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Masters of Chamorro Tradition

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By Monica Okada Guzman Board Chair Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency monicaguzman@galaidegroup.com

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Abstract: In 1998, artist Ron Castro documented the life traditions of many of Guam folk and traditional practitioners who, in a Poster Series and coffee table book, were bestowed the title of “Master.” Since then, no additional cultural practitioners have been recognized and only a dozen of those “living treasures” remain with us today. The depository of the Chamorro heritage is in the minds of these cultural practitioners whose bodies are the vehicles through which the knowledge and skills of their traditions are manifested and performed. Reinstating the Masters program will give due recognition to these practitioners, while also safeguarding their traditional artistry through the continued practice of their craft within the community. The Masters Recognition Award guarantees the continuity of our cultural traditions, leaving a legacy for our children. Providing support of these Masters through apprenticeship programs is also key to the survival of these skills and artistry. Hafa Adai and Good Afternoon!

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Before I begin today, I would like to congratulate the University of Guam, the Guam Preservation Trust, Guampedia, the Northern Marianas Humanities Council and all the individuals who helped organize this important conference. Having attended the first Marianas History Conference in Saipan last year, I am pleased that we are continuing this important dialogue.

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I am here to share a little bit of what we are doing at the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities – CAHA, to help preserve and perpetuate our cultural heritage through our Masters Recognition Program…something that I, our Board of Directors and staff are very passionate about.

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In our society, there are things that we regard as important to preserve for future generations. Things that strike a certain emotion within each of us and make us feel as though we belong to something – a tradition or a way of life. They might be buildings or sacred sites, or songs that can be sung and stories that can be told. Whatever shape

2nd Marianas History Conference 2013 ・ !15

Profile for Guampedia

MHC2: Art, Culture and Science  

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