It’s been pretty cool to share performances with my cousin Milañ here at the COP. This was taken at the US People’s Delegation Speak Out. We combined Milan’s weaving and our Marshallese jaki-ed history with my “Butterfly Thief” poem on disappearing islands 🌴 #haveyoursei
Really powerful day today. It started with a traditional Fijian kava ceremony this morning in Manheim Germany, a ghost town village where the locals were forced to leave for the expansion of coal mining.
The ceremony was our Pacific way to show respect, recognize our solidarity as communities affected by the fossil fuel industry and ask for permission from the remaining residents to be on their land.
It was actually a rainy freezing German morning. Despite the weather, you can see our Warriors barefoot without jackets. A representation of humility, resilience, respect and south Pacific Mana.
Then we visited the edge of a giant coal mine - it was massive and horrifying. But it also connected us deeper to why we are here. .
I’ve been writing A LOT lol. Latest blog post isn’t climate or COP related: it’s a film review of Island Soldier - a new film from former Peace Corp volunteer Nathan Fitch documenting Micronesian soldiers in the US Military. If you get a chance I highly recommend checking out the film..
Here’s an excerpt from my review:.
“I came into the movie wondering how Nathan would toe the line between sharing the story of these families – would the result be a military recruitment video? Would it be a sharp condemnation of the militarization of our islands?.
The answer is that it’s neither. It’s a sympathetic look at why so many Micronesians join the military, and how they survive and deal with the fallout of that experience.”.
Island Soldier will be screening Nov 3rd and 5th at the Honolulu International Film Festival (screening info here: https://www.hiff.org/films-and-events/island_soldier_2017) and in New York City at DOC NYC on Nov 10th and 11th (screening info here: http://www.docnyc.net/film/island-soldier/)
Uploaded my latest blog post for PREL Pacific Storytellers Cooperative “Before COP23: On #Haveyoursei , Loss, and attending as a Poet.” 🌺 Here’s an excerpt:.
“I threw myself into the #haveyoursei campaign during our second @350pacific retreat a month ago. It was just two days after I went to pay my respects to Tony in the hospital, and I could feel myself losing hope, losing direction.
I was strengthened by connecting, once again, with the 350 warriors. It reminded me that I wasn’t alone at all.”.
“The first thing Terse says when I arrive to learn jaki-ed weaving from her is that this type of weaving almost disappeared. She says I need to write about how she revived it. How she pulled the strands of leaves and the patterns that look like stars unblinking from worn out photographs in the only museum on island. Despite the absence of a teacher, despite elders buried with the instructions still grasped between fingers, she pulled strands from an emptiness, from a void and a hunger within herself and she created.” .
From my latest blog post “Weaving Workshop Reflections: Part II.” Link in profile ✌🏽
Enjoyed my time last weekend in Skagway, Alaska. Thanks to the students for organizing and bringing me out to their conference on climate change. These are the same students who came to the Marshalls to see cc effects first hand. I kept thinking of that connection between glaciers and islands, the north and the south - and a line from a poem I wrote with the homies @isaborgeson, @reethum, Eunice, and @metasarmiento .
I am running/because what begins in ice/always ends/in ocean.” .
Special thanks to Kent and the Brady’s for being amazing hosts. I want my own log cabin now! Lol.
“A friend said, “You’re going back to your roots” and I scoffed at the simplicity of this statement. It was trying, and failing, and trying again, and connecting, only slightly. There was never an arrival. There was a grasping. “There’s a gap over there.” There’s a gap between the words I weave inside my own head – at some point I wasn’t diligent and didn’t pull at the right words. I missed a strand.” 📷: @chewylin22 Back in rainy Portland after a 3 week weaving training in Majuro to prepare a new performance piece for the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. Wrote a blog post about the experience (link in profile).
An excerpt from one of our Saipan Storyteller participants - Coloma Castro: "This is what the horizon will look like...Sails expanding across the horizon. An ancient revival. The next generation does not mean forgetting ancient practices. It means more fresh minds that are willing to preserve their culture. We are the people. The people of the land. Tipiyeew. A Carolinean word that means to come together and unite. With these sails on the horizon, we will unite." //// After Palau we went to Saipan for another series of Storytellers Workshops sponsored by PREL and @670humanities. One day was spent on a canoe from the 500 Sails organization. After our canoe ride, we wrote. Read their stories at the link in my profile. //// 📷 @dan_lin_photos Follow Dan's page for more gorgeous photos from all over the world
After my presentation a woman comes up and tells me that my promise to my daughter - the one I wrote in my poem "Dear Matafele Peinam" - is irresponsible. She says my islands are doomed. She says my people need to move on - that we've been living in our islands for thousands of years and that, like Moana, we need to continue voyaging. She says "There's plenty of land in other islands." I tell her that, with all due respect, Moana is a Disney movie. And that I disagree. I don't think we're doomed. I still have hope. And besides, all of the Pacific is threatened, not just my own islands, and that if we were to move, it wouldn't be *our* land. It wouldn't be the same. She casually repeats herself - "Well I dunno - your islands are doomed." I force myself to end the conversation amicably, slowly. I smile. "I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree." She shrugs, says ok, and leaves. Here's the truth: that conversation left me a lot more shaken then I'd like to admit. Because yeah. I have doubts. Sometimes I wonder if this is the right path. Sometimes I wonder if this is a doomed path. I don't know for sure that we'll save our islands. I'm afraid that I'm instilling false hope. There may be a time when I'll have to admit defeat - when I'll begin packing the details of my island into my body. When I'll force myself to remember that this is what the sea grass feels like. This is the sky against the ocean. This is an overcast day, sun brushing against my neck. But that time is not now. And after much reflection, I've decided to continue fighting until we're absolutely sure that there's nothing else we can do. I'd rather go down fighting with everything I have in me. I'd rather face the future head on. 📷: @dan_lin_photos
Poetry workshopping in the Rock Islands, Palau. The papers I'm holding are Jose and Justin's first drafts of their poems and we're off to edit 😊One of my favorite parts of workshopping is the editing stage - when I can sit and connect with the participants and witness their stories unfold. Check out their final drafts and the other students' pieces at the PREL storytellers website (the link is in my profile). Thanks to the awesome @dan_lin_photos for this 📷
Milky Way, Palau 🇵🇼 Learning more about these beautiful islands and culture while I'm here to teach youth poetry workshops and present at the Pacific Education Conference. Apparently the Milky Way gets its name from the limestone at the bottom of the lagoon that forms a clay like substance. Never seen anything like it. 📷@dan_lin_photos
"I am living because they tried to drown my body but forgot I am made of salt" ////// Leaving Hawaii after the most satisfying creative process and performance I've ever had. My family's like why is your art getting so weird? Lol I'm honestly not sure ..I only know that in exploring these dark places, I come to an understanding of myself and a strength that didn't exist before. Which feels right. Thank you to @jocelynkng @jahrager @reethum for inspiring me and holding space the entire time and to @drzzl for bringing us together 🌓🌊🌴👹
Hawaii folks - check out this new Smithsonian Museum pop up culture lab 'AE KAI this weekend July 7-9. Featuring 50 artists from Hawaii and the Pacific. I'll be performing a twisted version of my latest poem (as a mejenkwaad) in collaboration with @jocelynkng @reethum @jahrager - all as deities//demons//goddesses from each of our islands. Performance times: Today 3 pm and 5 pm. Sat 12 pm & 1:30 pm. Sunday 3 pm & 4:30 pm. At the old foodland at ala moana shopping mall next to the post office. Look for us in the meat locker (literally lol) 👹
Two weeks later and I'm still processing the day I spent in Hiroshima. I filmed a new poem I dedicated to Marshallese women who've suffered from radiation related birth defects in front of the Genbaku Dome, the only building left standing near the hypocenter of the U.S. bomb blast, 72 years ago. I met a 23 year old tour guide who works nights in a city away just so he can spend his days telling the story of Hiroshima as a volunteer. I also spoke with a woman who witnessed the bomb as a 6 year old girl. Safe to say that experience will stay with me forever. Here's an excerpt from the piece: "Sometimes I wonder if Marshallese women are the chosen ones.//If someone selected us from a stack. Drew us out slow. Methodical. Then, issued the order://
Give birth to nightmares. Show the world what happens. When the sun explodes inside you.///How many stories of nuclear war are hidden in our bodies?" To watch the video, check the link in my profile
My big events here in Japan are done and done ✅ ✅: 350 Japan Storytelling Workshop, CAN (Climate Action Network) Japan performance and panel on 100% Renewable Energy, and then SPF Pacific Ambassador's Roundtable. Thanks to Earth Company for making this trip possible!
Happy Constitution Day RMI! 🇲🇭Showcasing #laefly newest necklace designs with my sis Brenda - all these photos are from the One Island One Product initiative, asking each island to display a product they're especially proud of. These necklaces are my fav <3 along with that breadfruit flour!