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Indigenous Language and Cultural Revitalization on Easter Island

Phineas Arthur Kelly

Phineas Arthur Kelly, University of Wyoming

Publication Date: 2018
Location: Easter Island, Chile
Team: Citizens of Easter Island

Research Question
What are the implications of reconnecting First Peoples’ ontologies, languages, stories and sacred objects to physical places where they were once sovereign but have been erased?

Significance
The death of a human language is the final nail in the coffin of a peoples’ culture; the concomitant rapid extinction of global human cultural diversity is the untold tragedy of our time.  

Methods Used
Easter Island is the most isolated continually inhabited island in the world and represents the eastern geographic and cultural edge of Polynesia. Best known for its iconic Moai statues, the island is also home to a variety of unique lesser known archeological sites connected to the Birdman Cult, a religious and cultural system which came after the collapse of the Moai period. The field site of the ceremonial stone village of Orongo represents the pivot point from one religious system to another The Rapa Nui Project will strengthen the archeological site of Orongo on Easter Island with a mobile learning application that teaches Rapa Nui culture, language and values to Indigenous inhabitants and visitors.

Conclusions/Outcomes
An educational application will be created with the data from my field work for place-based language and cultural revitalization on Easter Island.

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