The 2014 Governor’s Humanities Awards last Thursday honored the work and lives of several men and women who have helped shape and share the history, cultures, languages, political institutions, and social values of the Commonwealth.
Drs. Hsia-chun Hung and Mike T. Carson, Marie S.C. Castro, Noriyasu Horiguchi, Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho, Galvin S. Deleon Guerrero, and Abed Younis were this year’s awardees.
Hung and Carson were awarded for their research and publication in the humanities. One of their notable work is The First Settlement of Remote Oceania: The Philippines to the Marianas.
From 2012 to 2014 they did extensive archeological research at the House of Taga site on Tinian. They recovered thousands of ancient pottery fragments, tools of bone, shell and stone and subsistence remains. Radiocarbon dating and comparative analysis of the artifacts confirmed that the Marianas was first settled roughly 3,500 years ago.
Castro was awarded for preservation of CNMI history, for her 2013 book Without a Penny in My Pocket: My Bittersweet Memories of Before and After World War II. Her book begins in the 1930s, describing traditional Chamorro life centered on the family, farm, and the church, until after the war when Saipan was transformed by its violence.
Horiguchi was awarded for preservation of traditional cultural practices. He is a Japanese-English legal translator, technical editor, and researcher who in recent years has used social media to disseminate information on local history and cultures. “Save the Monument (Pagan Island)” and “Fino’ Chapanese,” for example, are two Facebook pages that engage the public on issues relating to Pagan, and examines the infusion of Japanese words into the indigenous languages here. He has lived in the CNMI for more than 40 years.
Camacho was awarded for outstanding humanities teacher for his instrumental role in developing the Junior High Mock Trial program, which, according to him, has continued to grow each and every year. He is an associate judge in the CNMI Superior Court.
Galvin Deleon Guerrero was awarded for this year’s outstanding humanities teacher. He is the president and principal of Mount Carmel School, and has taught as an adjunct instructor at Northern Marianas College. At MCS, he has led a nationally competitive mock trial program and his passion for literature can be seen in his recent stage adaptation of Marie Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Abed Younis was awarded for his lifetime achievement in the humanities as founder of the Marianas Variety, which has covered the developments and issues in the NMI in the last 42 years, and has since then expanded into Guam and Palau.
Frankie Eliptico, acting chair of the Northern Marianas Humanities Council, described the night’s awardees as individuals who have done a phenomenal job in not only personifying personal beliefs but advancing the practice, observation and most importantly, the celebration of the humanities.
Acting governor Jude U. Hofschneider, in his special remarks, recited lines from Robert Frost’s Our Hold on the Planet. He called the night’s awardees individuals whose work “have enhanced and enriched our lives, and reflected the CNMI’s history, cultures, and social values.”