Saturday, March 2, 2013

Ewe Sat Pwe Pwe

Sea Turtles are a part of Chuukese culture. On special occasions they eat turtle and also make handicrafts, wasting a very small part of the turtle. Since turtles are so important to Chuukese, most people are careful how they hunt them. People almost never kill younger turtle.  Also people wait for the turtle to lay eggs, go out into the ocean and come back to the shore before hunting them. 

Elder Allred showing off a pwapwa
A practice that still exists on some islands involves presenting any turtles caught to the chief. The chief can then keep track of how many turtles are being killed and then the turtle will be shared with the village. Chuukese understand  it is important to be careful how they kill turtles.  The Chuukese students are learning about sea turtles to bring awareness to make sure that they are allowing turtles to survive as a species. In the Pacific, the NOAA has a center in Hawaii which is working to save sea turtles in the Pacific Islands, like Chuuk. Sea turtles are very beautiful and we hope that we get to see them when we go diving.  
Asking a Chuukese person to not eat turtle is like us asking an American to not ever eat fast food. Maybe it would be good if the Chuukese cut down on eating turtle and American's cut down on Fast Food consumption, but not eliminate it. It is important to understand and continue to study these different cultures and issues. The Chuukese culture is very respectful to the turtle and have many folk lore stories to tell.
To those that might be offended or upset about the killing and eating of Turtles. It really is a matter of perspective. We personally think the killing of a pig, chicken, cow and deer can be cruel or upsetting, but since we are used to that and grew up around that, it doesn't bother us too much.  The picture to the right can be used as a decoration for the wall, a large bowl, it can be cut up to make jewelry that is very pretty. Some one offered us a turtle back as a gift and we had to tell them, no thank you, not because we didn't appreciate it but because it is illegal for us to bring it to the United States. It would never get through Customs.

1 comment:

  1. I understand that it is their tradition but I still think I would cry if I was there and seen them kill a turtle. I love them so much, they are my favorite sea creature..well besides otters, otters are awesome.