The Northern Marianas Humanities Council was recently awarded nearly $92,000 in funds from the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program to expand and interpret the Tinian National Historic Landmark.
The Tinian NHL is a pristine World War II battlefield in northern Tinian. Significant sites in the landmark include the two invasion beaches; Japanese defensive bunkers, caves, tunnels, and gun positions; concrete buildings and other sites associated with the Japanese airfield at Ushi Point; North Field’s four runways, taxiways, and hardstands; sites associated with the atomic bomb attacks including the atomic bomb loading pits and the 509th Bomb Group camp area; and remnants of Camp Chulu.
Funds from the grant will expand the Tinian NHL boundaries to include Mt. Lasso and the area on Tinian where the atomic bombs were assembled.
Additionally, grant funds will be used to develop up to 20 signs explaining the history of significant sites on the battlefield. Interpretation will incorporate diverse perspectives, photographs, and maps. Signage will contain scannable QR codes linked to a companion website. The signs will be in the CNMI’s three official languages: Chamorro, Carolinian, and English. Interpretive text and other information on the website, in addition to the three official languages, will also be presented in the main tourist languages—Japanese, Korean, and Chinese—to enhance the visitor experience.
The interpretive signs will allow for underrepresented perspectives from WWII to have their story told. For example, plans from the grant include signage regarding the resettlement of Tinian by Chamorros in the immediate post-war period; the perspective of Japanese defenders as the battle for Tinian was underway; contributions by African-American and Native American troops in the capture of Tinian and more.
NMHC executive director Leo Pangelinan said the project will help community members understand the role Tinian played during WWII.
“Unlike battlegrounds [on] Saipan and Palau, the Tinian National Historic Landmark is underappreciated, despite being the staging ground for efforts that would bring about the end of World War II. The erecting of interpretive signs around the landmark is an opportunity for community members and visitors to deepen their understanding of the important role Tinian has had in history,” he said.
Redrawing of the Tinian NHL boundaries begins in November 2021, with research and creation of interpretive signs continuing until 2023. (PR)