According to Unesco, it’s estimated that over 6,000 languages spoken today will disappear by the end of this century.
Along with language, thousands of years of indigenous cultural knowledge is on the verge of extinction—knowledge that scientists don’t yet know, that could possibly save a person’s life.
For example, the Moken people of Thailand lived through the 2004 tsunami. It was one of the greatest tsunami disasters in history; over 200,000 people died in this disaster. However, most of the Moken people lived because they where able to witness changes in the ocean, and knew that a tsunami was coming and that they would have to get to higher ground.
Dr. Narumon Hinshiranan is an anthropologist, who speaks the Moken language.
In excerpt from an interview for 60 minutes he said:
“How did the Moken know that the tsunami was coming? The water receded very fast and one wave, one small wave, came so they recognized that this is not ordinary. …And then they have this kind of legend that passed from generations to generations about seven waves.”
The Mokens have sat around and told stories of how tsunamis appear. This story has kept them alive for thousands of years.
Editor: Brianna Bemel
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