According to Google Maps, a walking trip from Dawson City, YK, to Las Cruces, NM, would take 45 days, but only if you walked all day and night and never stopped. This distance corresponds to the historical north-south extent of the Athabascan language group. A walking trip from Amritsar, in the Punjab, to Vilnius, Lithuania, is roughly the same length. This route corresponds, roughly, to the historical extent of the proto-Indo-European language group. I have read that to hear what ancient Sanskrit sounds like you need to visit a Lithuanian village. Formosa (Taiwan) and Rapa Nui (Easter Island) are separated by 15000 km of ocean that would take roughly the same length of time to cross in a Polynesian canoe as the aforementioned journeys. This very journey was the inspiration for Wade Davis’ 2009 Massey Lectures, “The wayfinders: Why ancient wisdom matters in the modern world” (Davis). The Austronesian language group, which originates with the Indigenous peoples of Formosa, stretches as far as Rapa Nui to the east, Hawai’i to the north, Aotearoa (New Zealand) to the south and Madagascar to the west. Aboriginal peoples were on the move and their cultures and ways of knowing moved with them.
The purpose of this illustration is to demonstrate that globalization, in fact, is thousands of years old: it is a robust form of human interaction. Journeys that in past epochs would have taken several perilous months now take nanoseconds. The greatest difference between 21st Century Literacies and 1st Century Literacies is the pace and diversity of information exchange and this is an enormous difference. Students don’t need our help to become global citizens; they need our help in developing the literacies to cope with the content and pace of 21st Century Global Citizenship.
Davis, Wade. The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World. Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2009. Print.
© K.C. Hoffman and learnersinadangeroustime.wordpress.com, 2013.