The Canoe Is the People
Indigenous Navigation in the Pacific
A young man from Satawal
See, there are some young people from these islands who went out to school in the United States of somewhere outside, and when they came back, they lost all these ... they lost all these things. And you know, I'm kind of ashamed. If I'm those people, I'll be ashamed for losing our, you know, way of life. That's why I want to learn this.
From The Last Navigator © INCA 1989. Directed by Andre Singer.
Voyages and Revival
In parts of the Pacific, especially Micronesia, much navigational knowledge has been kept alive. In others, it has been lost.
Now, all over the Pacific, there is a growing revival. There are now many voyaging societies, including those in Hawaii, Tahiti, the Cook Islands, Aotearoa GLOSSARY Aotearoa - New Zealand , and the Marshall Islands. People are making more and more voyages in traditional canoes - rediscovering the past and carving the way to the future. New schools are being started to teach navigation to young people.
Sometimes, European ways are used - like teaching with books, building canoes with modern tools, navigating with the help of western maps and compasses, and using inboard motors and escort boats GLOSSARY escort boats - modern boats that follow a canoe for support. People have different opinions about these things, but everyone has the same aim - to keep the traditional knowledge alive and hand it down to the young navigators of the future.