GUAM—It is a melting pot of culture at Guam’s Chamorro Village as 27 island nations and territories convene for the 12th Festival of the Pacific Arts, or FestPac. The festival, which lasts two weeks, aims to unite artists and cultural practitioners from around the region.
According to organizers, it is known as one of the largest regional cultural events comprised of Pacific natives.
The event’s theme, ”What We Own, What We Have, What We Share, United Voices of the Pacific,” is indicative of the many efforts being taken to improve people’s respect and appreciation for diversity across the Pacific.
Residents from Saipan, Tinian, and Rota made up this year’s delegation for the festival, which is hosted by the island of Guam after it won the bid in 2008.
The CNMI delegation brought local jewelry, traditional arts and crafts, and several dance performances to the celebration.
Rota craftsman Tim San Nicholas told Saipan Tribune that dancers from Saipan electrified the crowd during their performances on FestPac grounds throughout the week.
“We were so welcomed by the people of Guam from the airport all the way to our lodging and transportation,” he added. “On behalf of the delegates, we wish to thank also our CNMI leaders who helped us to participate in his special event.”
Like many others, San Nicholas views the festival as a prime time to showcase the rich and unique culture of his island home.
“We are promoting our traditional arts and some of our traditional crafts like carvings and canoes. This is educational for the next generation,” he explained.
For San Nicholas, the festivities offer a time to discuss preservation and conservation as well. That conversation, he said, must be taken to the next level.
“We need to have a major campaign to increase the multiplication of what we have in the ocean…if we continue to harvest and ignore replenishment, there would be nothing available in the future,” he said. “If we only preserve and protect and we do not increase, what will be left?”
With the congregation of diverse cultures on festival grounds, he noted that cultural connections have also been made.
“I believe that we are interrelated with everything that we have,” he said. “ I believe that whatever I can showcase here and the people from other nations of Micronesia, we have some relationship with what we are providing here.”
The more than 2,000 delegates participating in the revelry come from 27 pacific island countries and territories, namely American Samoa, Australia, Cook Islands, Easter Island, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, and Wallis and Futuna.