From Arrival Stories to Origin Mythmaking: Missionaries in the Marshall Islands

In this article Ola Gunhildrud Berta illuminates aspects of the arrival story of missonaries in the Marshall Islands that have been forgotten and overlooked by both islanders and academics alike. 

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In December 1857, Protestant missionaries arrived on Epoon Atoll to establish the first mission station in the Marshall Islands.

The story of their arrival has historical interest and contemporary importance in the Marshalls because it has been used to form local theology and to shape contemporary identities. Thus, the arrival story of the first missionaries to the Marshall Islands functions as an origin story that serves religiously anchored identity construction on Epoon today.

This article by Ola Gunhildrud Berta illuminates aspects of the arrival story that have been purposefully forgotten by Marshall Islanders and overlooked by academic historians and historically minded scholars.

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Published Jan. 15, 2021 2:05 PM - Last modified Jan. 18, 2021 9:27 AM