Nan Madol: “In the space between things”


Pacific Islander historians and scholars have long called for a view of our pasts, not as static linear timelines that move in one direction from the past to the present, but as fluid cycles in which the past, present, and future are interdependent on each other, entangled in infinite trajectories that are forever a part of our Islander worldviews. Still, many historians continue to insist on the absolute centrality of the dates, names, events, places, and other particulars of the past that make up clear, convenient, and neatly organized chronologies that have led us to where we are today. The Micronesian Milestones timeline, at first glance, appears to be yet another linear accounting of history like so many others. It has a defined starting point of 2, BC, though no clear point of conclusion as historic events will be added as they occur. Events appear in chronological order. For the most part, these events appear to be unchangeable fixtures of the past. But Micronesian Milestones diverges from traditional timelines in a number of ways. Most prominently, the timeline places Micronesian history not in isolation, but alongside major milestones in world history.

Micronesia Portal

It is a minute hike into the rainforest to this huge overhanging cave and waterfall. The waterfall is feet high and the cave more than feet across. A large colony of bats live in the cave and there is access behind the waterfall that leads to the Kupwuriso cannons, relics from the WWII era.

A hidden cave and an artillery battery dating from the Japanese occupation of Chuuk, Micronesia, during WWII. (AP). MAJURO. My husband.

In an oral society such as Micronesia, music conveys considerable information on the past even as it reflects changing cultural patterns. Traditional chants evoked memories of the historical events that inspired them. Tales that some cultures might tell in story form, Pacific islanders will often sing or dance. Elegies, sung at the funerals of notable persons, were testimonies to the achievements of the deceased.

Love songs were often tales of love and courtship between particular couples. Even church songs often called to mind the context in which they were created and first sung. The evolution of the music itself, from nose flute and chant to reggae or rap, is of considerable interest in that it reflects at a basic level the social transformation that is occurring throughout the culture.

The archival material consists of audio tapes, many of them old 7-inch reel-to-reel tapes, scattered throughout the region on the shelves of offices, local radio stations and private homes. After years of neglect, the tapes are often damaged in places. The project will collect and digitise recorded chants and music from throughout the region each of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, the Marshall Islands, the Northern Marianas and Guam. All the chants and music will be listed and the lists available on the Micronesian Seminar website so that visitors and researchers can search for musical pieces of interest to them.

Copies of the recordings will be deposited with the donor, with local archives, the Micronesian Seminar library, the University of Hawaii Library and the British Library. By the end of the project period, it is anticipated to have digitised perhaps 4, to 6, items from all the islands of Micronesia. Listen online to 7, recordings.


How did I end up drenched, emotionally drained and out a few thousand dollars in electronics in this remote island nation, one might ask? We shopped for groceries for a stay on a nearby private island but ended up mostly with items like pasta and cereal; fresh produce was scarce and overpriced. After a minute boat ride to Eneko Island, we spent a few days completely alone, kayaking and chasing colourful fish through turquoise water.

Evenings offered breathtaking sunsets, stargazing and cooking our carby meals. Highlights of Majuro included the tiny Alele Museum featuring Marshallese folk art, history and stick charts used for nautical navigation. Handicraft stores downtown sell traditional, intricately woven baskets and bags.

In an oral society such as Micronesia, music conveys considerable In Majuro hundreds of songs dating from the s were copied, that were in the personal​.

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Local guides can take you through a unique island adventure through one or several of these equatorial wonders in a single day due to the relatively compacted nature of these ecosystems, from waterfall to reef. Trails, such as the ancient stone walking paths of Yap, are readily accessible. Awesome mountain vistas to the cavernous bowels of ancient banyan trees await. The lack of any predatory animals, or of snakes, allows the whole family to enjoy these activities on land.

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Explore Pohnpei’s magnificent waterfalls and bathe in the plunge pools below. Two of the most beautiful are Kepirohi and Sahwartik. A minute ride out of Kolonia is the Nanpil River and a large natural pool.


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