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Indigenous Affairs Office constructs second Chamorro house

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WITH the goal of establishing a Chamorro village at the Civic Center in Susupe, the Indigenous Affairs Office on Saturday completed the construction of a second thatched house in the area.

IAO resident executive Roman Tudela Jr. said there will be 10 more traditional houses built for the Chamorro village.

In 2019, Tudela said IAO received a $20,000 grant from the Administration of Native Americans for “Our Culture Will Heal Us” program.

The program consists of three projects: building a traditional thatched house, $6,000; a traditional kitchen and garden, $5,000; and digital storytelling of personal experiences during Super Typhoon Yutu, over $8,000.

Tudela said the Chamorro village at the Civic Center “can one day become an Indigenous Cultural Center.”

He said the traditional houses will also provide cultural practitioners a place to share traditional knowledge and promote their products.

The first traditional house in the area was built in Nov. 2019 to showcase the architectural structure of an ancient Chamorro home, Tudela said.

The Indigenous Affairs Office completed the second traditional Chamorro  house on Saturday.

 

The  Indigenous Affairs Office plans to build 10 more thatched houses in the Susupe beach area.

 

Community members install the roof made of coconut leaves.

 

Women weave coconut leaves for the roof of the traditional bouse.

 

Community members who helped build the traditional Chamorro house pose for a photo.

For the second traditional house, Tudela said the materials used included lumber bought from hardware stores. “Except for coconut leaves, most of [the] materials needed for building a traditional house were destroyed by Super Typhoon Yutu,” he added.

Tudela said members of the community helped complete the second traditional house.

He also thanked the following for their support and assistance: the Saipan Mayor’s Office, the ITC consulting firm, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp., the Office of the Governor,  the Division of Coastal Resources Management, the Commonwealth Zoning Board, the Department of Public Lands and the CNMI Waab-Yapese community group whose members wove the coconut leaves for the roof.

As for the traditional kitchen and garden project, Tudela said it is located at the IAO grounds on Capital Hill. “It is used by our traditional healers to prepare their medicinal concoctions and demonstrate their work to the community,” he added.

He said the digital storytelling project regarding Super Typhoon Yutu is still ongoing.

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