Active Trails: Åmot yan Nengkanno’
July 31, 2017
Pacific Historic Parks (PHP) has collaborated with the Department of Interior/Volunteers in Service to America (DOI/VISTA) to assist at-risk and underserved communities in our nation, with the mission of engaging the next generation in addressing the concerns and causes of poverty and protecting America’s natural resources, heritage and cultures. War in the Pacific National Historical Park (WAPA) in Guam serves as a sponsoring site for my position as this year’s DOI/VISTA member.
One of the most recent programs I led with WAPA’s Chief of Maintenance Theo Chargualaf was titled “Åmot yan Nengkanno’,” a Chamorro phrase meaning “medicine and food.” At the Asan Beach unit of WAPA, along the trails and walkways are found plant species that traditionally have been used for medicine (åmot) and food (nengkanno’). This program, held April 4-13, encouraged and educated our youth of the importance many plants hold for island cultural uses in food, medicine and the day-to-day lives of island people across the Pacific.
Program objectives included:
- Youth understood the importance of their history, traditions and culture with presentations by WAPA, PHP and community partners.
- Youth cultivated awareness on the amount of care and handling the park must ensure in order to properly preserve and conserve historical objects in cultural management that includes but is not limited to learning, inspiring, preserving and conserving.
- Youth understood the importance of community stewardship in natural and cultural resource management through science, history and culture.
This grant-funded program allowed for multiple partnerships with the community, bringing together participants from the Guam Department of Youth Affairs (DYA) Haya Youth Center with educators from Åmot Farm Inc. and nonprofit Pa’a Taotao Tano’.
The youth center’s mission is to “improve the quality of life on Guam for all people by development and implementation of programs and services that promote youth development, decrease juvenile delinquency and status offenses, strengthen the family unit and communities of these juvenile offenders, and protect the public.” Participants from the youth center benefited from the National Park Service’s goal of educating students about environmental stewardship, career opportunities and historical, cultural and traditional aspects of WAPA. The DYA youth worked alongside park rangers to learn about and how to maintain public lands.
Åmot Farm Inc. assisted in educating participants on traditional medicinal plants of Guam and other islands. Suruhana Bernice Nelson’s medicinal plant farm at Swamp Road, Dededo, Guam offers tours with a presentation on the cultural, traditional and medicinal plants/herbs. The farm’s mission is to protect and preserve Guam’s native medicinal plants and perpetuate the Chamorro tradition of healing.
Pa’a Taotao Tano’ is a nonprofit cultural organization with a mission to preserve, perpetuate and promote the cultural traditions of indigenous people of Guam and the Marianas through weaving, chanting and dancing.
PHP Education Coordinator Kina-Doreen Guzman Lewis gave an educational and informative presentation on invasive/native species on Guam, in partnership with the Guam Department of Agriculture’s Kontra I Kulepbla program. This program raises “public awareness of the problems associated with the brown tree snake and impacts on native birds and other wildlife, and the innovative approaches being applied to combat the invasive species.”
Thanks to your generous donations and support, PHP was able to provide lunch to our DYA Haya Youth Center participants during the Åmot yan Nengkanno’ program.