19 traditional healers given posthumous honors

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In a bid to honor healers who practiced and taught the traditional healing arts in the CNMI, the Indigenous Affairs Office, with the Inetnun Åmut yan Kutturan Natibu/Mwiischil Safey me Kkoor Aramasal Faluw, gave posthumous recognition last Tuesday to 19 traditional healers in the CNMI.

Among those recognized during the Native Medicine Week proclamation signing at the Office of the Governor was local healer Juan Quitugua Kapileo, whose legacy is being continued by his youngest son and, hopefully, by his grandson, Kyle.

“I am proud of my grandpa. If he is alive, he would be happy that he got this,” said Kyle Kapileo last Tuesday.

It had already been 10 years since Juan Quitogua Kapileo passed away but when he was alive, he served the community as a healer for 30 years.

“Traditional healing is very important in our culture. If they teach me [how to heal], I will accept to continue the legacy,” Kyle Kapileo said.

Gov. Ralph DLG Torres pose with the families of the 19 traditional healers who were given posthumous recognition by the Indigenous Affairs Office at the Governor’s Office last Tuesday. (IVA MAURIN)

Aside from Juan Quitugua Kapileo, the local healers who were also recognized were Victoria Borja Aguon, Edward Aldan Ayuyu, Emilio Aldan Ayuyu, Rosa Tanin Castro, Juana Santos Dela Cruz, Magdalena Lairopi Mettao, Tony Pialur Omar, Dionisia Saures Saralu, Aguida Pangelinan Sablan, Regina Sablan, and Rosa Somorang Roppul-Warakai.

IAO is making it a mission to recognize local healers for their efforts to promote health.

“Health is very important, and these are people that have gone out of their personal time to make time for the community…to help them,” IAO resident director Roman Tudela said. “They may have passed on, but we have family members that are still around who can receive the recognition on their behalf.”

Also awarded the posthumous recognition were Margarita Songao Atalig, Beata Duenas Mendiola, Carmen Cabrera Rangamar, and Carmen Matagolai Toves on Rota; and Carida Ogo Kiyoshi, Jesse Salas Mundo, and Henry Deleon Guerrero San Nicolas on Tinian.

Iva Maurin | Author
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at iva_maurin@saipantribune.com

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