Sakman Neni and Makalii featured in China National Geographic

TWO of the CNMI’s existing traditional sailing canoes, or sakman, were recently featured in a production by National Geographic’s China branch last Thursday, June 22.

In a partnered effort between Marianas Visitor’s Authority Saipan and MVA China Market, both Sakman Neni, of 500 Sails maritime group and Makalii of the Chamolinian Cultural Village Canoe Federation received coverage by the visiting film crew.

Chairman of the CCV, Gordon Marciano, told Variety that MVA had reached out to him for assistance in gathering an ensemble of Chamorro and Carolinian dancers and performers for the production.

“In the beginning, the request was only for indigenous dance groups. But I had suggested since we are covering both cultural dances—Chamorro and Carolinian—we should also include the proas Neni and Makalii as the backdrop for the shoot,” said Marciano.

Traditional indigenous sailing proas, Sakman Neni and Makalii were both featured in a production by National Geographic China last week. Photos by Vicente “Ben” Salas II

Marciano shared that the visiting filmmakers were amazed by the rich history of traditional seafaring and maritime culture in Micronesia and were not aware of revered Satawalese navigator Mau “Papa Mau” Piailug’s role in restoring traditional proa sailing all throughout Oceania.

“I told [the National Geographic China folks] the story of how Papa Mau had mentored the Hawaiians and those Hawaiians then in turn helped the rest of Polynesia and elsewhere rediscover their sailing roots. They were completely blown away. They came out here with one intention and then became so excited and wanted to return in the future and do some more coverage on our traditional seafaring history and learn more about the Marianas based on this,” Marciano added.

Founder of 500 Sails, Pete Perez, was off island at the time of the video shoot. However, he too was more than enthused about the opportunities for future projects to take shape from the visiting crew’s positive experience. He shared the same sentiments as Marciano about witnessing the Chamorro and Carolinian communities come together in a unified effort showing solidarity.

“The best part, for me, was 500 Sails and the Refaluwasch community helping each other side by side to bring Makalii into the water and put up the mast and sail. A video of it can be seen here for those interested http s://,” Perez said.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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