Kiribati Ways

Uma Ni Borau (Roof of Voyaging: Star Compass)

Like the use of stones in Satawal, this is another way to learn the star compass. In Kiribati (Gilbert, Phoenix, and Line Islands), the roof of the maneaba (meeting house) represents the night sky. A young navigator sits by the central pole. He faces east and looks up. Various oka (rafters, poles) divide the sky into sections. The student first learns the stars in one section (where they are for each season) and then in the next sections.The student might have to remember the names and positions of more than 100 stars!... He also learns star paths – the order of stars to follow to reach an island. Stories about gods or heroes help the student to remember.