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Session Detail (plenary)

Opening Keynote : “Nesor Annim, Niteikapar (Good Morning, Cardinal Honeyeater)”: Indigenous reflections of Pacific women and environment

Session presentation

Myjolynne Marie Kim, Australian National University

Nesor Annim, Niteikaper is a Chuukese greeting of the early dawn that symbolizes a deeply-rooted connection and respectful interaction between the Chuukese people and their environment. In Chuuk, an island group in Micronesia and perhaps throughout Oceania, the environment encompasses naang (skies), mataw (ocean) and fenu (land) and is esteemed as manaman (sacred), alive, and motherly. This greeting is a humble reminder of a balanced relationship which indigenous people have with the environment—the environment bears life just as a woman is a life-bearer. Therefore, women have a significant responsibility to safeguard and communicate these sacred connections, weaving indigenous knowledge, spiritual beliefs and cultural values. Drawing on my experience as a Chuukese woman and historian, I reflect on deep Oceanic pasts and histories to discuss indigenous articulations of the maternal environment in the light of the Anthropocene and the challenges that Pacific women face today in maintaining these traditional relationships. I look to indigenous articulations to offer women’s perspectives and insights in deepening environmental connections in the 21st century.