25 Jan 2019By Lori Lyn C. Lirio - firstname.lastname@example.org - Variety News Staff
SIX individuals received the Governor’s Humanities Award in a scaled-down ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Saipan’s Giovanni’s Restaurant on Thursday.
Northern Marianas Humanities Council Executive Director Leo Pangelinan said the awardees are “legends” in their own rights for contributing knowledge that relates to the humanities.
They are Galvin Guerrero, Victor Cabrera, Cecilio Raiukiulipiy, Gordon Marciano, Don Farrell and Scott Russel.
“We are recognizing outstanding teachers and individuals who preserve CNMI history,” Pangelinan said. “They promote and preserve indigenous culture and language. These elements of the humanities are important for us as a community.”
He added, “By promoting these individuals, we hope to spark an interest among our youth and other community members to explore the field of humanities and to contribute to the knowledge base of the CNMI.”
Don Farrell received the award for research and publication in the humanities.
An historian and retired educator, Farrell has published several books, the latest of which are “Tinian and the Bomb” and “Modern History of the Northern Marianas Islands.”
In an interview, Farrell said it was his second time to receive the award. His first was for historic preservation.
“It is my first time to be honored for publication. I am very pleased and very honored,” he added.
In receiving the award, Farrell expressed hope that a Carolinian would step up and write the history of the Refaluwasch in the NMI.
For preserving traditional cultural practices, the Humanities Council honored Gordon Marciano.
The award recognized Marciano’s promotion of the CNMI’s indigenous cultures on the world stage.
For 27 years, Marciano trained and engaged hundreds of local Chamorros and Carolinians in cultural activities and performances that provided cultural experiences to thousands of visitors to the CNMI. Through his work, the local indigenous art forms have become popular.
Mount Carmel School president Galvin Deleon Guerrero received the award for the preservation of CNMI history.
An educator and an avid fan of film, Deleon Guerrero combined both his passions for film and education. He has produced several films, which earned various accolades in film award-giving bodies.
His latest movie, “We Drank Our Tears: Rafael Mafnas’ Story,” won the Best of Festival Award at the 8th annual Guam International Film Festival.
“This is very humbling,” Deleon Guerrero said of the award. “We tell these stories not for ourselves, but to other people to demonstrate the resilience of the people of the Marianas.”
He added, “It is an honor to continue telling these stories and introduce them to a new generation so they can keep that memory alive, and to remind everyone that whether it is Super Typhoon Yutu or World War II, we can survive anything.”
Victor Cabrera received the award as an outstanding humanities teacher in a classroom setting. He is recognized for his unconventional methods of teaching middle school students on how to farm and be self-sustaining.
Cabrera teaches Hopwood Middle School students gardening and raising animals to help create sustainability in the community.
Cecilio Raiukiulipiy, who has 35 years of sailing experience, received the award as an outstanding humanities teacher in a non-classroom setting.
His passion for navigation started when he was seven years old. His uncle, the legendary Mau Piailug of Satawal, passed the knowledge of traditional navigation to him. He has voyaged in the traditional way from Hawaii to the CNMI, Japan to Australia and Guam to the Philippines.
Through 500 Sails, he has taught future voyagers the craft of celestial navigation, traditional seafaring and respect for the nature.
In receiving the award, Raiukiulipiy thanked the Humanities Council for its support.
“The knowledge from our ancestors is important and we need to pass it on to our children. We need to preserve all the skills that we learned from our ancestors,” he said.
For his part, former Humanities Council Executive Director Scott Russell received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Humanities for his 41 years of service in the humanities as well as his contributions to the council and the community. After retiring from the council in September, Russell relocated to the states.
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, who was present at the awarding ceremony, encouraged people to “always go back to our roots — whether through publication, navigation, farming or promoting the local languages.”
He added “Every day it is harder to bring back our history and our heritage, and that’s why it is more important for us to prioritize their preservation and promotion.”
He congratulated the six awardees for helping preserve and promote local culture.