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[Music] one of the practices from the Pacific Islands that I find most intriguing is Matt making from the Marshall Islands the Marshall Islands see themselves as being the greatest navigators in the world and one of the things that you can see is a material representation of this is the wonderful map there called meadow or red live and they're made of sticks and shells and put together as mental maps of the Marshall Islands and the currents and the swells that link those islands but the maps aren't used in a way that we use GPS and a car currently or the way that we used to use a paper map these aren't things that the navigators would have taken with them in boats this is a memory aid so it's a thing that will help you to create a mental map really good solid map so it was only ever used on shore the Marshall Islands represents an enormous number of islands and atolls in the Pacific and it's the first major island group that you reach if you're traveling Southwest from Hawaii's the Marshall Islands are a set of 29 antle's they are for 1,200 roughly islands and it takes up a space of about two million square kilometers and this is almost all water it's so interesting that this is a map not of land but it's a map of the relationship between land and sea the sea is very much the element that lashline does live with all the time very intimate part of who they are and their daily lives and their cosmologies and this ocean links them it's the unifying element I think of the ocean as a barrier but this is the reverse the ocean is that thing that creates the relationship between the atolls and the islands the great Tongan scholar Apella however has written very eloquently and powerfully about this that our sea of islands the way they're all connected they're connected by the ocean they're not separated by us I love that the cowrie shells represent the islands and they're really small most of the charges would it sticks it beautifully expresses how isolated those islands are but brought together within this greater matrix of the wood of the ocean each one of these charts is different because it's made by a navigator to represent the way he sees this ocean with its islands and how to get between them and this one here is one that was collected by Robert Louis Stevenson the author that's right he and his family traveled to Marshalls he bought this here or given it and then later on it was sold in his estate it seems impossible that you could create a map of the open ocean but the way that lease function in a general sense is that they're registering the swells the currents the landmarks of the open sea in most of the charts you'll see there's these curving sticks those ones like the echoes of the swells and the waves out from an island so when they hear denial they then go back out and then you can see the longer sticks for the ones which are currents and there's also the sticks which are like the pathways from one place to another that the navigators wanted to emphasize it makes sense that the chart is recording the way in which the water is responsive to the island since these islands are low and probably can't be seen until you're right up against them and that's one of the great skills of marshalese and other Micronesian navigators is as soon as you're just a little ways beyond you're at all your island you can't see landforms anymore you really have to just be able to read the sea and it's a reminder of how treacherous the ocean could be for somebody who was not a skilled navigator and how important passing knowledge from a senior navigator to somebody who's just learning that class really is the master navigators would take the younger men out on the canoes and they would have them lie down and canoe and feel the waves and you can feel when there's one count intersecting another and you can feel the way the boat rocks differently and these are very beautifully designed outrigger canoes and they are very highly attuned to their specific lagoon and sea environment and working and all sorts of difficult sailing conditions and that relationship with the sea is changing rapidly now the big issue for the Marshall Islanders now is climate change during the past it's been you testing so in the 1940s and the 1950s this was a place where the United States tested its hydrogen bombs most famously at the Bikini Atoll Marshall and I'm still living with that legacy and they're still testing going on but not a major weapons it's more of ballistic missiles now but part of what has come out of that is that there's this compact of free association between the Marshall Islands United States which means that the people from the Republic of the Marshall Islands can actually live and work in the States one can only imagine what a contemporary map would look like now one that spent not only Islands but actually nations certainly these maps are now fulfilling a very different role they're much more about navigating identities and connections took place they have put on people's walls so if someone from Majuro the capital of the Nationals moves out to New York they might take one of these I've been working with Tina's steggy from the Marshall Islands for a number of years and she wrote a beautiful piece to talk about climate change and I wanted her to read it out for us I called this we are navigating threatening sea our ancestors sailed to the Marshall Islands over 1,000 years ago in canoes it was a feat of wayfinding that sustains and inspires those of us now looking for a way forward in threatening seas this is also a story of our children and the generations to come what will it mean to them to be marshalese will they know the names of their home islands and the Weddell the land parcels that bind us to the earth and to each other will they think of the ocean as a part of themselves will it be a source of sustenance and a vast network of waves each with names leading like roads to other islands will they know the smell of man that's Indiana's fiber we used to weave everything clothing mat baskets the small flowers we wear in our hair what will the world be like for them [Music]