Essays on the Marshallese Past

The Need For Public Education

The present society of the Republic of the Marshall Islands roots firmly in both the traditional Marshallese culture and western customs and spiritual concepts introduced during the last 150 years. With the increasing westernisation of Marshallese society, and with the increasing transformation to a monetary system, these historic roots and ties are being gradually, but systematically undermined.

We cannot afford to loose our sense of history, our understanding of and appreciation for what our ancestors did to survive on these atolls. We cannot afford it because our spiritual well-being rests on it, because our cultural identity, that what makes us different from others, stems in this history. We Marshallese cannot afford it, because the economic and environmental challenges ahead, brought about by issues as diverse as population increase and sea-level rise caused by the greenhouse effect will put a strain on the resources this country has available to it. Traditional skills, where appropriate, are as much needed for the economic and environmental well being of these atolls, as is overseas technical expertise and funding support.

Both systematic recording of the extant information, as well as systematic, but selective fostering of traditional skills and practices in a modern economic environment are needed. The increase in population will bring about pressures on the physical environment, thereby threatening the existence of large number of archaeological, historical and traditional sites. Inventorisation of such sites is needed, to allow for systematic decision-making in the event of construction. For all this we need to "Preserve our past for our children's children" - the motto chosen for our office.

But Historic Preservation can only work if the community as a whole supports the concepts, supports our work. Therefore, outreach activities are most important. If sites and artefacts, shall be protected, if traditions and skills if shall be available for generations to come, then the present generation needs to be aware of them and need to value them.

Note 1 - The dash indicated should be a long dash, not available in DTD.

Note 2 - The word should be underlined, not available in DTD.

[Back to Table of Contents]

Bibliographic citation for this document

Spennemann, Dirk H.R. (1998). Essays on the Marshallese Past Second edition. Albury:

Dirk H.R. Spennemann, Institute of Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, P.O.Box 789, Albury NSW 2640, Australia.

select from the following...
World War II

Digital Micronesia-An Electronic Library & Archive is provided free of charge as an advertising-free information service for the world community. It is being maintained by Dirk HR Spennemann, Associate Professor in Cultural Heritage Management, Institute of Land, Water and Society and School of Environmental & Information Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Albury, Australia. The server space and technical support are provided by Charles Sturt University as part of its commitment to regional engagement. Environmental SciencesInformation Sciences

© Dirk Spennemann 1999– 2005
Marshall Islands Kosrae CNMI Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Guam Wake Pohnpei FSM Federated States of Micronesia Yap Chuuk Marshall Islands politics public health environment culture WWII history literature XXX Cultural Heritage Management Micronesian Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences CNMI German Colonial Sources Mariana Islands Historic Preservation Spennemann Dirk Spennemann Dirk HR Spennemann Murray Time Louis Becke Jane Downing Downing