Indigenous Knowledge of Navigation in the Pacific
Indigenous navigation in the Pacific, or wayfinding as it is sometimes known today, is an ancient craft, which has come very close to being lost forever in parts of the Pacific.
The Indigenous Knowledge of Navigation in the Pacific Curriculum, and the Learner’s Resource Pack which supports it, have been developed by the UNESCO Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) Programme as a voluntary addition to the timetables of school, colleges and other learning institutions in the Pacific. It contributes to one of the main goals of the LINKS Programme, which is to bring indigenous knowledge into the education system.
The curriculum is designed to be taught alongside, The Canoe Is the People CD-ROM, which was produced by UNESCO LINKS. The CD-ROM provides a large amount of information about indigenous knowledge of navigation and includes interactive learning activities and materials. However, if the technology to use this CD-ROM is not available, a teacher or a facilitator who has access to this Learner’s Resource Pack, can still teach the curriculum. The additional assistance and contribution of local members of the community who are knowledgeable about traditional non-instrument navigation, and who are willing to pass this on to younger people, will make it possible to provide an exciting and stimulating addition to the timetables of schools and colleges throughout the Pacific Region.
A review by UNESCO’s LINKS Programme in February 2004 of the current curriculum of secondary schools in the Pacific revealed that indigenous knowledge of navigation is consistent with, and complementary to, many of the objectives of existing subjects. Social studies, cultural studies and social science all have objectives focusing on traditional culture and knowledge, but have few, if any, direct reference to the seafaring history of the Pacific Island Peoples. The teaching of Science also provides many opportunities to compare and contrast traditional indigenous scientific knowledge of seafaring and non-instrument navigation with Western theories and ideas about how the natural world works. The review also identified many other areas of possible integration, particularly with English, but also with maths, geography, history and industrial arts. Many of the objectives of these subjects can be achieved through the delivery of the Indigenous Knowledge of Navigation in the Pacific Curriculum. This curriculum has been designed to ensure that wherever possible the core objectives are referenced to appropriate learning objectives in these other subjects. This will allow teachers to reinforce learning and develop skills that are relevant to subjects that are already being taught.