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Wayfinding Talk set for Dec. 6

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center will host its winter 2013 Wayfinding Talk at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, with Joe Genz, a University of Hawaii anthropology professor, speaking about the revitalization of wave navigation in the Marshall Islands.

The 2013-14 Wayfinding Talks are being sponsored through the generous support of Matson.

The Marshallese are well known historically for their extremely fast outrigger voyaging canoes and “stick chart” representations of their islands that encode a primarily wave-based system of navigation. In his talk, Dr. Genz will describe the development and initial results of an ongoing collaborative and inter-disciplinary project to research how navigators guide their canoes by wave patterns and revitalize traditional voyaging.

This project centers on one individual whose learning of knowledge was prematurely stopped as a direct result of the U.S. nuclear weapons testing program in the 1940s and ’50s, but who now, as an elderly man, put his knowledge to the test, including insights gained from oceanography, to become a socially recognized “person of the sea.”

Genz is a new faculty member. He received his Ph.D. from UH-Manoa with an inter-disciplinary and collaborative research project on the revitalization of voyaging and navigation in the Marshall Islands. He served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Samoa for two years, studied archaeology on Rapa Nui and conducted cultural impact assessments for a cultural resource management firm on Oahu.

He continues to engage the collaborative effort to revive voyaging in the Marshall Islands and is also interested in understanding the diasporic movements and social changes of Marshallese and other Micronesians on Hawaii Island.

Admission is $10/$8. ‘Imiloa is at 600 ‘Imiloa Place in Hilo, off Komohana and Nowelo streets at the UH-Hilo Science and Technology Park.

For more information, visit www.imiloahawaii.org or call 969-9700.


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