Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 20 Oct 2018 12am

Headlines:

     

     

     

     

     

    Friday, October 19, 2018-4:46:25P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Font Size

Settings

Canoe house inaugurated

AFTER seven months of hard work, the first canoe house built under the Seafaring Traditions Program has finally been completed.

Department of Culture and Community Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter on Friday morning said the canoe house at the Civic Center in Susupe will serve as the hut for the first Chamorro canoe, which is the next phase of the project.

During the ceremony, DCCA honored 27 individuals, community, business and private organizations that helped build the canoe house.

Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres poses with other officials, cultural advocates and other members of the community at the canoe house at the Civic Center in Susupe, Friday morning.  Photo by Lori Lyn C. LirioGov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres poses with other officials, cultural advocates and other members of the community at the canoe house at the Civic Center in Susupe, Friday morning. Photo by Lori Lyn C. Lirio

According to John Castro, one of the project administrators, they started construction  in December with the help of some students from Marianas High School.

Tony Piailug, a traditional navigator and another project  administrator, has started constructing a balancer for the canoe made of monkey-pod wood which was obtained in Chalan Galaide. The rest of the 45-foot boat will be made of wood from breadfruit trees some of which will come from Rota, Hunter said.

He added that it will be the first Chamorro canoe built in the last 300 years.

“The goal is to [have] the canoe constructed before the next Pacific Arts Festival in Hawaii in 2020,” he said.

They also want to build more canoe houses in the villages, construct Chamorro and Carolinian canoes and sail them, Hunter said.

During the ceremony on Friday, Castro put food wrapped in banana leaves under the monkey-pod wood.

“It is an offering for our ancestors,” he said. “It is done all over the Pacific islands. It has been the practice to honor our ancestors and ask for their blessings.”

During the 37th Flame Tree Festival in April, DCCA led the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the canoe house which served as classroom for children interested in learning how to construct a canoe house.

“Seafaring, traditional navigation and canoe building are integral to our Marianas and Micronesian heritage,” Hunter said in a Facebook post. “Efforts are being made across the Pacific to ensure that this important piece of our culture is not lost. This began with the late and great [traditional navigator] Mau Piailug [1932-2010], and we are proud to finally be doing our part to see this happening here.”

He said the idea of building a canoe house and constructing a Chamorro canoe came from Gov. Ralph D.L.G. Torres who witnessed a flotilla of ocean-going canoes sailing during the Pacific Arts Festival on Guam in 2016.

“It is important that we continue to preserve our culture,” the governor said. “It is important that we move forward while teaching our children [our traditions].”