Where are we?

Map of the Marshall Islands - Atolls and Islands
Marshall Islands on the globe
click to enlarge

The Marshall Islands are located in the Central Pacific, north of the equator about 2400 miles southwest of Hawaii. Physically this part of the Pacific is called Micronesia, meaning the little islands. At present the Republic of the Marshall Islands is an independent country, under the Compact of Free Association with the United States.

The Marshall Islands consist of 29 atolls (very flat, small islets or islands which enclose a lagoon), and 5 single islands (very small, flat islets of land), which are arranged in two chains — Ratak Chain (sunrise), in the east, and Rālik Chain (sunset) in the west. Most atolls consist of several islets or small islands which surround a lagoon and make up one atoll. The five single islands are very small and flat and have no lagoon. The total land area of the Marshalls is only 69 square miles, with a population of about 60,000 people.Map of the Marshall Islands - Atolls and Islands

Bwebwenato in lowa, Ri-komanman eo

Bwebwenato in ej kon lowa, eo im ekar kommane lal in. lowa ekar wanlaltak jan lan nan lalin bwe en komanman ane, ak ejjelok ejela ia eo ekar kommane mokta. Ekar ba, ” aolep ane ren komman.” Innem ekar kûr nan wojke ko bwe ren eddok im jabdewot men ko jej loe ioon bwidej im lojet üe. Elkin an lowa rool nan lan, ekar jilkintok eman emmaan laltak bwe ren lale lal in nan e. Ekar jilkinlok juon nan reeaar, juon nan rak, juon nan ralik, im juon nan ean.
Irooj Irilik, irooj eo an ralik, lowa ekar lelok bwe en joke ilo ralik ilo ane eo etan Eep. Jerbal eo an ej lale jabdewot men ioon lalin rej tûmoon im orlok ak kalle. Kar maron in lelok juon kajoor eo elap nan an maron in kadedeiklok jerbal eo an. Ej make wot iaan loma rein eman kar maron in üa etan king. Aolep menin eddok,menin mour, im armej, raar maron in orlok im naje jan ralik in Eep, im lelok in irooj irilik. Ro im watok er bwe re-molele bwebwe in aelon kein rej ba bwe Ebon raar bok etan jan Eep, konke keinikkan ko ilo Epoon elap aer kalle kon mona.
loma ro jet im letok in lowa ear jilkintok er nan lale lalin rej: lajibwineameü, eo im mweo imon ekar pad ituion im jerbal eo an ej lale jabdewot men ko rej mij ekoba armej ro rej mij. lakamran, eo im ej jokwe ilo reeaar, jerbal eo an ej lale bwe ilo an bon en ejjelok menin kakkure ej walok, im ej lale bwe tak in al im tulok in al ron jokkier wot juon. lorok, mweo imon ekar pad rak, im jerbal eo an kar maron in lelok bwe en bok eddo in koto ko. Kiio lalin ekar wor aolep men ko aikuiji.

Eo
Kiio ke armej rej jokwe ippan men ko rej mour ioon lalin, lowa ekar bar jilkinlaltak ruo emmaan ro jan lan etaeir rej Lewoj im laneej. loma rein raar boktok eo nan lalin. Eo ekar komman bwe en oktak moran menin komanman menin mour ko ainwot ek, bao, im aolep men ekoba armej. Uno ko unokan ek, kein, bao, kein jan doon, kilij, kijdik, im menin mour ko jet reoktak jan doon itok jan jerbal ko an lomarein. Eo ekar barainwot nan armej. Ilo tore ko etto, armej in àajol ejjelok ballier ak rejjab nuknuk, rekon eoik aolepan anbwinnier. Eo ko rej kwalok kadkad in armej ak emmaan ro elane rej king(irooj) ak rijerbal, bwidak, ritel ilo jowi eo. (Irooj ro rellap er wot rej eoik mejair.)
Ke Lewoj im laneej erro ar itok jan lan nan lalin raar etal nan Aelonlaplap Atoll ilo Buwoj, iturok in jikin diwoj delon eo an wa. Raar wotlok jan lan im jok kon jimwin ne erro. Elane kwonaaj etal nan Buwoj rainin kwonaaj loe ron kein jenkwan nerro ke raar wotlok. Etan bukwon in rej ba ” Jimwinne”. Erro ar jino aerro eoik aolep menin eddok ko bwe jen maron in kile ukooktak ko aeer jan doon.

Waan Ejjerakrok
Âlkin an aolep menin komanman ko eo, lowa ekar bar jilkinlaltak ruo emmaan jan lan, ro im raar jok ilo Nam ilo aelon in Bikini. loma rein ruo raar boktok ippaerro waween jonak nan waan ejjerakrok ko ainwot korkor ko, ko im jonak kein aer kar kepooji ilan kadede. Elane eaar jab jonak kein innem eban kar wor im komman korkor ko. Etan lomarein rej lewa im lomtol. Mokta jan lomarein, ekar ejjelok korkor ioon lalin. Ilo Bikini ijo raar joke wa eo jinointata ie, raar loor wot jonak ko raar bûkitok jan lan. Ilo tore in, waan ejjerakrok kein ekar ejjelok wojlaier, im ejjelok jobwe kein aoüooü. Wa ko kar joki rej ito-itak wot kon ek ainwot ba ek ko rej kojeraki wa ko ioon wot lain eo an dan maan im itulokan, ko im komman bwe korkor eo en emman an dibuk dan. Ak kiio emoj an jako. Rainin aolep wa ko waan rimajol, itulokan im itumaan ikkijen lain eo an dan, ej jidik koob rej üaetan “iik”.
Ilo tore eo im ekar dedelok wa eo, lewa im lomtal erro ar door aolep menin komanman ko im rej mour ioon Bikini üa ioon wa eo– armej ro im kijidik armej ro im armej ro im jokjok in kilij im aolep-raar jino aer etal nan Aelonlaplap nan aeer eo ippan lewoj im lanej. Raar ilok im toparlok Wotto, ek ko raar ainwot bikbik in wa ko waer, eaar wor juon men kijonjon eaar walok im kakkuri wa ko im man iik ko. Ke ej mij iik ko, aolep raar jino aeer aoüooü nan aeer maron tobraklok Buwoj nan aer eo. Om im baru ko raar kij kapin wa eo bwe ren maron in aoüooü im komman ettal ilo wa ko.
Raar tobraklok ilo Aelonlaplap ilo to en ilo Aerok konke wa eo eaar ettein kon dan im raar likiti ioon bok iarin Aerok ilo juon wato etan àonkiden. Aolep ino ko ilo wa eo im nanin tûm, im ke rej toparlok ioon bedbed wa eo ekar jino an bool kon dan.

The Lizard of Kili Island

Interior of Lae Island, Lae Atoll

Lizard of the Marshall Islands

There once lived a great lizard on Kili Island (now home of the people from Bikini). Not very far away, on Moneak island in Ebon atoll, lived a high chief and his people. There were very many coconuts on Moneak, but the high chief had put a “jabwi” (taboo) on all the coconut trees. They were not to be touched by anybody but himself.
The big lizard on Kili Island wanted to get some nuts from Moneak Island to take back to Kili. But how could he get the coconuts? “Moneak has many coconuts, but the high chief has put a jabwi on those nuts,” he said to himself. “The only thing I can do is steal the nuts from Moneak and bring them here.”

So he left Kili and sailed to Moneak in the darkness. There are two places to land on Moneak on the northeastern part of the island on the ocean side. Those are called Monkilejeion and Monkilejirok. When the lizard got to Moneak, he sang:

I come from the sea to the shore of
Kilejeion or Kilekejeirok
I thought in the dark that someone threw a stone,
but hit nothing
I took one hundred and two hundred large baskets
full of coconuts

Then he went back to Kili.
The next morning, the people of Moneak saw that many coconuts were stolen. “Who did it? Look at the trees! Someone has stolen many nuts!”

Then the people began to watch the island at night. The chief and the people were very angry about the stolen nuts. They knew the nuts had been taken, but they could not guess who had taken them. The chief made sure that a careful watch was set. Some people hid under the coconut leaves and some in the bushes. They had stones ready to hit the thief, even spears and other weapons.

The next night, the lizard came again, and so the people knew that it had been the lizard from Kili who had stolen their nuts. They leaped out and caught him, struck him with stones, and spears. Then, they cut him into many small pieces, and each piece turned into a small lizard.
Thus, this is the reason why there are so many small lizards on the coconut trees today.

As told by M. James Milne

Read the story in Marshalese

Lutok Koban Alele 2015

Lutok Koban Alele 2015 Event

Every year, the last week of September is recognized as the time for Lutok Koban Alele, which means ”the pouring out of all the products, stories, knowledge of Alele (museum). The last Friday of September is a national holiday called “Manit Day” (culture day) and during this day and into the next, traditional competitions are held, such as coconut husking, weaving baskets, various types of races, canoe sail races and canoe paddle races, along with traditional dancing. The photos below illustrate some of the activities on “Manit Day 2015”.

Photos courtesy Carol Curtis

Library – How to

Open Hours: Monday-Friday 8am to 4:30pm, closed 12pm to 1pm

The Alele Public Library is located on the second floor of the Alele building.

We have a wide range of books available for borrowing and a reference collection which is for use only within the library.

How to use the Library

children chosing a book

You need a Borrower Card, valid for 1 year

  • Adults (over 18) and Students of the College of the Marshall Islands : $2.5.

You can arrange to renew the book you borrowed at the library or by telephone for an additional 14-day period provided the book is not in demand.

Overdue charge is 5 cents a day in any kind of materials signed out.

Any lost or damaged items will be charged for at the discretion of the Librarian.

The Pacific Collection

The library maintains the Pacific Collection room – a range of published and unpublished material specific to the Marshall Islands and Oceania, which is available for researchers, for on-site reading only. This collection is not available for borrowing.

Pacific room - selection Pacific room - selection

Books for Sale

Alele carries a range of books for sale. Subject materials is specific to the Marshall Islands and the region.

Photocopy

The library offers photocopy service, with discounted price for members.

Preservation and Promotion

Shell collection
Open Hours: Monday-Friday 8am to 4:30pm, closed 12pm to 1pm

Museum

Our goal is to to promote and preserve Marshallese culture and we organize regular activities such as:

  • Sponsor annual event, “Lutok Kobban Alele” (Cultural Festival) on the last week of September
  • Educational outreach activities which have brought more and more school children to visit the museum, and increased the general public’s understanding of the importance of the preservation of our heritage, and the importance of Alele itself.
  • Catalog and digitalize the 600 VCR records from 1985 – 2000’s of traditional oral literature and culture.
  • Maintain the various collections

Visit and guided tours

Alele museum tourThe Museum is located on the first floor of the Alele Building.

You can visit the museum during open hours. Entrance if free for all, though donations are welcome.

Teachers and groups are welcome to reserve a guided tour with the museum manager. Tours can be either in English or in Marshallese. Please contact us to make an appointment.

Activities through Media

Alele produce a weekly 30-minute radio program broadcasted throughout the country. This program includes traditional stories, proverbs, upcoming news, songs of the past, and current activities at Alele.

On going information and updates about Alele are provided through this website and our Facebook page. Follow us on Facebook and keep-up with our activities!

Bogan Collection

Bogan collection

In 1994 Eugene Bogan graciously donated his collection of Marshallese handicrafts made in 1940’s to Alele Museum. This is a memorial collection to Lt. Eugene Bogan, a man whose love of the Marshalls began during World War II and culminated in his contribution of these rare and treasured items.

Joachim deBrum Collection

Joaquim deBrum self-portrait - Likiep atoll

This is a collection of prints made from of over 2,500 glassplate negatives which shows scenes of Marshallese life and landscapes during 1880’s to 1930’s, taken by Joachim deBrum. This is by far the most historically significant collection of photographs found in the Marshall Islands, and perhaps anywhere in the Pacific region, taken by a Pacific Islander during this period.

Maps

Micronesian Map

Micronesia Map
click to enlarge

Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, 1973.
Covers Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of Palau. Made in the Trust Territory period, but most accurate, with colors.

 $30.00

 

Map Micronesia - detail of the RMI area
Map Micronesia – detail of the RMI area