The Department of Community and Cultural Affairs will soon start its Canoe and Navigation program as a means to rekindle the long-lost art of traditional sailing.
According to Community and Cultural Affairs Secretary Robert Hunter, the tradition of canoe making, wayfinding, and ocean navigation has been completely forgotten by the Chamorro culture and DCCA hopes that this new program will re-ignite that aspect of the culture.
Hunter said the program, which will officially start on Aug. 1, 2017, will showcase authentic Chamorro and Carolinian canoes that are made exactly how it use to be made, using resources provided by the island.
Mau Piailug, or one of the last original master wayfinders in the world, left his legacy on the island of Saipan. According to Hunter, Piailug’s son Tony Piailug, will be a permanent part of the program. Tony Piailug is considered a second-generation master wayfinder.
Hunter said the program will only be accepting dedicated individuals.
The program will also be the gateway to showcase the island in many traditional sailing competitions around the world.
According to Hunter, the goal is to build a 50-foot Chamorro canoe that will be sailed to New Zealand for the competition in 2020. The program will be open to everyone once the trial period is over.