My Life Sentence


Life and the prison cells we all build for ourselves over our lifetimes. How true are these words? I enjoyed reading this piece by ESGEE musings and wanted to share this with you.

Millennial Leadership

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself’.

Leo Tolstoy, Russian mystic & novelist. 1828-1910

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At the age of ten, I had the first realization of what a gang was and what it could do to me. I do not recall how it started but one thing led to another and soon all my neighbourhood friends and playmates had ganged up against me. One evening, I had climbed up on the roof of our house with our servant as he was fixing the radio antenna. I saw my ex friends and playmates holding hands, dancing and skipping together and then with a shock, I heard their voices mocking, mimicking and making fun of me. In that moment I heard an inner voice saying, ‘There is something wrong here. There is something wrong with me.’

I remember telling myself, ‘I don’t belong’

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Visiting ‘Old Friends’


In July (when it was pretty cold) I went to Adelaide to surprise my friend Anne Stanley who turned 50. I had known her since we were 16 and 17. We have lived in different countries for the past 30 years but whenever we spend time together, it seems like we have never parted. Anne, not only is my best friend, but a sister. I will feature her one day on this blog if she lets me. While I visited Anne, I went to South Australia Museum (SAM). http://www.samuseum.sa.gov.au

In a way, I have Anne to thank for my museum visit.  In fact it was Kolohie, Anne’s eldest who gave me a guided tour of the city and took me to SAM, but guess what, it was Aunty Joyce who gave Kolohie the guided tour of the Oceanic/Melanesian collection at SAM, so he could learn a little about his culture. While we were in SAM, it was an opportune time to visit an another ‘old’ friend, Sopikarin. Of course she is not a person but this outrigger canoe from the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea. I had done some research and with tremendous help from Dr Barry Craig, written an article about the Sopikarin’s journey from PNG to Australia during my museum studies in University of Queensland 2008. I had never seen the canoe until I went to Adelaide. The funny thing was, all this time I had thought Sopikarin was a much larger canoe.

Can you just imagine the number of men with all their goods, trading in this canoe for weeks on open seas?

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Skull collection at South Australia Musuem (SAM) which I did not like personally but I love the two round shields positioned at the bottom of the skulls. I have never been a great fan of museums collecting skulls or other remains of humans.
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This is Sopikarin, the supposedly the last of the Kula trading canoes purchased by SAM which I featured on my blog in February 2014. https://tribalmystic.me/2014/01/09/sopikarins-new-journey/

 

Below are links to SAM and a picture of Dr Barry Craig taken during his field work in Papua New Guinea.

http://www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/collections/humanities/world-cultures

A Canned Discovery


I live in Brisbane City, Australia.  In the west, Monday (today) was our rubbish pick up day. I usually make my teenagers do a big yard clean-up just to fill the green bin the day before. Then, usually, they fought  over who was NOT going to take the bin to the roadside in the evening. Our house is at least 50 metres from the public roadside where the council truck picked up our weekly rubbish.

On the way home from work this evening, I saw that the green bin was still full.  The recycle bin was empty. This was the third time the council had not picked up our green bin rubbish since we moved here three years ago. It may be due to the fact that we were the first or the last on the street, depending on which way they looked at it. In the past I had phoned in and the Council sent a contractor to pick up the bin. The Council had always been good. Today, I could only find the web contact which the council wants you to make a full report – so I did. While going over the forms on the council site and completing the necessary information like your contact details, I saw this photograph and thought it was very cool.

This group of Council engineers got together to build a mini City Hall sculpture from canned foods for a competition. I wanted to post the picture as my “cool stuff” but it had a story.

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Brisbane City Council Seven of Council’s young engineers gave their time to take part in ‘Canstruction’ – a global competition that creates giant sculptures out of tinned food which is then donated to charity. Hosted by Engineers Australia, our team of seven gave their own time to design and ‘canstruct’ a 1:32 replica of City Hall using 3300 cans. Donations and sponsorships helped drive this fun initiative for the engineers, with the cans then given to Foodbank for distribution to those less fortunate across Queensland. You will be pleased to note the replica was structurally sound.

 

 

Marshall Islands poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner moves world leaders


 

Marshall Islands Poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner promises to protect her seven-month-old baby and what it means to fight for her heritage in light of sea level rise and the ultimate loss of her cultural identity. Click the link below to watch her presentation to UN and listen to her poem, “Dear Matafele Peinem”.

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner addresses the opening of the Climate Summit in New York.

Poem moves UN summit to tears

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner presents her poem Dear Matafele Peinem to the UN Climate Summit. Vision from UN.

The UN Climate Summit has been graced by the likes of actor Leonardi DiCaprio and US President Barack Obama, but the haunting words of a young mother from a tiny Pacific Island nation have made the most lasting impression.
Spoken-word poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, 26, from the Marshall Islands, was just one of four people chosen from 544 nominees to address the opening of the UN Climate Summit in New York.
In front of an audience of 120 state dignitaries, Jetnil-Kijiner performed a poem she wrote for her seven-month-old daughter, in which she promises to protect the child from the threat of climate change, which she says world leaders are ignoring.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/poet-brings-world-leaders-to-tears-at-un-climate-summit-20140925-10lq5x.html#ixzz3EPnPtJvf

Markings from indigenous cultures can be traced – Call it “branding”


World fashion designers rip off Pacific designs

A Turkish fashion designer has been accused of “misappropriating” Pacific Island designs in her collection at London Fashion Week recently.

Gul Agis’s “Tribal Attitude” is said to have been inspired by Turkey’s heritage and recent protests in Istanbul.

Some of the designs are based on the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, many others bear a strong resemblance to Maori design.

The accusation comes less than a month after global sports giant, Nike was forced to stop production on a women’s line of tights.

The Samoan tattoo-inspired collection caused a huge global backlash from the Pacific community worldwide.

Aroha Mead, Program Director of Maori Business at Wellington’s Victoria University told Pacific Beat Gul Agis’s collection stole from Maori culture.

“We are all inspired by the beauty of other cultures,” Ms Mead said.

“But there’s a big difference between being inspired by something and then outright stealing it.”

Unfortunately Pacific designs are not protected by intellectual property laws or copyright, so international designers have been able to use them without permission.

“You can prove in quite tangible ways that the ownership of them is retained by the community,” Ms Mead said.

“There’s enough work that’s been done that you can track a design down to the artist or to the community that it comes from.”

Sports brand Nike makes public apology

Nike recently found itself at the centre of controversy over a pattern of women’s tights that closely resembled a traditional Samoan tattoo reserved only for male chiefs.

The collection sparked an uproar within Pacific communities around the world who protested on social media and rallied together by signing a global petition.

Samoans found the range exploitative and succeeded in getting it pulled off the shelf.

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi told the Savali newspaper “Those are our Samoan measina (cultural treasures). It’s our heritage and our cultural property. We should all be protective of it.”

“It should not be randomly exploited for commercial use as it has been in this case. Especially when we are getting absolutely nothing from Nike.”

Nike made a public apology to the Pacific community worldwide saying the collection was inspired by tattoo graphics and they did not mean to be insensitive or offensive to any specific culture.

Samoan prime minister has since instructed the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to look at how they can protect their traditional designs.

Alongside Nike, New York designer Nanette Lepore also apologised on Facebook for a collection of dresses she had designed featuring Fijian kesakesa motifs.

The apology came after Fijians around the world protested on the brand’s Facebook page.

What seems to be particularly offensive within Pacific communities is international designers appear to have not bothered researching the background of the designs they are using.

“[Nanette Lepore] took those Fijian prints and didn’t even bother finding out where they came from before she called them Aztec – she promoted those designs as Aztec designs.” Ms Mead said.

Samoans around the world were upset about their traditional tatau designs being exploited but were more angered by the fact that the cultural meaning behind the design was disregarded.

One petitioner on change.org complained that seeing women wear a tattoo specifically designed only for a male chief was both wrong and offensive.

Another wrote: “This reduces [tatau] to patterned tights rather than assigning it the mana (strength/respect) that it warrants.”

Hollywood star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson alongside Rugby heroes like Sonny Bill Williams have added to the growing popularity of Pacific tattoo designs.

In many creative industries there is a common misconception that some traditional cultural expressions are public domain.

World Intellectual Property Organisation are currently in negotiations to arrange an international convention on intellectual property and genetic resources as well as traditional knowledge and folklore.

Topics: fashionindigenous-culturecopyrightpacific

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-23/an-world-fashion-designers-rip-off-pacific-designs/4975194

Musical instruments from Melanesia and wider Pacific


 

Museum Loan Network: Pacific Instruments Collection

For over a century, The Field Museum of Natural History has amassed a world-class permanent collection of over 55,000 objects that represent the varied cultures of the Pacific. The Field Museum’s Pacific Musical Instrument Collection includes over 1,000 specimens from a number of different localities, the majority of which (4/5 of the collection) come from Papua New Guinea. Also represented in the collection are musical instruments from Vanuatu,IrianJaya / West Papua, Indonesia, Fiji, Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands, Palau, Micronesia, and the Austral Islands.The musical instruments in the Pacific collection represent all 4 classifications of musical instruments:Aerophones (wind instruments),Chordophones (string instruments),Idiophones (percussion instruments), andMembranophones (drums with membranes). The 384aerophones in the collection include a number of bamboo flutes, panpipes, whistles, shell and wooden trumpets, and a variety of woodenbullroarers. The 11 chordophones in the collection include a few musical bows and tubezithers. The 249idiophones in the collection include large wooden slit drums, friction blocks, rattles made from shells and nutshells, and a number of bamboo mouth harps. The 381membranophones in the collection include an impressive number of 330kundu, or hourglass-shaped drums, usually topped with a reptile-skin head, from Papua New Guinea.As with many of The Field Museum’s collections, the first musical instruments in the Pacific Collection, 21 in number, were acquired in 1893 for the Chicago World Columbian Exposition. The largest addition to the Pacific Musical Instrument Collection (approximately 335 specimens) came to the Museum in 1913 when curator A.B. Lewis returned from the South Pacific. Having joined The Field Museum’s Department of Anthropology in 1908 as Assistant Curator of African and Melanesian Ethnology, Albert B. Lewis immediately went to Melanesia to lead the Joseph N. Field South Pacific Expedition. The four-year long expedition netted some 12,000 objects of Pacific material culture that Lewis spent most of the rest of his career cataloguing. A complete analysis of the expedition was recently published by The Field Museum’s Adjunct Curator Robert Welsch (1998; An American Anthropologist in Melanesia: A.B. Lewis and the Joseph N. Field South Pacific Expedition, 1909-1913. University of Hawai’i Press). An early proponent of systematic anthropological research, A. B. Lewis left behind a richly documented ethnographic collection. The most recent additions to the Pacific Musical Instrument collection include the donation by Eugene Giles of a rare pottery drum with reptile-skin head from Morobe, Papua New Guinea and an impressive collection of instruments, 55 in total, donated by ethnomusicologist Dr. Vida Chenoweth, who between the years of 1959 and 1975 amassed a collection of 700 artifacts in the Usarufa community in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea.

Museum Loan Network: Pacific Instruments Collection
For over a century,The Field Museum of Natural History has amassed a world-class permanent collection of over 55,000 objects that represent the varied cultures of the Pacific. The Field Museum’s Pacific Musical Instrument Collection includes over 1,000 specimens from a number of different localities, the majority of which (4/5 of the collection) come from Papua New Guinea. Also represented in the collection are musical instruments from Vanuatu, Irian Jaya / West Papua, Indonesia, Fiji, Hawaii, New Zealand, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Tahiti, the Marquesas Islands, Palau, Micronesia, and the Austral Islands.

The musical instruments in the Pacific collection represent all 4 classifications of musical instruments: Aerophones (wind instruments),

Chordophones (string instruments), Idiophones (percussion instruments), and Membranophones (drums with membranes). The 384 aerophones in the collection include a number of bamboo flutes, panpipes, whistles, shell and wooden trumpets, and a variety of wooden bullroarers. The 11 chordophones in the collection include a few musical bows and tube zithers. The 249 idiophones in the collection include large wooden slit drums, friction blocks, rattles made from shells and nutshells, and a number of bamboo mouth harps. The 381 membranophones in the collection include an impressive number of 330 kundu, or hourglass-shaped drums, usually topped with a reptile-skin head, from Papua New Guinea.

As with many of The Field Museum’s collections, the first musical instruments in the Pacific Collection, 21 in number, were acquired in 1893 for the Chicago World Columbian Exposition. The largest addition to the Pacific Musical Instrument Collection (approximately 335 specimens) came to the Museum in 1913 when curator A.B. Lewis returned from the South Pacific. Having joined The Field Museum’s Department of Anthropology in 1908 as Assistant Curator of African and Melanesian Ethnology, Albert B. Lewis immediately went to Melanesia to lead the Joseph N. Field South Pacific Expedition. The four-year long expedition netted some 12,000 objects of Pacific material culture that Lewis spent most of the rest of his career cataloguing. A complete analysis of the expedition was recently published by The Field Museum’s Adjunct Curator Robert Welsch (1998; An American Anthropologist in Melanesia: A.B. Lewis and the Joseph N. Field South Pacific Expedition, 1909-1913. University of Hawai’i Press). An early proponent of systematic anthropological research, A. B. Lewis left behind a richly documented ethnographic collection. The most recent additions to the Pacific Musical Instrument collection include the donation by Eugene Giles of a rare pottery drum with reptile-skin head from Morobe, Papua New Guinea and an impressive collection of instruments, 55 in total, donated by ethnomusicologist Dr. Vida Chenoweth, who between the years of 1959 and 1975 amassed a collection of 700 artifacts in the Usarufa community in the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea.

http://www.fieldmuseum.org/science/microsites/museum-loan-network/museum-loan-network-grant-collections/museum-loan-network-0

See how some of these instruments are used by Melanesians in the links below.

 

My favourite time as a child – fishing


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This little girl takes a ride on a huge fish in Caras Ionut’s artwork.

If I had to show a visual story of my childhood, this would be it. This photograph by artist Caras Lonut. I remember often thinking about living underwater and swimming with the fish or getting a ride from one.

Growing up in a small village on the coastline of Lae, Papua New Guinea meant I spent many hours and days fishing. My early years were dedicated to catching fish for food. Most of my family fished. Sometimes, we would start at dawn and end at dusk.

We fished on the shoreline and in the swamps. I knew where to fish and where not to. I also knew when to fish. The climate and the weather patterns were our guide. Certain fish came when the moon rose. As early as I can remember I could make my own fishing equipment using nylon lines, small metal hooks, fishing net made from strings. These strings we made from bush ropes and vines.  My aunts, mother and grandma and I would knit the ropes into nets. Like other children in my village, I kept a collection of empty coffee jars I lured fish into by putting a small portion of cooked rice at the bottom of the jars before placing the jar in the water. This was another kind of fishing but that is another story.

Fishing remains one of the most fun and rewarding experiences I have ever had.

The Truth: Australia does not give a shit!


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In my 2008 research into climate change and how intangible cultures of indigenous people in the Pacific islands would be affect many were afraid to see that their future could be in someone else’s land. Here we had a light moment in our discussions about sea level rise and where they would move to; women leaders of Kalal Village, Tami Island, Papua New Guinea. Another low lying island in the South Pacific.
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A house in Wanam Village Tami Islands at low-tide showing a basic safety wall made from chopped coconut trunks.

 

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Picture of a graveyard in the Micronesia by one of the leading Climate Change Experts, Dr Chalapan Kaluwin.

Pacific Islands in Climate Change

We in the Pacific Islands, especially small islands less than two metres above sea level, can cry all we want about the 2 degrees change and what we hope to achieve in United Nations Assembly to discuss Climate Change this week but we must accept the truth – Australia does not give a shit. Recent changes in the government and its future goals have clearly ignored all global discussions and actions and in particular, the voices of many small island countries such as Tuvalu, Marshall Islands, and Kiribatis. These countries have always looked up to Australia as the big brother.
Nick O’ Malley wrote this article for the Sydney Morning Herald,  pointing out the fact that Australia has a responsibility.
Messages in support of action to combat climate change are projected onto the side of the UN building in New York on September 20, ahead of the international summit on the issue that begins on Tuesday.Messages in support of action to combat climate change are projected onto the side of the UN building in New York on September 20, ahead of the international summit on the issue that begins on Tuesday. Photo: AP

New York: Before it became dominated by the United States’ effort to build a coalition for war with Islamic State, this week’s General Assembly of the United Nations was to have focused on climate change.

So far Australia has been as vocal about the former as it has been silent on the latter.

Speaking in the offices of his nation’s mission to the United Nations on Saturday afternoon, Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum said he and the leaders of other Pacific island nations were bewildered by what he called “backsliding” on climate change by Australia, which the region had considered to be its “big brother down south”.

“Probably one of the most frustrating events of the past year for Pacific islanders is Australia’s strange behaviour when it comes to climate change,” he said.

Island nations had watched with dismay not only the abolition of the carbon tax in Australia, but also the defunding of scientific advisory bodies, said Mr de Brum.

“It just does not make sense, it goes against the grain of the world.

“Not only [is Australia] our big brother down south, Australia is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum and Australia is a Pacific island, a big island, but a Pacific island. It must recognise that it has a responsibility.

“The problems that have befallen the smaller countries are also Australia’s problems. You cannot remove Australia from the life and blood of the Pacific.”

He said Pacific island nations no longer have time to debate climate change or even to engage in dialogue about how it might be mitigated – they need immediate action.

“[Failure to act] for us would mean disappearance under the sea by the turn of the century.”

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/australia-is-a-pacific-island–it-has-a-responsibility-20140921-10jwdw.html#ixzz3E2SN20IS

West Papua Needs Peace – Do we care?


Where is West Papua? »

I made a post about some American surfers making a discovery in West Papua and wanted to explain my connection to that story. West Papua is the western half of the island of New Guinea, just 200 km north of Australia. The Eastern half is Papua New Guinea, where I come from. Visit links to many sites that show West Papua and how its people have been treated and decide for yourselves.

It is important to get as many people as possible world-wide to become aware of the violence and oppression in West Papua (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Papua_(region)). We can never do enough. I am sure by now, even the Melanesian people from other countries such as my own (PNG), Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and South Sea Islanders must feel that there is nothing more they can do to help their fellow-Melanesians.

The people of West Papua deserve peace. They do not deserve the continued violence. (http://freewestpapua.org).

Why am I interested in West Papua? I have been an advocate against the violence against West Papua, Indonesia for over 30 years. Firstly as a journalist in Papua New Guinea, I have known of and seen the victims of the atrocities. Secondly, I am a Melanesian woman and I share the ancestry with West Papuans.

If it means sharing information, publicising atrocities and showing films as in the case of the surfers’ film “Isolation”, then let’s join hands and do it for West Papua. We must keep fighting.

 

 

Letting the world know about the killings in West Papua


These Pro Surfers Went Looking for Untouched Waves in West Papua and Found Genocide Instead

By Ben Roffee ryot.org

It all started with a simple surf trip, just a few world class big wave surfers trying to find an unclaimed break in a world where they’ve all but vanished.

They are modern day explorers — feral surfers as they’re known — and they step off the well-trodden path to seek out surfing at its purest.

But Travis Potter, Jenny Useldinger, Andrew Mooney, Josh Fuller, and Jimmy Rotherham headed to West Papua looking for massive, unsullied waves, they discovered an alarming truth that would radically upend their priorities.

Read and see more,  click on the links:

http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/these-pro-surfers-went-looking-for-untouched-waves-in-west-papua-and-found-genocide-instead/?utm_content=bufferac8f7&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Tribalmystic is storytelling about people, places, and things that have extraordinary stories. Author: Joycelin Leahy

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