Keeping Chamorro Culture Alive

To keep the Chamorro culture intact, the Guam Preservation Trust hosted the Pacific Preservation Summit last month to educate and build on ways that they can keep the island culture and history alive.

This inaugural summit was held in the historic district of Hagåtña, Guam and focused on five disciplines in historic preservation: Architecture, Archaeology, Culture, History, and Community Planning. With the theme  “Connect, Appreciate, Preserve” they invited their communities to celebrate their Pacific Heritage.

The goal of the event was to provide educational opportunities, enhance workforce skills and develop collaborative resources for the Pacific Islands to adapt to modern-day obstacles for historic and cultural preservation. It was also hoped that the summit would develop collaborative resources to prepare their Pacific Islands to build capacity for adaptation and mitigate current threats to both tangible and intangible historic and cultural preservation areas that their communities value.

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Koror, Palau

The summit addressed a critical need for Pacific island communities to protect cultural, natural and historic resources. Preservation is necessary with increased economic development, the U.S. military relocation and buildup in the Asia-Pacific region, and the disturbing rise of sea levels due to climate change.

A good example of how this summit would help with cultural preservation in Guam and other islands came from Nick Delgado who wrote a short article for the KUAM News:

Building a strong relationship with the military has been a struggle since the announcement that thousands of marines and their families would be relocating from Okinawa, Japan to Guam. But, has that progressed? Chief program officer Joe Quinata said, “There is always going to be a disconnect but in communicating, in doing a lot of the things we do today, the connection is going to happen.”

A connection, Quinata says, they want to happen the right way. He’s the chief program officer of the Guam Preservation Trust. So, the effort is only fitting that work is done in the best interest of preserving the island. “We hope that the military becomes our partner as we move on to preserve our heritage,” he said.

A movement that now will bring others, preservationist and conservationist alike to one table to talk issues during the Pacific Preservation Summit. “So we are expecting historic preservation officers from the different islands, conservation organizations from the different islands. We are going to get together so that we can be able to look at how we can get our resources together to help each other. There are issues that we need to talk about. Issues about climate change. Issues about threatening of historic sites, and also issues that are in our front yard,” he explained.

Pointing back to the military buildup, Quinata says it’s the public’s responsibility to ensure they connect, appreciate, and preserve the place we call home.

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About islandculturearchivalsupport

Island Culture Archival Support (ICAS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of records pertaining to the cultural identity of island peoples in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia whose national and public archives, libraries, cultural centers, and business organizations are underprivileged, underfunded, and understaffed. The specific purpose for which this nonprofit corporation was formed is to support the needs of these South Pacific cultural heritage institutions by helping to preserve and make accessible records created for business, accountability or cultural purposes. The organization will endeavor to add value by providing resources or volunteers to advise, train, and work among island residents to support their efforts in building their future and preserving their collective memory through the use of modern archival techniques.
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