Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pencil Urchins Crucial to Hawaiian Literacy??

A new blog by Seattle based writer David B. Williams, "Stories in Stone-the Interfingering between people and rock" relates an interesting story of how the tropical Indo-Pacific echinometrid urchin Heterocentrotus mammilatus (aka the Slate Pencil Urchin) played an important role in the literacy of Hawaiians! Here's a quote from it:
The introduction of school slates and the use of sea urchin spines, along with other printed forms ultimately led to Hawaii having wide-spread literacy during the 19th century. Unfortunately, an overthrow of the Hawaii monarchy led to the banning of Hawaiian language in schools. The ban wasn’t lifted until 1986.
Neat! Go check it out!!

Thanks to David Williams for bringing this blog to my attention!

1 comment:

T said...

What a curious thing. I was watching something on TV the other day about how natives in the Amazon used the teeth of piranhas to cut hair!