should help me, if I am to pursue the idea of exploring if there are digital refugia for cultures soon to be submerged by the sea:
6 Island Nations Threatened by Climate Change
Here is another Article from Business Insider which provides a broader looks, and includes the Torres Straight Islanders, which are inhabited by cultures which have had relatively little connection to the globalized world.
Finally, A good write up from United Nations University, describing the risk of Sea Level Rise on these island states. It should be interesting to see if these groups do have digital communities.
Finally, this article on Mashable combined a beautiful story with great photos to really bring it home.
I am curious what kind of preservation for the culture, the language, and more resides online…
As I was watching Nanook of the North, I started to consider how embedded much of the “commodification of indigenous social reality” occurs. It did not take me long to pull up one of the most blatant examples of this.. the Wrestling Entertainment Industry. Here, you can find wrestlers such as Mana The Polynesian Warrior representing what is likely a first and perhaps only impression that many N. Americans may be exposed to about Polynesia.
On a more academic note, this book explores how tourism has created a myth of preserving the culture in Polynesia… something I find very relevant to the island I live on, Bali. It also speaks to the commodification of a culture
Sherman, D. (2011) French Primitivism and the Ends of Empire, 1945-1975. Chicago. University of Chicago Press
We live in a rapidly changing world culturally speaking, however for the most part the physical land which we have lived on has continued to exist. In our time it is likely that we will witness the first recorded examples of cultures physically losing their land. In this I am speaking of the Polynesian and Melanesian islanders who live on island chains soon to succumb to sea level rise.
In reading the lecture “The Wayfinders” by Wade Davis I learned of the amazing knowledge of the seas these people carried from generation to generation. Wayfinding in the Pacific is an oral tradition nearly lost, but is among the more known gems found in Polynesian culture. What other understanding lies at sea level, soon to be erased from this planet?
I will be among the party in Bali meeting the Hokule’a as they arrive, and have been in discussions with them for a while. I am interested if they see part of their mission as preserving what can be preserved of these cultures, and if they see a possibility of Vanuatans, Tongans, and others to maintain their culture in their diaspora through technology. Furthermore, how can the languages, mythologies, and world views of these peoples be part of the education for their place-less children?
This is one area that really interests me. I have recently come to know voyagers on Hōkūleʻa, a sailing canoe built on traditions of Hawaiian boat building culture.
To me, this project highlights some of the best ways that education and technology can work with an indigenous culture to express themselves, as well as build bridges to other cultures. The inclusive element of such a project is important as well. They share their worldview with others, and look to build connections in order to nurture conservation and environmentally sounds attitudes. This boat is coming to Bali in August, and I am exciting to visit them and meet the crew.
The story of the Makah reminded me of a small village in the far East of Flores: Lamalera. There, the people still are active in the Whale hunt, and have gained recognition for it in a more positive light:
Wall Street Journal Article on Lamalera
Film: The Whale Hunters of Lamalera
After BBC featured this village a couple years ago on the Human Planet, an increasing number of tourists have also been visiting. Friends who were among the first dive charters to ply these waters said that a decade ago they would frequently see malnutrition in these villages. Now that more people visit, the indigenous people are more easily able to feed themselves.
In a sense, it was the education of our global, connected world about these people that had a substantial impact on their daily lives.
The age of Imperialism certainly caused serious upheaval around the world. Natives globally underwent similar transformations as they were exposed to new technology and worldviews (in most cases, by force). Here are a couple links demonstrating that in the 18th Century Polynesians were subjected to a similar combination of doctrine and education as discussed in Marker’s paper, Borders and the Borderless Coastal Salish: decolonizing historiographies of Indigenous Schooling (2015):