2021 Indigenous Communities Fellowship


One Canoe Project - Navigating Changing Tides

Culturally rooted K-12 climate literacy curriculum based in Micronesia

Team Lead

Moñeka De Oro

Solution Overview

Solution Name:

One Canoe Project - Navigating Changing Tides

One-line solution summary:

Navigating Changing Times-Developing culturally rooted, place based K-12 Climate Literacy Curriculum for Children of the Mariana Islands.

Pitch your solution.

The climate crisis is an unprecedented storm that no other recent generation has navigate.   The waves from the storm are already crashing onto the people of the Pacific islands, threatening their livelihoods.  All youth are all at the forefront, as they will be living through the destabilizing impacts. Not much is being done to educate the 50,000 K-12 youth across the Marianas on this issue. The One Canoe Project educates & empowers youth for climate action & amplifies island voices. This project aims to teach the root causes of the climate crisis & encourage students to use ancestral wisdom to keep humanity moving forward.  Island kids need tools to connect to each other, strengthen the canoe’s hull and interweave a sail, to overcome the storm. Pacific wisdom has vital lessons for our collective human family. As we are all one crew on this One Canoe, we know as Earth.

What specific problem are you solving?

Climate change is impacting communities globally, and the US-affiliated islands and territories in the Pacific are disproportionately affected.

Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) are two different US Territories in one archipelago with a deeply connected history and cultural heritage. The islands are home to a diverse population, including a high percentage of indigenous Chamoru, Filipino and Micronesian residents. There are approximately 230,000 residents across the Mariana
Islands and about 49,000 are school aged children enrolled in the public school system. Guam and the NMI have consistently ranked low on US Standardized testing modules. In our islands, we follow the US National educational curriculum standards that like many native peoples they do not reflect our lived experiences, our environment or the specific challenges we are facing.  

What is your solution?

The One Canoe project will unite the islands in the creation of a placed based environmental literacy curriculum that centers culture, wellness, and engages STEM while advocating for justice and sustainability The project's approach centers the unique value systems of seafaring heritages to educate the next generation who will have to navigate the changing seas. One Canoe will synergize traditional cultural knowledge along side climate justice movement frameworks for empowering frontline communities to be change agents and drivers of solutions. This pioneer project addresses the root causes of the climate crisis & utilizes islander heritage to combat the intersectional systems of oppression.

We desperately need to prepare kids to navigate these changing and precarious times. Education is a powerful agent for social change and a more culturally rooted, place based curriculum leverages the power of place and connects learners to communities and the world around us. The project aligns with place based curriculums goals, which aim to increase student engagement and agency, boost learning outcomes, and promote a greater understanding of global issues. 

One Canoe hopes to maximize the use of technology, and possible the development of learning apps while it uplifts traditional language and knowledge systems about the environment.

Strong preference will be given to Native-led solutions that directly benefit and are located within the Indigenous communities. Which community(s) does your solution benefit?

The Mariana islands are the homelands of the CHamoru people, who have lived in this remote pacific archipelago for over 4000 years.  Today the islands are also home to large amount of other indigenous Micronesian, Filipino and other Asian migrants.  The One Canoe project curriculum focus will tap into seafaring ancestry that is shared amongst all pacific islanders and Austronesian descendants.  There are many indigenous Micronesian languages and cultures this project will uplift, but the focus will be Chamoru heritage as it set in their homelands. Students rarely get to  The development of the place based curriculum will include engaging with many cultural practioners, educators and elders from a variety of islands.  The project is already supported by regional public school systems and post secondary education institutions.  Creating educational resources that deepens youth understandings of the lands and waters that they are living on  builds confidence, resilience and sustainability.

Which dimension of the Fellowship does your solution most closely address?

Support language and cultural revitalization, quality K-12 education, and support for first-generation college students

Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.

All Micronesian societies hail from rich story telling traditions that are not currently captured in modern educational resources for the Mariana islands.  Future generations need to be grounded in the understandings of the natural environment and develop stewardship  values and strategies to help them navigate the threats of the climate crisis.  Place based and culturally rooted curriculum that embeds a framework of action is decolonization in action.  The challenge of perpetuating native language and reviving traditional knowledge is embedded in the One Canoe project values, and goals.  

In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Tamuning, Guam

What is your solution’s stage of development?

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model.

Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.

Micronesia Climate Change Alliance is an innovative young non-profit whose mission is to create community based solutions to the climate crisis.  We have created several educational materials promoting CHamoru and regional culture as a major solution.  We identitfy with the prototype phase in that we have made the first plant based cookbook, and two seasons of a placed based sustainability web series series (issues focused on food sovereignty and the waste crisis).  These resources and more have educated our community and were used by several teachers across the islands.  We have had over 2000 sales of our cookbook and over 50,000 views across platforms of our web series episodes. We hope to use these resources and more like it to inform curriculum to be used in the One Canoe  project. 

Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Moñeka I De Oro

Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your primary delegate.

CHamoru Nation (indigenous peoples from Guam and the CNMI)

Is your primary delegate a member of the community in which your project is based?

More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

Describe what makes your solution innovative?

In the spirit of One Canoe, we aim to problem solve similarly to the navigational masters of the Pacific when weathering storms. When a storm hits a voyaging canoe, the crew doesn’t ignore it. They take the boat apart, assess what is necessary and useful and tie it to the hull. Then, each person ties themselves to the canoe and jumps into the ocean.

They surrender to the elements, let nature run its course and trust their ancient wisdom and the boat itself.
We cannot fight against the storm coming, nor can we navigate out of it completely. In fact, it’s already here. This is the moment before we plunge into the unknown ocean of possibilities and remember our purpose on this journey. The moment where we are moved to take action for one another, especially those who hold the wisdom to guide us forward.
Transforming our future world to be more regenerative, equitable and rooted in ancestral wisdom advances when we cultivate the hearts and minds of the children. Creating meaningful, engaging cross cultural, inter-island placed based curriculum for young kids to young adults needs to be a collaborative effort. The place based curriculum will embed cultural ecological wisdoms. Popular education models and outdoor activities will be central to connecting kids to each other and nature. The research, design and production of the One Canoe curriculum will be informed by Climate Justice and social movement frameworks and principles of the Just Transition, Resilience Based Organizing and Community Driven Planning tools.

Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

One Canoe project will adhere to all local and national advisories in regards to COVID-19. The education districts across the world transformed to online learning platforms There are several creative ways that instruction can be delivered digitally, in person or hybrid. The Team Lead will work closely with leadership from Instruction and Curriculum
divisions of the public school systems and post secondary education programs to create a flexible and adaptable curriculum for multiple learning levels. Collaborating with educators across grade levels and subject matters will ensure the creation and implementation of a dynamic and effective teaching tool and unit. Seasoned teachers and digital teaching trainers can consult on the curricula design and provide feedback through out the research and production period of the project . The pandemic presents opportunities for kids to learn and connect to nature with their families by
exploring their neighborhoods more deeply.
There are several existing local literature, videos, environmental data reports and cultural knowledge systems that can be used to inform activities and learning units. We would like to develop an educational app to compliment the curriculum, featuring language and cultural lessons.   The Climate Justice movement also has many resources on ways to strategize for shifting power and creating resilient communities that can be modeled through out the entire project engagement.

Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Internet of Things
  • Software and Mobile Applications

Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Low-Income
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 3. Good Health and Well-being
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  • 13. Climate Action

Solution Team

  • Moñeka De Oro Just Transition Coordinator, Micronesia Climate Change Alliance (MCCA)
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