Tag Archives: Oceania

New Zealand – Maori Culture & Spirituality – by Delaney Babich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

New Zealand – Maori Culture & Spirituality – by Delaney Babich. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

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[This is a piece of Greenstone, which holds mana, and its mana increases as it is passed down through generations. This rock belongs to Nga, who was our native guide during the trip. It is six generations old.]

One of the crucial parts to socialization requires understanding the perspectives of other people and their cultures. I was able to immerse myself in Maori culture while studying abroad in New Zealand. I gained a wealth of compassion & knowledge of people other than those I grew up with, as did everyone else in my group. We spent a weekend on a Marae, which is a native land where official tribal business, family functions and special events occur. Here we were introduced to a few traditional customs as well as spiritual practices. One example of a custom that intrigued me was a housekeeping rule at the marae. If anyone brought cups or bowls into the bathroom they are to be thrown away because the energy in the bathroom is not the same as the energy in the kitchen, and it upsets the natural balance of tapu. Tapu is a term describing certain restrictions in everyone’s life, and it was used as a way to control how people behaved towards each other and the environment. Everything also has a thing called Mana. Mana influenced the way in which people and groups conducted themselves, acting as a reference point for the achievements and successes in one s life. Similarly, is mana was attached to natural resources and inanimate objects could affect the behaviors of individuals and group. These are the two fundamental concepts that governed the infrastructure of traditional Maori society, and are interchangeable. They link each person to creation, and the history of ancestors. The aspect of history is detrimental to Maori culture. We were taught that knowledge and stories, all come from someone before us, and will pass through us onto someone else one day. Whether it be about food preparation, child rearing or specific spiritual practices, the Maori have kept their history alive via oral practices, rather than written ones. The leader of the Marae, Keith, taught us that every bit, every feeling, every word is important, and that it must be kept for those later to hear as well.

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A crucial characteristic to his teaching while we were there included the importance of spiritual knowledge. He says that spiritual concerns apply to all things. They are never obliterated and must be given full status and recognition. This concept is manifested out of their bond with nature, although it is much more than a bond. The Maori join all beings together; everything is connected into one independent whole, which relies on each of its parts to be healthy in order to keep thriving. It was eye opening to see an opposite way of thinking about life and the things in it, and to be welcomed into a community that desires to have their stories spread in order to keep a culture alive.

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Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy (http://NorthStarReports.org) is a student edited and student authored open access publication centered around the themes of global and historical connections. Our abiding philosophy is that those of us who are fortunate enough to receive an education and to travel our planet are ethically bound to share our knowledge with those who cannot afford to do so. Therefore, creating virtual and actual communities of learning between college and K-12 classes are integral to our mission. In five semesters we have published 200 articles covering all habitable continents and a variety of topics ranging from history and politics, food and popular culture, to global inequities to complex identities. These articles are read by K-12 and college students. Our student editors and writers come from all parts of the campus, from Nursing to Biology, Physical Therapy to Business, and remarkably, many of our student editors and writers have long graduated from college. We also have writers and editors from other colleges and universities. In addition to our main site, we also curate a Facebook page dedicated to annotated news articles selected by our student editors (http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports). This is done by an all volunteer staff. We have a frugal cash budget, and we donate much of our time and talent to this project. We are sponsored by St. Scholastica’s Department of History and Politics and by the scholarly Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies (http://theMiddleGroundJournal.org).

For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at: http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored and published by Professor Hong-Ming Liang, NSR Student Editors and Writers, The Department of History and Politics of The College of St. Scholastica, and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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New Zealand – Harbor Care: The Waikato Catchment’s Clean Little Secret — The North Star Reports – by Delaney Babich. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

New Zealand – Harbor Care: The Waikato Catchment’s Clean Little Secret — The North Star Reports – by Delaney Babich. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal

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[All photos courtesy of Whaingaroa Harbour Care.]

The Whaingaroa catchment on the west coast of New Zealand’s north island covers approximately 445 square kilometers of land. All of the water that flows through the streams, rivers, and ground end up in the Raglan harbor and eventually flow into the Tasman Sea. Twenty years ago, the harbor was contaminated to the point where people weren’t able to fish in, swim in, or drink the water. It took roughly 18 hours to catch one fish, and even then one knew better than to eat it.

Two nutrients affecting the water quality have human causes. The main source of nitrogen in New Zealand’s waterways is urine from farm animals. Once the paddocks of a farm become waterlogged, the nitrogen can wash straight through the soil before plants can use it. The weight that the animals put on the soil compacts it to the point where water and urine eventually run straight into waterways. Less directly, phosphorous from manure and fertilizer is carried into waterways by sticking to soil particles. It tends to accumulate in waterways where land has been cleared, in places where rainfall is high, and where slopes are steep and prone to erosion. This runoff results in increasing nitrate and ammonia toxicity and the unwanted growth of plants and algae. Too much nitrogen is also toxic to humans and animals. You can see why a group of locals may want to take the initiative to clean their waterways.

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Whaingaroa Harbour Care is an organization that was started by two ingenious people with a simple dream: a desire to have clean water in the Raglan area. They came up with the idea that riparian planting, fencing, and sacrificed land could easily fix the issue. They encouraged 40 farmers in the area to give up grazing land near streams, wetlands, rivers and bogs and to fence off these areas a few kilometers out from the water. The HC group then planted thousands of native and non-native trees along the waterways and wetlands. This helped soak up fecal matter, nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment that usually found its way into the harbor. They have planted 1.2 million trees since the project started in 1995, and have a 95 percent success rate with the plantings.

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In the 18 years since the management has started, there has been a dramatic improvement to the water quality and recreational fishing catches have improved. Mudflats previously barren of life are now teeming with crabs, shellfish, and wading birds. In addition to making a major difference in the water quality in the harbor, there are numerous benefits for farmers including:

• Reduced stock loss in wet areas
• Reduced veterinary bills
• Reduced soil loss
• Reduced need for weed control
• Improved stock health
• Increased productivity
• Increased pasture quality
• Increased stocking rates
• Improved fertilizer control
• Improved shade and shelter for stock

Overall, this innovative idea has improved the quality of life for the people, wildlife, and flora in the area while the quality of farms and water in the catchment have also benefited. It is important to continue this project, and they are currently reaching out to other catchments along the west coast who have the same need for improvement. It is not rocket science, and hopefully the rest of New Zealand takes up the practice in order to save their water.

Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to write for The North Star Reports — HLIANG (at) css.edu

See also, our Facebook page with curated news articles at http://www.facebook.com/NorthStarReports

The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal’s online learning community and outreach program with undergraduate and K-12 classes around the world. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

The North Star Reports publishes edited essays from our students, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Students have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, Colombia, Norway, northeastern China, Nicaragua, Micronesia, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, El Salvador, England, Finland, Russia, Cyprus, and Haiti. We also publish student reviews of books, documentaries, and films, and analysis of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches, and report on their interactions with the North Star Reports students and teachers. We thank The Department of History and Politics and the School of Arts and Letters of The College of St. Scholastica for their generous financial support for The North Star Reports and The Middle Ground Journal.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, The North Star Reports; Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal; Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica.

Kathryn Marquis Hirsch, Managing Editor, The North Star Reports.

(c) 2012-present The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy http://NorthStarReports.org ISSN: 2377-908X The NSR is sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and the scholarly Middle Ground Journal. See Masthead for our not-for-profit educational open- access policy. K-12 teachers, if you are using these reports for your classes, please contact editor-in-chief Professor Liang at HLIANG (at) css.edu

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Micronesia, Language and Globalization — The North Star Project Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By James Merle

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Micronesia, Language and Globalization — The North Star Project Reports, sponsored by The Middle Ground Journal. By James Merle

One of the most challenging aspects about teaching abroad is the language barrier. I have had to adapt lessons to students who I know going in will only understand a handful of words I say. Much effort goes in to selecting the type of language I will use to explain things I never thought I would need to explain.

Due to a lack of resources, I have been trying to teach geography to my lower level Social Studies classes from a book written for young Americans. There are no English textbooks written from the perspective of a Pacific Islander available to our school. This is challenging because the geography of the United States is far different from that in Chuuk. Chuukese have no concept of seasons because the only season here is summer. The only way I could explain snow was by asking if anyone has looked at their freezer when the frost builds up. What!? That stuff falls from the sky?

One way to draw students into participating, I have found, is to use their local language. At the beginning of the year, two of my classes of thirty students knew as much English as I knew Chuukese, and while they have made progress, we still struggle to understand each other.

Language has challenged Chuukese culture throughout its history. The Germans bought the islands from Spain in 1899, who colonized Micronesia back in the 16th century. The Japanese occupied the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) from 1914–1945, claiming the islands after World War I. After World War II the United Nations declared Micronesia a Trust Territory, in which the United States would serve as the Security Trustee of the area. The FSM has been under a compact of free association with the U.S. since 1986.

These changes of global powers occupying the area have meant a change in language each time. While few elders speak English, they are well-versed in Japanese. I once had a student write to me saying, why should I come and learn English when nobody else in my family speaks it? If I speak it too much, then maybe I will forget my native language and not even be able to talk to them.

For the Chuukese, the local language binds them together despite the constant flux of outside influences.
Map from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micronesia#mediaviewer/File:Micronesian_Cultural_Area.png


Please contact Professor Liang if you wish to contribute to The North Star Project Reports — HLIANG@CSS.EDU

For all of the North Star Project Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/

The North Star Project Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also welcome Duluth East High School, Duluth Denfeld High School, Dodge Middle School and other schools around the world to the North Star Project. The North Star Project has flourished since 2012. For a brief summary, please see the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. Student interns have reported from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world. We will post their dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star Project students and teachers.

Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA

(c) 2013-present The Middle Ground Journal. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Twenty-Nine — Food in Micronesia, by James Merle

The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Twenty-Nine — Food in Micronesia, by James Merle

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If you ask Chuukese what their favorite foods are, they will say
“local food.”

Around the island there are dozens of small stands or markets that
sell freshly picked bananas, limes, cucumbers, eggplant, coconuts,
mangoes, breadfruit, local beans, and  papayas (to name a few), and
freshly caught reef fish, tuna, and lobster. Since coconuts are 50
cents, I often grab a few in the morning before school to drink during
the day.

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The fish markets are located along the ocean in the downtown area.
The fish are kept in large coolers filled with ice. The stalls have
sometimes three or four coolers with different types of beautiful and
colorful “iik enoch” or ‘fish of the reef’ in them. Reef fish are
smaller fish caught in the lagoon.  The Chuukese word for Tuna is
“angarap,” and I have grown accustomed to eating sashimi, or raw fish.
Another interesting anecdote,  the Chuukese love to barbique fish, and
their word for barbique is “parpikiu.”

In order for one to eat fish here, one must know how to fillet a
fish. This can sometimes be a dirty process, but the payoff makes it
worth the hastle.

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In addition to the markets, there are several grocery stores that
sell just about the same things as stores in the United States, though
products from the United States are far more expensive: a box of
cereal is 7 dollars, and instant coffee is 9 dollars for a medium
sized jar. Stores are structured the same, and everyone uses the
American dollar.

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There are five “restaurants” on the island that have similar food and
prices to restaurants in the United States, but you can buy a small
container of prepared food for $1.50 from some of the markets. These
usually consist of a small turkey leg or turkey tail, rice, and a
hotdog. One shop that I particularly like sells these meat and
vegetable pies called asado rolls.

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In Chuukese culture, some people borrow eating customs from the
Japanese, since the Japanese once occupied the are prior to World War
II. Chuukese generally eat with their hands, and they have a specific
order that family members are allowed to serve themselves food.
Sometimes the oldest man of the house eats first, sometimes the
youngest. The women prepare the meals, and clean up after.

———-
For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10

The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We gratefully acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also warmly welcome Duluth East High School and Dodge Middle School to the North Star Project.

Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

Having re-tooled and re-designed the collaborative program, we are drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This school year The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world.  We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, 2013-2014 School Year

(c) 2013 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 7, Fall, 2013. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Twenty-Six — Ruuwuw by James Merle

The North Star Project, 2013-2014 Report Number Twenty-Six — Ruuwuw by James Merle

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My stay in Chuuk has been unique to say the least. Each day can bring challenges and complications that you may not have ever imagined could happen: a typhoon might blow in some nasty wind and rain, cancelling school, or a volunteer might have decided to abandon ship and return home.  Funerals are an enormous cultural events in Chuuk. Because families are so large, when someone dies anywhere around the world, the casket is shipped back to the home island, and there are lavish commemoration ceremonies. When this happens, large families of students are absent for up to an entire week from school.

While the weather in Chuuk is that of an envisioned paradise, and there are coconut trees, geckos, delicious local foods like taro, bananas, mango, and papaya, life on Chuuk is sometimes dangerous. At night, male alcohol abuse can sometimes lead to children and women being beaten.  Dogs also become territorial at night; and some of the voluteers have been bitten by them.

My island is almost like a mini-America inhabited by Micronesians; most things from America can be found here, though they are expensive: American cereal costs five to seven dollars for a box, and anything packaged is three to four times more expensive than  in the US. There are super markets and cars, and there is electricity and an airport. Chuuk also uses the US Postal Service, the US dollar, and has declared it’s official language as English.  Many of the Western influences, though, have been negative. There is no recycling on the island, and all trash is either incinerated or left on the ground. Litter is also a large problem on Weno, and it along with sewage run through the streets of “downtown” and into the ocean. Japanese and American cars that have broken down sit on the owner’s compound overgrown with vines and rust. I even saw an Audi 6 outside the laundromat the other day and my eyes widened.

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Despite the challenges that face Chuuk, I have met people working to help and change. I have been voluteering at a children’s library near my host family’s compound on Wednesdays, and I would like to start an after school program partnering with the Chuuk Women’s Council to raise awareness and educate young men about alcoholism. The introduction of a new culture has confused gender roles and values among the Chuukese. I sometimes feel mixed up in a huge culture clash, but each day brings a new adventure, and I love what I get to do. The title of my second post is “ruuwuw”, which is Chuukese for two.

———-
For all of the North Star Project 2013-2014 Reports, see https://mgjnorthstarproject.wordpress.com/
For all of the North Star Project 2013 Summer Reports, see http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm?cat=10

The North Star Project 2013-2014 School Year Reports: The Middle Ground Journal’s collaborative outreach program with K-12 classes around the world. We gratefully acknowledge North Star Academy of Duluth, Minnesota as our inaugural partner school, and the flagship of our K-12 outreach program. We also warmly welcome Duluth East High School and Dodge Middle School to the North Star Project.

Under the leadership of our North Star host teachers and student interns, The North Star Project has flourished for two years. For a brief summary, please see a recent article in the American Historical Association’s Perspectives on History, at:

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/2013/1305/Opening-The-Middle-Ground-Journal.cfm

https://www.historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/january-2014/embracing-oa-universities-adopt-open-access-policies-for-faculty-journal-publications

Having re-tooled and re-designed the collaborative program, we are drawing on the experience of our veteran student interns, ideas from our host teachers, and new projects provided by our incoming student interns. This school year The Middle Ground Journal will share brief dispatches from our North Star Project student interns, particularly from those who are currently stationed, or will soon be stationed abroad. As of the time of this report we have confirmed student interns who will be reporting from Mongolia, Southern China, Shanghai, northeastern China, The Netherlands, Tanzania, Ireland, England, Finland, Russia, and Haiti. We also have students developing presentations on theatrical representations of historical trauma, historical memory, the price individuals pay during tragic global conflicts, and different perceptions of current events from around the world.  We will post their brief dispatches here, and report on their interactions with the North Star students and teachers throughout the school year.

Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA, 2013-2014 School Year

(c) 2013 The Middle Ground Journal, Number 7, Fall, 2013. See Submission Guidelines page for the journal’s not-for-profit educational open-access policy.

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