Master blacksmith returns to Saipan


Guam master blacksmith Francisco Lizama and Dr. Michael Bevacqua conducted presentations about blacksmithing at the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library last Aug. 27.

The grandfather of Bevacqua, master blacksmith Joaquin Florence Lujan, who unfortunately passed just last year, taught Lizama the ways of blacksmithing.

“We basically told the story of his grandfather who taught me. He was a master blacksmith. Unfortunately he passed away last year, so now I’m the master blacksmith. We talked about the different tools that we brought,” shared Lizama on what they discussed during last weekend’s workshop at the JKPL.

Lizama wishes that the culture of blacksmithing would live on along with the memories of the past master blacksmiths of his time.

“When I was here in 1990, I knew that there were two blacksmiths here. They both passed away and basically the art of blacksmithing kind of disappeared. My purpose is to revive that and bring up the culture that the two made before they died,” he said.

Lizama stressed the importance of blacksmithing through a quick history lesson. “The tools they were working is what the Chamorro people and the Carolinian people used to make a living with.”

He also pins his hopes on the enactment into law of a bill establishing a cultural center in the CNMI. House Bill 19-127, authored by Rep. Felicidad Ogumoro (R-Saipan), recently passed the House of Representatives and is currently in the Senate where it has been referred to a committee for review.

The planned cultural center will feature blacksmithing among other indigenous practices.

“We told them that if they’re interested, if there is enough interest in the Marianas, then maybe the Senate might approve the bill or whatever so that I can come over here and teach,” said Lizama.

There are upcoming presentations for those interested in the near future, but certain dates and venue locations are yet to be specified.

“I have one more presentation here in September. We are also going to Rota and Tinian. No confirmed date and venue for the next presentations as I have yet to coordinate with Dr. Bevaqua,” said Lizama.

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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