Ke Ao Maoli
I came across this article a couple weeks ago:
"CANCUN, Mexico — Encroaching seas in the far Pacific are raising the salt level in the wells of the Marshall Islands. Waves threaten to cut one sliver of an island in two. 'It's getting worse,' says Kaminaga Kaminaga, the tiny nation's climate change coordinator.
The rising ocean raises questions, too: What happens if the 61,000 Marshallese must abandon their low-lying atolls? Would they still be a nation? With a U.N. seat? With control of their old fisheries and their undersea minerals? Where would they live, and how would they make a living? Who, precisely, would they and their children become?"
Regardless of what one believes is the cause of global warning, the questions raised are serious and need to be addressed. I would like to get into the cultural implications in a future post, but one thing that disturbed me about this article was the comments. Entire groups of indigenous people are being displaced by this and so many people took time out of their day to stop and let the world know just how silly and trivial they think it is. I know most people on comment boards are trolling for attention but I see this kind of thing constantly.
It's not the first or last time I will be disappointed by the level of discourse on public message boards but it reminds me of how important it is for people of Pacific nations to stand together, raise awareness, and lend support to these struggles. Living on the continent, I still meet people who have no idea there is even such a thing as an indigenous Hawaiian people! We got into a discussion with a woman at an event a couple weeks ago about the ignorance of the American people on this subject and her reply was "I know, I totally get it, I am a 6th generation Ohioan." ..... what?
I have so much to learn about my heritage and culture. I think it's important to realize though that we all have a responsibility to pass whatever knowledge we have on to those around us, whether we're on the continent or on the islands. Only that will lead to a more accurate understanding and appreciation of Hawaiian and other Polynesian people and the issues facing us today. Lives, languages, and cultures depend on it.
Please take a second to read the article and lend whatever knowledge you have to the message boards.