Elon juon waan joñak in Majel im ej ba kwojab inojeiklok jen wa kein.
(Don’t drift away from these canoes as they are your paths through life - Traditional Marshallese Wisdom)
We carry the cultural and historical inheritance of ocean navigators of peerless skill and their courageous kin who crossed vast distances before the tribes of Europe had ventured forth from their small part of the earth.
(Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara)
We sweat and cry salt water, so we know that the ocean is really in our blood.
Grounding oneself in a canoe and an oceanic culture that survives the generative and transformative histories of colonialism, as well as the politics they beget, offers a particularly deep, substantive, and compelling vantage point with which to map and move what are after all the mobile coordinates of indigenous cultural and political consciousness.
A Marshallese long-distance voyaging canoe (walap) on the day of its launch and maiden sail. Photographed on Majuro Atoll 1992
(Photograph © 1989-2001 Dirk HR Spennemann)