Sacred Vessels: Navigating Tradition and Identity in Micronesia Part 2 of 2 (1997)

Sacred Vessels: Navigating Tradition and Identity in Micronesia Part 2 of 2 (1997)


REMEMBERED, MEMORIALIZED
OR FORGOTTEN. HOW DO YOU SEE ME HERE ? [ Diaz ]
IT IS CURIOUS THAT THIS CANOE,
BUILT ONLY A DECADE AGO, WOULD ALREADY BE SITTING STILL
IN A MUSEUM, LIKE A RELIC OF DAYS GONE BY. DID THE CANOE CULTURE
IN GUAM DIE JUST AS QUICKLY AS
THE HEROIC EFFORT TO REVIVE IT ? I DON’T THINK SO. RATHER, I LIKE TO THINK THAT
THE SPIRIT THAT BUILT IT
NOW INHABITS THE MUSEUM, AND IN THE MUSEUM AWAITS SOME
UNSUSPECTING VISITOR TO POSSESS. WHO WILL BE
SO POSSESSED, INSPIRED… TO SEIZE THE ADZE
AND CARVE ANOTHER CANOE, AND THEN ANOTHER,
AND AGAIN ANOTHER… UNTIL THERE ARE LOTS OF CANOES
PLYING GUAM’S WATERS
ONCE AGAIN ? WHEN I GO BACK THERE NOW,
I LOOK AT THAT CANOE, I JUST THINK IT’S SOMETHING THAT
WAS A LONG TIME AGO AND THERE’S
OTHER THINGS I WANNA MOVE ON TO. CERTAIN ASPECTS AND PRINCIPLES
DIDN’T EXIST HERE ANY LONGER, AND THAT WAS PLANKING
TO MAKE THE CANOE HIGHER. ALSO, THE SAILING,
THE NAVIGATION,
THE NAMES OF STARS. I WANTED TO GO TO POLOWAT
TO LEARN THESE
UNANSWERED QUESTIONS. MY EXPERIENCES OF WORKING
ON CANOES ON POLOWAT… AND THEN LATER THINKING ABOUT
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE,
I STARTED TO DISCOVER THAT… THERE IS KNOWLEDGE THERE
WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED. YOU JUST HAVE TO TAKE
DIFFERENT PATHS TO DISCOVER IT. [ Diaz ]
IN POLOWAT, MEREK HEKI… IS THE PROCESS OF LEARNING
THE CONCEPTS OF NAVIGATION. IT MEANS
“UNFOLDING THE WOVEN MAT.” THERE ARE MATS FOR
LEARNING ABOUT STARS, MATS FOR LEARNING
ABOUT CANOE BUILDING, MATS FOR LEARNING ABOUT
BUILDING CANOE HOUSES. MEREK HEKI ALSO MEANS
“OPENING UP YOUR HEART.” IT MEANS THAT A NAVIGATOR
WILL REVEAL ALL HE KNOWS
TO HIS STUDENTS. [ Soste ]
TO BE A GOOD NAVIGATOR, WE FIND SOMEONE WHO IS
EXPERT IN NAVIGATION. FOR ME AND TINO,
OUR ADOPTIVE FATHER
IS A REAL AND GREAT NAVIGATOR. [ Speaking In Polowat ] [ Tino ]
HE STARTED TEACHING ME
HOW MANY STARS THERE ARE, THE NAMES OF THE STARS
AND DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES
IN NAVIGATION. I TALK TO RAPWI,
BUT ASK HIM TO WRITE IT DOWN. HE’S RELUCTANT.
HE DOESN’T WANT ME
TO WRITE IT DOWN. IF YOU WRITE A KNOWLEDGE,
IT’S NOT SAFE.
SOMEBODY’S GONNA STEAL IT. THE SAFEST LOCKER IS YOUR BRAIN. [ Translator ]
WHEN I STUDIED
ABOUT NAVIGATION, IT IS DIFFERENT FROM
MY STUDENTS TODAY. WE HAVE SOME AMERICAN CUSTOMS
TO CHUUKESE CUSTOMS. MY TEACHER BEFORE
DIDN’T LIKE ME TO WRITE
AND RECORD WHAT HE TEACH ME. THAT WAY WE CAN
MEMORIZE WHAT WE LEARN. BUT NOW, THEY RECORD AND WRITE
WHAT I TAUGHT THEM. [ Tino ]
UNFORTUNATELY, I THINK
IN THIS MODERN DAY… THAT YOU’RE GOING OUT THERE
TO GO TO SCHOOL, AND YOU’RE MISSING THE DAYS
OF YOUR INSTRUCTION… FROM YOUR ELDERLIES,
YOUR FATHERS, YOUR UNCLES. SO THE LOCKER IS EMPTY.
YOU NEED TO PUT THEM SOMEWHERE. THAT WOULD BE ON PAPER. [ Soste ]
THE OLD NAVIGATORS, THEY STILL
REMEMBER FROM LONG TIME AGO… WITHOUT READING, WRITING– BUT ME, I JUST LEARN… RIGHT AFTER WHEN I GRADUATED
FROM CHUUK HIGH SCHOOL. AND WHEN SOMEONE TALK TO ME
ABOUT BIRDS AND FISH, I GET MAD IF I FORGET. I COME BACK HOME
AND OPEN MY NOTES. MY FATHER, HE CHECK MY BOOK. IF HE SAW THAT I MISSED… SOME BIRDS AND FISH, HE SAID,
“I ALREADY TOLD YOU THIS. AND WHY YOU FORGET ?” LEARNING OF NAVIGATION
IS A LONG PROCESS… INCLUDING DISCIPLINE,
WORSHIPING, MAGIC… AND EVERYTHING ELSE. AND ONE SHOULD KNOW THAT… A NAVIGATOR IS
THE COMPLETE PERSON
IN THE CULTURE OF POLOWAT. HE HAS TO LEARN EVERYTHING:
SAFETY, LEADERSHIP. THEY LEARN FIGHTING ALSO,
LIKE KUNG FU. AFTER HE FINISH,
HE WILL BE ALMOST LIKE A NINJA,
A SUPERMAN. WHEN YOU HAVE A PROBLEM,
LIKE “I’M SICK.” “OKAY, I’LL DO THIS FOR YOU.” THOSE WHO COMPLETED
THE ART OF NAVIGATION,
THEY’RE INITIATED. IN MY OWN TRANSLATION,
THEY’RE NOT INITIATED. THEY’RE ORDAINED
BECAUSE THEY’RE PRIESTS. THEY PERFORM
PURIFICATION OF SOULS. WHILE LEARNING, IT’S LIKE
THEY’RE IN A MONASTERY.
THEY’RE ISOLATING THEMSELVES. THERE ARE CERTAIN TIMES
WHERE THEY’RE EVEN
RESTRAINED FROM SEX. THEY DISCIPLINE THEMSELVES.
THEY BECOME THE COMPLETE MAN. ♪♪ [ Man Chanting ] [ Soste ]
SOME CHANT FROM MANIPY
I KEPT IN A TAPE RECORDER. BECAUSE IN ORDER
TO MAKE THIS SPIRIT
HAVE A GOOD FEELING… THAT WE WANNA SEE THE SPIRIT. WE MAKE A GOOD TUNE SO
HE CAN TURN BACK AND SAY, “OKAY, I’LL LEAD THE WAY
BECAUSE YOU DO IT RIGHT.” [ Diaz ]
PWO IS THE CEREMONY THAT
MARKS THE COMPLETION… OF ONE’S STUDIES TO BECOME
A MASTER NAVIGATOR. PWO INVOLVES CALLING
UPON THE SPIRITS. BUT BECAUSE THE POLOWATESE
HAVE CONVERTED TO CHRISTIANITY, THEY HAVE NOT HAD
A PWO CEREMONY IN RECENT YEARS. THIS HAS POSED A DILEMMA. IF YOU CALL ON THE SPIRITS,
YOU GO AGAINST THE NEW RELIGION. BUT IF YOU FORGET THE SPIRITS,
YOU MIGHT GET LOST
IN YOUR VOYAGE. ♪♪ [ Chanting ] THE OLD NAVIGATORS,
WHO WENT THROUGH PWO
AND ALL THE SPIRITS, ARE WATCHING ALL OVER THEM,
WATCHING THE SAILORS
AND WHAT THEY DO. AND FOR US, MAYBE BECAUSE… THEY DON’T MAKE US GET INTO
THE PWO PARTY CEREMONY. AND WE GO TO CHURCH
BEFORE WE SAIL. BECAUSE THEY TOLD US… THAT SOMEONE WHO MAKE PWO,
HAVE ALL THE SPIRITS OF THINGS. LIKE IN CHURCH, THEY SAID, “THE OLD THINGS GO
AGAINST THE RELIGION.” THIS IS HOW WE DO IT NOW. THE SPIRITS ARE FOR
ONLY THOSE WHO HAVE PWO. IF I BELIEVE THAT THE PWO
WILL DO A GOOD THING FOR ME, THE PWO WILL STILL BE ALIVE. A PWO IS A COMPLETE PERSON. IT COMES FROM A PROCESS
OF PREPARING FOOD. BREADFRUIT, TARO. AFTER YOU COOK IT,
YOU POUND IT JUST LIKE
A MASHED POTATO. THE BEST WAY
IS THE POUNDED ONE… BECAUSE THE YOUNG AND THE OLD
CAN EAT IT WITHOUT PROBLEM. SO, A PERSON WHO
COMPLETED NAVIGATION, HE’S BEEN REFINED THROUGH
THE PROCESS OF LIFE. YOU CANNOT EVEN FIND
A GRAIN IN HIM ANYMORE. HE’S REFINED.
HE’S LIKE WATER. AND WATER IS POWERFUL. [ Diaz ]
IF MEN ARE THE PWO, THE EMBODIMENT
OF EXCELLENCE AND REFINEMENT, WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT
THE WOMEN ARE THE PWO POUNDERS ? THE PROJECTS
THAT ARE ONGOING NOW… ARE TO BUILD
A SAILING CANOE. THAT WOULD BE DONE AT THE
CANOE HOUSE THAT WE’RE BUILDING. WE’RE USING OUR SKILLS
FROM POLOWAT AND SEGUNDO
AND THE CANOE ITSELF. THE STYLE REPRESENTS WHAT
OUR CANOES HERE ON GUAM… WOULD HAVE LOOKED LIKE
MANY, MANY YEARS AGO. WE HOPE TO TAKE
THE CANOE AND SAIL IT
TO THE NORTHERN MARIANAS, A VOYAGE THAT HASN’T TAKEN PLACE
IN OVER 300 YEARS. IT’S BEEN DIFFICULT. WE’VE HAD TO TRANSLATE
A MONEY ECONOMY
AS A MEANS OF SUPPORT, WHEREAS IN POLOWAT, OF COURSE,
THE WHOLE COMMUNITY
WOULD COME TOGETHER. IT’S VERY DIFFICULT DOVE TAILING
THE OLD CULTURAL WAYS… TO THE REALITIES OF WHAT
WE HAVE ON GUAM WHICH ARE
A MONEY-BASED ECONOMY. ESSENTIALLY, WE’VE HAD TIMES
WHERE WE’VE HAD… THE RESOURCES TO WORK,
AND WE’VE DONE THAT DILIGENTLY. WE’VE WORKED REALLY HARD.
WE’VE GOTTEN TO WHERE
IT’S ALMOST COMPLETE. WE RAN OUT OF RESOURCES.
IN MANY RESPECTS,
WE RAN OUT OF ENERGY. SO AT THIS POINT,
WE’RE REALLY AT A STANDSTILL. I THINK
THAT’S GOOD IN A WAY BECAUSE
WE’VE HAD TO REFLECT ON… WHERE DID WE GO WRONG IN
NAVIGATING THROUGH THE SOCIETY
THAT WE HAVE TO WORK WITHIN ? WHAT WE REALLY HAVE TO TURN TO
IS OURSELVES AND SAY, “OKAY, THE WAY THAT
WE HAVE SURVIVED
OUTSIDERS COMING TO GUAM… HAS ESSENTIALLY BEEN TO ADAPT
TO DIFFERENT CHANGES.” IT’S NOT SO MUCH ABOUT THE PAST,
AND HOW IT WAS, BUT HOW IT IS. AND PART OF HOW IT IS
IS YOU MAKE CHANGES
AND YOU ADAPT. SOME OF THE MODERN THINGS
THAT YOU SEE IN THESE OLD THINGS
ARE JUST PART OF IT. IT’S JUST HOW THEY EVOLVE. THINGS SHOULD CHANGE
AS CULTURE IS CHANGING. THAT DOESN’T
CHANGE THE ELEMENT. IT’S JUST THE MANNER
OF OBTAINING IT AND SAVING IT. IN THESE MODERN DAYS,
I THINK THAT THE CULTURE IS
SO IMPORTANT AND SO VALUABLE. IT SHOULD BE SAVED,
AND ONE WAY TO SAVE IT… IS TO SHARE IT WITH OTHERS–
WITH THE WORLD. [ Soste ]
TINO ASKED ME IF ANYBODY
CAN HELP PRESERVE THE CULTURE… BECAUSE WE LOST MANY CULTURES
IN CHUUK. THEY DIDN’T KNOW HOW
TO BUILD BIG CANOES FOR VOYAGE. IF YOU CAN DO THIS,
MAYBE YOU CAN HELP CHUUK. I TRAVEL TO MANY DIFFERENT
PLACES PRESENTING HOW TO BUILD
A CANOE OR NAVIGATIONS. [ Man Speaking ] [ Tino ]
A PERSON’S LEARNING
CAN ONLY BE MEANINGFUL… IF YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE,
WHAT YOUR CULTURE IS. OTHERWISE,
YOU JUST HANG FROM A TREE.
YOU DON’T HAVE ANY ROOTS. ♪♪ [ Soste Chanting ] [ Soste ]
NOW WE TRY TO GO BACK TO OUR
OWN TRADITIONAL WAY OF LIVING… BECAUSE MONEY IS THE KEY
FOR AMERICAN WAY. BUT OUR WAY DOESN’T
NEED ANY MONEY. WE CAN GO BY CANOE
AND THE WIND. ♪♪ [ Chanting Continues ] [ Tino ]
MY KIDS, SOMETIMES I TALK
TO THEM ABOUT NAVIGATION. THEY GO DURING THE SUMMERS
AND JOIN MY BROTHER’S KIDS
ON THE ISLAND. THAT’S WHERE I WANT TO LIVE
THE REST OF MY LIFE. WHETHER I CAN MAKE IT
BACK THERE, I DON’T KNOW, BUT I ALWAYS WANT
TO GO BACK HOME. ♪♪ [ Children Singing ] [ Voices of Canoe Overlapping ]
I WAS SCULPTED BY YOUR HANDS… FASHIONED BY YOUR EYES, STABILIZED AND BALANCED
BY THE OUTRIGGER YOU LASHED. I HAVE TRAVELED
FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS– THOUSANDS OF MILES FOR YOU. NOW I SCULPT YOU, FASHION YOU, STABILIZE AND BALANCE YOU. AND WE SHALL TRAVEL
FOR A THOUSAND MORE YEARS– A THOUSAND MORE MILES. ♪♪ [ Singing Continues ] ♪

9 thoughts on “Sacred Vessels: Navigating Tradition and Identity in Micronesia Part 2 of 2 (1997)

  1. Waioo ewar ia pwal muta ren minei…I see my cousins uncles and relatives that passed away in this video, I haven't been to polowat in 2 decades

  2. But I know one day I'll be home again..my cousin jackson may u rest in peace bro..until we meet again..I shed tears watching this clip…

  3. Kick out the white Christian missionaries. They have no idea or respect for your culture and traditions. Just another way to control people.

  4. The chamorros from Guam lost the art of navigation with their ancestors since they first set foot on Guam. Once set foot they fell in love with their island & had no means to travel the sea again. My ancestors on the other hand, we are people of the sea. Infact our Chuukese language is based on the world of navigation. We are meant to be on the sea.

  5. @6:56 "The old things are go against the religion" this is true even within the bible…
    Paul explains the 'written-document' that was binding the Jews in Colossians 2:14,
    and when Peter comes to accept that birds and animals were now clean Acts 10:9-15

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