Master Navigator and Canoe Builder Manny Sikau from the Polowat Atoll in Chuuk talks about the construction of Lien Polowat, a traditional canoe that was carved by members of the community. Manny Sikau's story was included as part of Humanities Guåhan's Kuentusi I Hanom project, which seeks to privilege the voices and perspectives of Pacific Islanders about the deep cultural importance and meaning of water in their lives. These stories of water are from indigenous Chamorros and other Micronesians—those who trace their heritage to the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands.
This project serves as an important and necessary space for the often marginalized voices of indigenous peoples to be recognized and celebrated. Speaking to water in the diverse indigenous languages of Guam and Micronesia is particularly significant.
Storytelling, oral histories and cultural traditions throughout Pacific Islands societies are important and highly respected forms of knowledge. Such knowledge is passed down through families, clans and communities over generations and/or reiterated in a more contemporary context through narratives, poetry, performance and other creative forms. Storytelling is therefore a part of Pacific Islander identity and is a lived experience.
Through Kuentusi I Hanom, participating Chamorros and Micronesians share their cultural knowledge in relation to the physical, spiritual, creative, economic and political aspects of water in video and audio recordings co-curated with Humanities Guåhan.