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Governor’s Humanities Awards

23rd Governor's Humanities Awards 

The Northern Marianas Humanities Council would like to congratulate the following Awardees for contributing to the humanities in the community!

The 2020 Governor’s Humanities awardees:

Preservation of Traditional Cultural Practices

Eusebio Camacho Borja

Eusebio Camaho Borja is the Įrst person in CNMI history to be pronounced a master
of his traditonal trade by the CNMI legislature through the passage of
Commonwealth Resoluton 21-8; A House Commemoratve Resoluton
recognizing him as a “Master of Arts & Culture’ through his work in
preserving traditonal cultural practces by promotng the use of the
traditonal ox-cart (karetan guaka) and his talents in domestcatng
livestock. Mr. Borja has been taming and training calves for over 25 years,
partcipatng in countless liberaton parades and sharing his knowledge
about ox-cart traditons to elementary students through oīering both oral
histories and ox-cart rides to tourists and residents alike. His catle raising
requires a unique giŌ to communicate with calves, yielding obedient
livestock that understand how to follow instructon. Today, Mr. Borja is the
only person practcing this traditonal form of transportaton.
Mr. Borja and his family contributed signiĮcantly to the building of the
Chamorro thatched house of Guma’ Higai near Civic Center on Beach Road.
He, his children, and his grandchildren all partcipated in the constructon
process, consttutng a passing down of traditonal Chamorro practces.
He has also trained and tamed deer for the public to enjoy and admire.

Preservation of CNMI History

Stephanie Soder

Outstanding Humanities Teacher

Anita Ayuyu Sablan

Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities

Ambrose Milton Bennet

Former CNMI Board of Educaton member, teacher, author, and scholar
Ambrose BenneƩ has worked as an educator in the CNMI for decades. A
staunch advocate for social equality, Mr. Bennet marched with Dr. Martn
Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement in the contnental US, then
played a leading role in lobbying for the establishment of the Martn Luther
King Jr. Day holiday in the CNMI. As a PSS teacher, he authored several books
and other educatonal resources focused on the history and economics of
Micronesia and taught evening and adult social science courses at Northern
Marianas College. He also acted as a PSS administrator and teacher at the
Kagman Juvenile Detenton Center, which allowed youths to graduate high
school from the local juvenile facility.
Mr. Bennet was able to combine his devoton to educaton with his passion
for fair representaton when he founded the Teacher Representatve
Commitee in 2003 and was elected by his fellow teachers to serve as the
Teacher Representatve to the CNMI State Board of Educaton in 2004. He has
also been selected as a James Madison Fellow (scholar of the U.S.
Consttuton & Founders) and a Fulbright – Hays Fellow (Scholar/Researcher
to Mexico). In 2018, Mr. Bennet published his most recent book, The
Audacity to Change; Breaking America’s Dangerous Paradigms, in which he
predicted what was to come under President Donald Trump.
Hislife's work isinspired by hissimple personal creed: “To do beter for God,
to do beter for his family, and to do beter for his community.”


The 2019 Governor’s Humanities awardees:

Research and Publication

Lynne Michael

Lynne Michael first arrived on Rota in 1986, with a background in ethnomusicology, she was interested in what remained of Chamorro music. As an English teacher at Rota high School, she worked with Matt Ooka to develop cross-disciplinary units between English and Social Studies. In 1999, they applied for and received a grant from The Consortium of Pacific Arts and Cultures which provided recording equipment for students to interview the Man’amko’ (elders) regarding their memories of The Japanese Era and World War II. When Matt’s health was failing, he came to her with the recordings and made her promise that their work would not languish. Years passed, but she did not forget my promise to make these firsthand accounts available to the public. The book “Memories and Music, The Japanese Era on Rota” and accompanying CDs preserves a unique time in the history of Rota through interviews, songs, and first-person accounts. Direct transcriptions of interviews in Chamorro have been translated, not all in word-for-word literal translations, but as documented by the interviewers. Some interviews were conducted in English, and some of those that were duplicated over the years have been compiled into one narrative. As a bi-lingual publication, the indigenous Chamorro language is paired with translations in English to promote the preservation of the Chamorro language. The book and accompanying CDs make available a body of information that would otherwise be lost or unavailable to historians and the public.

Lifetime Achievement in the Humanities

Dr. Boyd Dixon

Dr. Boyd Dixon is a Senior Archaeologist with Cardno GS in Guam and the CNMI. With over 45 years of archaeological experience in North America, Latin America, Western Europe, and the Pacific Basin, his interests are equally varied. They embrace prehistoric and historic patterns of settlement, subsistence, interaction, power, and conflict. Boyd holds a BA from the University of Alabama, with MA and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Connecticut. He was also a research associate at the Micronesian Area Research Center at the University of Guam. In 2019, he published the books “Yellow Beach 2 after 75 Years: The Archaeology of a WWII Invasion Beach on Saipan and its Historic Context in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands” and “Afetna Point, Saipan: Archaeological Investigations of a Latte Period Village and Historic Context in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands”. Additionally, he peer-reviewed chapters and provided notes for the publication “Mass Suicides on Saipan and Tinian, 1944: An Examination of the Civilian Deaths in Historical Context” (2019). In 2018, his article “Pagan: the archaeology of a WWII battle never fought in the Northern Mariana Islands” was published in the Journal of Conflict Archaeology.

Between 2018-2019, he served as Project Supervisor of data recovery at Pre-Latte Site SP-1040 in San Roque, Saipan and co-authored an archaeological monitoring report on Kalabera Cave, Saipan. Dr. Dixon is currently working on a paper titled “Archaeologi- cal Roots of Louisiana in the Pre-WWII Japanese Sugarcane Plantations of the Northern Marianas Islands in Micronesia” that is expected to appear in the Louisiana Archeological Society Bulletin. He has produced several technical reports on Saipan and Tinian in the last five years.

Dr. Dixon’s tireless efforts go beyond research and publication. In 2019, he served as a planner and image analyzer for the Northern Marianas Humanities Council’s 75th Anniversaries of the Battles of Saipan and Tinian Multimedia Exhibit, in which archival photographs and footage of Chamorros, Carolinians, Japanese, Okinawans, and Koreans were shown at the NMI Museum of History and Culture and American Memorial Park. Dr. Dixon has contributed entries to Guampedia, presented at the 4th Marianas History Conference in 2019, and has worked on numerous other humanities projects that have advanced the scholarship and benefited the community and people of the Northern Marianas.

Outstanding Humanities Teacher non-classroom setting

Emma Perez

Emma Perez is co-founder of 500 Sails, a cultural restoration project, dedicated to restoring the sailing traditions ofthe CNMI, both Chamorro and Carolinian. Mrs. Perez was a member of the Chamorro Flying Proa Relay Team that successfully swam the English Channel (22 miles from England to France) in 2007, raising money to build Che’lu, a 47-foot canoe that will be joining the 500 Sails fleet in 2019. She went on to be named Ambassador-at-Large by then Governor Calvo of Guam for embodying the Chamorro spirit and preserving and perpetuating culture and traditions. She also leads and teaches 500 Sails’ Adult Learn-to-Swim classes through its swim program Dolphin Club Saipan and created the Gamsun Project for youth. Since moving to Saipan in 2013, Emma has taught over 1200 swimmers, participated in the Train the Trainers sailing program taught by Master Navigator Cecilio Raiukiulipiy, and has become one of the main “land based” teachers of sailing basics. As a teenager, she wanted to be a marine biologist, but followed the path to the accounting profession instead, where she worked with non-profit organizations for decades. She is delighted to have found herself back in and on the water, and is grateful to be part of the revitalization of seafaring in the Marianas.

Outstanding Humanities Teacher

in classroom setting

Dr. Chas Algaier

Dr. Chas Algaier, has been involved education and the humanities in the CNMI for the past 25 years. While facilitating the creation of Northern Marianas College’s first baccalaureate degree program in Elementary Education, Dr. Algaier worked closely with the CNMI Humanities Council supporting speakers, programs, and publications. In 2005, he began teaching at Marianas High School where he taught Advanced Placement courses in Psychology, Literature and World History. Later he expanded to teaching AP courses in U.S. History. He served as Chair for the Social Studies Department and AP Program. He has also been the advisor for MHS National Honor Society Chapter, Junior States of America Chapter, Red Cross Club, Physics Club and Senior Class advisor. He was selected as keynote speaker for the graduating classes of 2006, 2007 and 2009. He has been selected as the MHS Teacher of the Year and as Gilder-Lehman 2014 Territories Teacher of the Year. He is known to deliver eloquent and active lectures with his students, distributes meaningful assignments and assigns exciting and academically challenging projects that contribute to the curriculum. He now appreciates the support the Council gives to Social Studies education in the CNMI through its sponsorship of National History Day. He also feels pride whenever his favorite student completes another bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree, receives further recognition for greatness, or otherwise succeeds in life.

Preservation of Traditional Cultural Practices

Eric Joel Reyes

Eric Joel Reyes, for over two decades, has studied under his mentor, the Master of Chamorro dance, Saina Francisco B. Rabon and has participated in FestPAC 1996 - Apia, Samoa , FestPAC 2000 - New Caledonia , Festpac 2004 - Palau , 2005 - New Zealand Pacific Cultural Conference , and many more promotional trips to China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the mainland United States. He realized that all these nations have one thing in common, they were in one way or the other trying to preserve their culture. He start- ed to write chants & music that spoke of the preservation & perpetu- ation of the Chamorro people. He went on to formulate Guma Taotao Taga in 2006 and has been an active cultural practitioner since. He has spear-headed many opening and closing ceremonies with the traditional bendision and has also participated in many Chamorro language competitions, bringing home 12 gold medals and many championship awards. He was awarded Chamorro dance instructor of the year in 2006 and 2007. In 2010, his team produced an award winning Chamorro traditional album of the year, “Guinaifen I kulu”. In 2012, he was honored with the title “Fafa’na’gue” which is a certified traditional Chamorro dance instructor mandated by the 31st Guam Legislature and Pa’a Taotao Tano. His main goal is to re-establish the Chamorro culture by promoting one Marianas and to foster the unity of the Chamorro people by preserving, perpetuating, promoting, practicing, and performing the culture, which includes language, songs, chants, and dances.

The 2018 Governor’s Humanities awardees:

Galvin Deleon Guerrero

Preservation of CNMI History

Victor Cabrera

Outstanding Humanities Teacher (classroom setting)

Cecilio Raiukiulipiy

Outstanding Humanities Teacher (non-classroom setting)

Gordon Marciano

Preservation of Traditional Cultural Practices

Don Farrell

Research and Publication in the Humanities

Scott Russell 

Lifetime Achievement Award in the Humanities


2020 Governor's Humanities Awards - Nomination Form

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