Ethnobotanical ceremony

As a capstone learning experience in SC/SS 115 Ethnobotany, the course wraps up each term by actively engaging in observational ethnobotany in the field. The students journey on a field trip to observe a ceremony in a which a plant is at the center of a cultural ceremony.

For some of the students the experience is familiar, for others the experience is that of being dropped into an exotic, distant, and mysterious land. Nathaniel, front left, is familiar with the ceremony. Behind him Jane Rose knows some of the rudiments but not the details. Further back Risenta, Nadya, and Jacky of Chuuk and the Mortlocks know little to nothing about the formal sakau ceremony. Center back is Ezerin of Yap, he too is unfamiliar. At the picnic table is Delphina of Kosrae, Jaynice, Rose Ann, Masumy, Reliann, and JB. 

Our host for the evening was Soumas en kousapw Palikir, Soulik Hilario Jack. He is reading the 1978 tiahk en Pohnpei document that I share with the host each term.

Julane and Ivenglynn, Shalein in the shadows behind.

Jaynice, Masumy, and Reliann

Sakau is brought in whole, intact, and then the branches are cut.

The Piper methysticum plant was an extremely strong rahmwanger variant. Note the characteristic black speckles on the internodal stems, the internodes are generally shorter than rahmedel.

Sukusuk - pounding the sakau.

Hideaki helps prepare the kohlo

Rose Ann makes a new local friend

Pwel - the first of the four cups in kousapw Palikir. Pwel to Soumas, Are to Peliental, Esil to Lisoumas, Sapw back to Soumas who called Souwel to the cup. The Nopwei is at the core of what the class comes to observe and learn about. After Nopwei I explain to the class some of the purposes for sakau.

Jane Rose and Ivenglynn

Peliental Palikir.


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