Expo highlights local cultural practices

THE first Indigenous Cultural Expo, spearheaded by the Lady Diann Torres Foundation, the Indigenous Affairs Office and the Carolinian Affairs Office, welcomed students and tourists who learned about traditional weaving, fishing and other local cultural practices.

The day-long event was held at the Guma Sakman, Civic Center in Susupe on Commonwealth Cultural Day, Monday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Acting Saipan Mayor LJ Castro said the event was not just for tourists. “The Marianas is evolving toward modernization. This event allows us to look out the window of the past and see our elders’ traditional fishing, traditional clothing, weaving, bead making and other traditions.”

He thanked the Indigenous Affairs and CAO for making the first cultural expo a reality. He added that everyone can look forward to this event every year.

“Commonwealth Cultural Day is not just a break. It is a way for us to connect to our culture and our traditions,” he told the guests at the expo.

“Culture is not something we celebrate once a year, once a month or (as) an extra-curricular activity. Culture is something that reigns in all of us. We have to practice it every day. Keep it going and keep our culture alive,” he added.

Indigenous Affairs Resident Executive Roman Tudela Jr. said 24 demonstrators participated in the expo.

“I just want to thank them [demonstrators] for giving the youth and the tourists a glimpse of Chamorro and Carolinian traditional skills and the Marianas way of life.”

At the expo, there were three areas of demonstrations for coconuts, fishing and farming.

For the fish demonstration, Jack Deleon Guerrero discussed how to identify the various fishes; Paul Roberto talked about fishing gear; Jesse Ogo, cleaning fish; Steve Dela Cruz, net fishing; and James Roberto, spear fishing.

For agriculture, Isidoro Cabrera and Donald Mendiola discussed local produce and medicinal plants.

The coconut section showcased the many uses of this ubiquitous fruit. The demonstrators were Emit Ikea, rope-making; Quindy Maratita, clothing; Tina Crisostomo, coconut candy; Yvonne Deleon Guerrero, ahu or sweet coconut dumpling soup dessert; Nieves Camacho, coconut oil; Martin S. Taimanao, shell jewelry; Diego Pua, clothing accessories; and Agnes Duenas, faha or the kernel found inside a coconut that has sprouted.

Weavers also demonstrated their skills: Steve Vanwinkle, hats; Kasimiro Christian, fans; Lisa Emwalu, mats; Samsoni Pome’e, thatches; Fidelia Mafnas, skirts; Julie S. Seman, baskets; Leocardio M. Ruben, body adornment; and Patricia Mareham, floral crafts.

The traditional uumw or roasted pig was prepared by Jesse Ruben while the Simiyan Manaina-ta, the Refaluwasch Warriors and MHS Poksai Chamorro Club provided the entertainment.

500 Sails offered canoe rides.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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