The Canoe is the People – A resource pack to integrate indigenous navigation knowledge into education

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The indigenous peoples of the Pacific developed a vast body of knowledge about the ocean and wayfaring. They navigated the ocean guided by stars, winds, waves and the behavior of birds, fish and whales. This resource pack provides instructors with the opportunity to teach about Pacific wayfaring while, at the same time, fulfilling learning objectives in school curricula. It includes suggested curriculum frameworks, marking schemes, a teacher’s guide, lesson plans, learner’s text and evaluation forms. These can be accessed from a dedicated website (compatible in English and Maori language).

Indigenous seafaring and knowledge of non-instrument navigation is consistent with, complementary to and can be integrated into many existing school subjects like English, Maths, Geography, History, and Industrial Art classes, among others. In addition to its links with the school curriculum, young people are encouraged to seek out knowledgeable individuals in their own communities and to create opportunities for sharing this knowledge between elders and youth. It is hoped that in this manner, indigenous knowledge of voyaging and navigation will remain a dynamic, creative and productive resource that continues to be highly valued throughout the Pacific Region, and beyond.

Moreover, by integrating indigenous knowledge into lessons, students gain an understanding of a tradition that predates many western scientific models and assumptions about the art of navigating. UNESCO has concentrated on a range of issues related to the use and knowledge of the ocean, wayfaring, transhumance and navigation. Apart from providing concrete materials and activities, the resource pack also discusses the different ways in which teachers can link community knowledge with the curriculum and the various benefits of integrating indigenous knowledge into formal education.

Educational level(s): Primary and Secondary Education

Region /countries: Asia and the Pacific

Access the resources:

Link for direct access: See the main website for this project here.