MARC: Still worth digging after 50 years – The Guam Daily Post

The Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC) is a repository of information about the Micronesian region established in 1967. Then-president of the College of Guam, Antonio C. Yamashita, collected a handful of individuals namely, Paul Carano, Lucius Eldredge, Emilie Green Johnston and Marjorie Driver and they discussed Yamashita’s idea to establish a particular library for Guam and the Micronesian area. They added a research program in the mid-1970s.

Yamashita’s group was concerned over an influx of outside scholars from Hawaii, and the contiguous United States who looked at Micronesia as an unexplored territory of subjects to interview on a vast number of disciplines and interests as researchers found a treasure trove of people, cultures, languages, and beliefs to study.

After they collected the data, they returned to their universities to analyze the information, then compiled them into reports, books or articles for academic journals.

Some researchers completed their graduate studies to earn their terminal degrees – the highest degree awarded in a particular academic discipline – not all terminal degrees are doctorates, but many were.

The group felt that the data, analysis and results – vital information to the people of Micronesia – were not made available to them or the College of Guam, and that was the central principle behind the establishment of the Micronesian Area Research Center.

History questions

My first encounter with MARC was 20 years ago as a K57 talk show host when callers asked me questions on topics about Guam’s history, like: Did Magellan land in Humåtak? What is a latte? Why was Kephua chosen as the chief to stand in the capital? Which island in the Marianas was first inhabited? Was Matåpang silly? Is that his real name?

I certainly did know, and I told my listeners that I would find out and went to MARC where I met Dirk Ballendorf. He was a scholar of Micronesian Studies, and it wasn’t long afterward that Dirk was a regular guest on my show answering questions about Guam history. The demand was tremendous, and Dirk was a fantastic resource, but he encouraged me to do my own digging at MARC.

My second exposure to MARC was a devoted talk radio listener Emilie Green Johnston, Bert Johnston’s widow. Emilie listened to talk radio regularly, partly because she was legally blind and talk radio provided mental stimulation, entertainment and excitement for her. She was a gregarious and well-educated woman and willing to share her knowledge.

After one show, I drove to her house, and we had a very long talk about MARC. Emilie told me that while she was a student at the College, she was invited to help with filing at MARC, and it was from that work that she became familiar with the collections and a founding member.

Emilie told me that she decided to research the Guam Memorial Hospital for a class assignment and was discouraged against the topic because, “There isn’t enough information available.” She proved whoever told her that, wrong. She was able to dig out a lot of information at MARC for her project.

So, now in its 50th year, MARC’s purpose has not changed. It should not change because there is still much to learn from its many resources. MARC remains a research center for the Micronesian public to learn about themselves and their region.

Seminar Series

One of the features for the celebration of MARC’s 50th year is the Seminar Series, a free monthly lecture for the UOG community and the public established in the 1970s to promote Micronesian Studies.

UOG President Robert Underwood was the first presenter on Sept. 12 and raised a few excellent points during his talk. One of them is that there is a lot to learn about the CHamoru people by reading about those who lived during the Spanish period in the documents at MARC.

He pointed out the birth of the first CHamoru, where they come from, and that they were taught to avoid the latte. However, today they are tempting fate by incorporating the latte in the building of bus stops. Here is the link to his lecture on YouTube:

The second installment in the MARC Seminar Series is Oct. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the CLASS Lecture Hall on the UOG campus. Eva Kuske, a graduate student from the University of Bern in Switzerland, will share her research findings on post-colonial English spoken on Guam. The title of her talk is “Guam English – You’ve all heard it, but what does it really sound like?”

MARC’s research library is open to the public, and staff is there to assist you to find the answers to your questions — all you have to do is show up and ask for help. See you at MARC!

Source: Google News :

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