Telling the Marianas story from a local perspective

Posted on Sep 30 2019

Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios poses with the Northern Marianas Humanities Council officials and board members at the proclamation of October as Humanities Month at the Office of the Governor’s conference room on Capital Hill Wednesday.

“We are Pacific islanders and part of humanities is that we have to value who we are.”
—Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios

To celebrate the history of the people of the Marianas, the community is being called upon to become storytellers and to share personal experiences of the past and the present, to chronicle life on the islands from the perspective of its own people.

This call for sharing the living history of the Marianas comes as the whole month of October is celebrated as Humanities Month.

At the proclamation signing last week, Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios stressed the humanities’ role in fostering a better understanding of history, and for enhancing and enriching the lives of all people of the Marianas.

“Humanities helps us better understand our history, cultures, languages, political institutions, and social values,” Palacios said, “and allows us to examine our past and present experiences in light of the values and beliefs that we have traditionally relied upon for guidance and direction.”

Palacios also sang praises to the people in the community who have shaped humanities on the islands.

“We have so many people in our community who have contributed through the years, and continue to contribute, to this worthwhile purpose,” Palacios said. “We have 500 Sails, we have Indigenous Affairs, we have the Carolinian Affairs, we have the Refaluwasch, we have all kinds of cultural advocacy that tell [our story].”

Palacios also challenged the Northern Marianas Humanities Council to be the umbrella that will stitch together the different facets of the CNMI story.

“I think it would be a great, great project, and a great challenge if the Humanities Council could be the umbrella to put all these things together…because there are a lot of stories. I’m very happy to see a lot of us are starting to awaken to telling our story. I have been wanting to really read…our perspective of our history.”

In response, NMHC executive director Leo Pangelinan said the idea of the council somehow helping these individual groups, or individuals, form a collective “is an interesting concept.”

“We represent the broader perspective of what these individual groups in our communities do to exert their identity, assert their identity, and call on our community for tolerance to help celebrate and promote awareness of their differences and similarities,” he added.

NMHC will lead the monthlong celebration of the humanities through educational programs that relate to the indigenous culture, as well as the needs and interests of the community.

Upcoming events include The Essence of Po: Traditional Knowledge of the Refaluwasch People on Oct. 8; Na Lala Fino’ Chamorro! on Oct. 9; Garapan Heritage Trail Tour on Oct. 11; Sengebau Poetry Competition on Oct. 15; Humanitini Featuring Microchild on Oct. 16; Governor’s Humanities Awards on Oct. 24; and the Amalawa Mwaliliil Refaluwasch! on Oct. 29.

For more information about the events, contact the council at 235-4785 or email info@nmhcouncil.org.

MD: Telling the Marianas Story from Locals’ Perspective: October is Humanities Month
KW: Humanities Month, Northern Marianas Humanities Council, Arnold I. Palacios, Leo Pangelinan, 500 Sails, Indigenous Affairs, Carolinian Affairs, Refaluwasch

Iva Maurin | Correspondent
Iva Maurin is a communications specialist with environment and community outreach experience in the Philippines and in California. She has a background in graphic arts and is the Saipan Tribune’s community and environment reporter. Contact her at iva_maurin@saipantribune.com
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