Articles: Etto nan Raan Kein: New History Textbook with a Marshallese Perspective
Marshallese high schoolers will be using a new textbook this fall. Etto nan Raan Kein, hot off of Hawaii's Bess Press, traces the history of the Marshall Islands, with "a Marshallese perspective in addition to foreign accounts."
The process of compiling accounts, stories, and documents to write for students was humbling," said author Julianne M. Walsh, Ph.D.,
Walsh, an anthropologist with close connections with the Marshalls, prefers to "celebrate Marshallese history itself, not a history book."
"The whole purpose of the book was to convey those amazing stories of the Marshallese past and let today's students enjoy that sense of pride in the accomplishments of his/her people, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) nation, family members, skills, knowledge, and more," said Walsh on Tuesday.
About fifteen year's ago, Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) was contracted by the RMI Ministry of Education to secure an author, support the research process and provide editing expertise. The publisher, Bess Press, oversaw the final editing, leading to the textbook's Summer 2012 release.
Hilda C. Heine, Ed.D., now the RMI's Minister of Education served from the beginning as Project Manager for the RMI Textbook Project under the leadership of PREL.
Approximately one-hundred personal interviews were conducted with individuals in the Marshalls. Researchers Carmen Milne Bigler and Mark Stege, who assisted throughout the project, provided "Marshallese perspectives from different genders and age groups," according to the textbook's introduction.
In her acknowledgements, Walsh emphasized that Etto nan Raan Kein: A Marshall Islands History text is a first draft of what will become "a more Marshallese-centered representation of life and events that are significant to the people of the Marshall Islands."
With this goal in mind, a new Virtual Town Hall Discussion Forum established by request on the Marshallese website, Yokwe Online, will encourage feedback about the first edition and will allow for contributions from the community members and cultural experts.
"If readers find errors, omissions, etc., they can post them on the discussion forum at Yokwe.net. The comments will be available and achived online for revisions when it's time for a 2nd edition," said Walsh.
"Other versions of the history of the Marshall Islands will be written in the future. It is our hope that this history book will serve as a basis and a catalyst for the continuation of this process to enlighten and inform our people about their past, to explain their present, and to steer and guide their future.” – Hilda Heine, Foreward
- Aenet Rowa, Yokwe Online, July 12, 2012
Textbook at Bess Press