Navigating the Weather (NaWA)

“Navigating the Weather (NaWA)” is a research project led by Candide Simard and Apolonia Tamata, in collaboration with activists and members of the Uto ni Yalo Trust, and associate researchers Andrea Deri, anthropologist – specialist in climate change, and Caroline Giraud, expert on communication and community engagement).

In the past, knowledge of traditional navigation was passed on within the family and communities, but now the continuation of such instruction must be deliberate. Traditional navigation is being re-discovered in the Pacific, as it fulfils sustainability aims, both cultural and environmental. The core of the project is a documentation and study of the language used to express and share knowledge about navigation. It focuses on how the Uto ni Yalo Trust (UNYT) crew, volunteers, senior navigators, trainers and trainees teach and learn navigation skills, name the artifacts they use, and describe the environment and ocean patterns they encounter. The project promotes a deeper understanding of Fiji’s maritime cultural heritage – the body of distinctive traditional knowledge found wherever groups of people live near oceans. It will be helpful not only to community groups but also to professionals in fields such as marine biology, fisheries extension, community planning, and education who are trying to understand the cultural aspects of maritime activities.

Image credit: UNYT member

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