Lata’s Wayfinding System and Climate Science

Dublin Core


Lata’s Wayfinding System and Climate Science


The cultural vision and history of Taumako extends far beyond their Duff Islands, the SE Solomons region, or the western Pacific. According to the people of Taumako, their ancestor Lata, was the first person to build and sail a voyaging canoe. Taumakans today are unique among Polynesian and Austronesian people in that they still build and navigate voyaging canoes using only the ancient designs, materials, and methods of Lata. Lata/Laka/La’a/Rata/Raka, etc, is a Culture Hero across Polynesia, and at least some islands where the ancient Austronesian migrants settled thousands of years ago. Lata’s successes and mistakes help Taumakans, and us, learn who we are, and what to do and not do as we face global climate change and cultural wars. Taumako is full of sites where episodes of the Story of Lata happened…the islet where Lata was born, the rock Lata’s father killed the father eel, the place where Lata stood with Hina to see if the tree he cut down was actually on Hina’s land, the stones where Lata moored his voyaging canoe, where he sailed out and Hina blocked the entrance so he could not come back, where Lata picked his crew from out of the ocean, etc. Taumako was a crossroads of early Papuan settlers and Lapita pottery-making, migrants, and canoe technology that combines both Polynesian and Micronesian design features. The Story of Lata is lived today in the practice of the ancient Pacific voyaging arts. How can all this help them break out from colonialist borders and policies, make a living at the bottom level of the global economy, and/or survive climate change? What can we learn from Lata?


M. George


The Museum of Underwater Archaeology




M. George




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