Monday, November 1, 2010

Native Boats, Indigenous Languages

November is officially Native American Heritage Month - so I'll be including a few postings throughout the month to honor this.

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) employs "American" in the broadest sense, encompassing in its scope diverse indigenous cultures across the Americas. Prominently displayed on the entrance level are 3 boats representing different cultures: a Hawaiian boat, an Inuit kayak, and a reed canoe constructed by Aymara people (see this website and gallery for more). Above, descriptions of the boats in the Inuit language (which uses a syllabary) and the Hawaiian language (which uses Roman letters). [Click the image to see a larger version.]

Note the use of the backwards apostrophe [ʻ] in the word Hawaiʻi. This punctuation mark, called the ʻokina, represents the glottal stop, a sound that does not exist in English.

The description of the reed canoe is written in Aymara, an indigenous (and co-official) language of Bolivia and Peru.

The English translations of these texts are written on the reverse of these signs - sorry I didn't include them here!


  1. I live and work in the nation's capital
    it is a very good look

  2. this is good picture .very like site