Monday, August 11, 2008

Research & Education

Ike Cabrera had a good letter to the editor today. It was a response to an article in the Marianas Variety last Friday.
Another indigenous point of view

I read with distress the Friday article put forth by Herman Tudela and Oscar Rasa. The most important and first point that I want to make is that I do not feel that these people represent indigenous interests.

The second point I am interested in stressing to my indigenous brothers and sisters is that the concept set forth known as the Mariana Trench Marine Monument is a project of and for the people of the CNMI. The proposal that we will create together will include whatever interests we collectively believe to be important to our children’s future.

We have a choice to react with fear and keep doing things the same way, the way that got us to where we are today. Or we can join our public voice together in saying that we want something different. The government should be helping the people by providing the platform to allow us to help ourselves. The creation of a marine monument opens the doors to possibilities that we have yet to discover. We can approach this idea with an open mind and together create a list of suggestions for our leaders to discuss should the federal government decide to make an assessment of our concept for the Mariana Trench Marine Monument.

For the sake of peace and unity, I will agree with Rasa and Tudela on our culture’s relationship with the ocean and our people’s interest in preserving tradition and culture. Additionally, I would seek their agreement on the importance of education and the benefits for our youth that could materialize as a result of supporting the monument concept. Furthermore, I would seek to include both Chamorro and Carolinian interests. With an open mind, the possibilities are endless. What would you see on a "wish list?" Here are some of the ideas that I have come up with and am sharing with my friends and family.

For example, we could request that children of grade six or higher be provided the opportunity, with parental approval, to join a regularly scheduled educational boat trip to the islands. This trip’s focus could include a curriculum that focuses on cultural and traditional practices as well school curriculum ocean science.

The Northern Mariana College could benefit through multiple possibilities, including additional science programs, grants and other funding, research partnerships and foreign exchange student programs. NMC could also be the main contact for any other university research programs inquiring about the area preserved by the monument from anywhere in the world. Researchers interested in setting up a regular program could have to include certain and specific requirements that would benefit the education of our children at any level.

Another example that comes to mind is that we could implement a Carolinian cultural center where customs and practices could be shared both within our community and at discretion with public audiences. Perhaps it could be a part of the monument visitor center.

With national monument status, we could insist on additional Coast Guard protections, such as those afforded to other national monuments.

The most important message that I want people to know is that not everyone is against the monument and many supporters are afraid to speak up for fear of retribution. Some of us see the benefits for our children, especially in the areas of education and research, which is why I choose to promote this idea.

Ignacio Cabrera
Papago, Saipan

1 comment:

Dominic said...

I don't think PEW should stop what its doing. I hope they keep pushing their proposal whether or not Bush is in office. If PEW gives up I still would like to see as much spit and sweat about a future world world-class marine sanctuary monument by anybody in the future.

There should at least be a small camping site on one of the islands CLOSER to them than Saipan so that it would be easier to enjoy the new park!