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Last updateSat, 20 Oct 2018 12am

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    Saturday, October 20, 2018-10:20:21A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Traditional canoe house now open; Flame Tree Arts Festival begins

WITH the completion of the traditional canoe house at the Civic Center in Susupe, Department of Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter said the next project is the construction of a 40- to 45-foot ocean-going Chamorro sakman that will sail to Hawaii for the next Festival of Pacific Arts in 2020.

Hunter led the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the canoe house on Thursday afternoon.

Lt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog, his wife Villa, 2018 Miss Marianas Celine Cabrera, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, lawmakers and other officials are ready to cut the ceremonial ribbon to mark the opening of the traditional canoe house at the Civic Center on Thursday.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. LirioLt. Gov. Victor B. Hocog, his wife Villa, 2018 Miss Marianas Celine Cabrera, Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang, lawmakers and other officials are ready to cut the ceremonial ribbon to mark the opening of the traditional canoe house at the Civic Center on Thursday. Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

He said they plan to build more canoe houses in every coastal village from San Antonio to San Roque, and to make Chamorro and Carolinian canoes available to the community for teaching, fishing and other community activities.

Hunter said the program’s goal is to ensure that the islands’ seafaring heritage is perpetuated: “To preserve and not lose the knowledge and skills that are still present, and regain the knowledge that have been lost overtime.”

He added, “To this end, and as the first project of this program, we are going to re-ignite, through relearning, construction and sailing, the heritage of traditional Chamorrro canoe-building and sailing.”

After the dedication of the canoe house, Hunter and other officials proceeded to the nearby site of the 37th Annual Flame Tree Arts Festival to announce its opening.

“It is our goal that this Flame Tree Arts Festival will be the best event it can be for artists,” he said in his remarks.

Hunter said his department’s Arts Council, with the cooperation of the private sector and the government, is working hard to make the festival the largest annual arts and cultural event in Micronesia.

The goal is to make the festival “a world-class event that will benefit our artists, benefit our cultural practitioners, benefit our community, benefit our visitor industry and benefit our economy.”

During the opening ceremony, Arts Council executive director Parker Yobei led the recognition for nine deceased artists who made great contributions to the promotion of local arts and culture: Kevin Taimano Atalig, Balbina Quichocho Dela Cruz, Barry Alan Wonenberg, Enrico “Heinz” Staffler, Carmen Matagolai Toves, Kilroy Clyde Igisaiar Fitial, Shane Donovan Metauligh, Carmen Gaskins and Francisco M. Norita.

The Flame Tree Arts Festival ends on Sunday.