Wednesday, December 13, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Mau Piailug (1932 – 2010)


Micronesian navigator from the Carolinian island of Satawal, known for teaching the ancient art and science of non-instrument wayfinding.
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Mau Piailug
Now you know all there is to know. But it will be twenty years before you see.
Piailug quotes
I have laid the stick that connects people together. Now it is up to you, your generation and the generations to come, to build upon that stick a bridge that will ensure the free sharing of information and teaching between the two peoples until the day we become united again as a single people, as we were once before; before men separated us with their imaginary political boundaries of today's Polynesia and Micronesia.
Piailug
You have to remember how the islands move. If you forget that, you're lost.




Piailug Mau quotes
Your captain is your mother and father. He will tell you when to eat and when to sleep. Listen to him. Make happy. And we will all see the land we are going to.
Piailug Mau
My grandfather tell me not to hold the knowledge to myself; I have to pass it on. Before, some navigators in Micronesia, they never share the knowledge. But me, I share it to everybody, because I know maybe sometime we lose it.
Mau Piailug quotes
The people in Micronesia, they not like before. Before, everybody, man and woman, they learn about the culture and navigation. But now, nobody like learn, because they use the GPS and the motorboat. But what you going to do when the GPS broke, or the engine broke? You just gonna follow the wind and the current away, and maybe die in the ocean.
Mau Piailug
My father taught me that the sea is full of signs. Let's say we leave on a voyage at sunset. At midnight the navigator listens for chirping birds. You and I don't hear themówe can't hear them. Only the navigator can hear them.
Piailug Mau quotes
In the old days, the navigators used magic to make themselves strong, but now, nothing; they just pray. Before they leave and at sea, they pray. But I, I make myself strong by thinkingójust by thinking! I make myself strong because I despise cowardice. Too many men are afraid of the sea. But I am a navigator.
Piailug
My grandfather Raangipi taught me the stars, but I didn't write it down like you are doing. I kept everything in my head. This is called paafu.
Piailug Mau
The people on my island, they put my name as Mau ["strong"] because when I was young I no like stay long time on the land. When I come from the ocean, two or three days, then I go back again. Even when the storm is come, I still stay out on the ocean. That's why my people they call me Mau.
Mau Piailug
They [the previous chiefs of old] looked after the island, the fish, the turtles. They watched and did things that were good for the people...I have been to Hawaii, to Saipan, to Guam, to Tahiti, to Los Angeles. Don't they see that soon, very soon, change will crash on this island like a wave? [...] I am afraid of what's happening to my island. [...] I think money will break this island. Now on Woleai, Lamotrek, Pulusuk, and Puluwat, too, people fish in their motorboats and ask for money when they divide the catch. This was never our custom. In our custom everybody eats, not just those with money.




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