A book by cultural preservationist Lino M. Olopai will be required reading for a class of approximately 220 students at the University of California, Los Angeles this spring.
Olopai’s book, The Rope of Tradition: Reflections of a Saipan Carolinian, chronicles the author’s quest to document and better understand his rich cultural heritage and to seek a balance between traditional life and the demands of the modern world.
The three-month class, AAS 10: Asian American and Pacific Islander History, will be taught by UCLA associate professor Dr. Keith L. Camacho.
According to Camacho, students will read Olopai’s book in preparation for a public forum on indigenous navigation that will be held in Los Angeles on April 20.
Featured speakers at the forum include Cindi Alvitre of the Tongva Ti’at Society, Marcus Lopez of the Chumash Maritime Society, and Mario Borja of Sakman Chamorro. The Tongva and Chumash are American Indian communities from California.
Borja, originally from Saipan, is currently training a crew who will undertake a long-distance voyage in a replica Chamorro sailing canoe known traditionally as “sakman.”
Olopai’s 425-page book was published in 2005 by the Northern Marianas Humanities Council under the Council’s “Micronesian Authors Initiative.” This initiative gives priority to publishing the literary works of indigenous authors.
The book is available for purchase at the council’s office in Springs Plaza, Gualo Rai. For more information call council staff at 235-4785. (NMI Humanities Council)