In spring of 1997, Mr. Emensio Eperiam, Deputy Chief of the HPCA, requested a Technical Assistant from the University of Oregon Micronesia and South Pacific Program to help his staff document the carving of the "Waka Siu," an indigenous Kapingamarangi canoe. I was the TA chosen to assist with this project and spent the summer of 1997 in Micronesia documenting the construction of this canoe.
Though my primary job was the canoe documentation, I also study indigenous architecture and therefore spent much of my free time in Micronesia exploring the built environment. Though most of my three months were spent on Pohnpei I was able to visit Kosrae, Kapingamarangi and Nukuoro where I examined both the indigenous pre-contact and the newer, western-influenced architecture of these tropical islands.
Pohnpei State Office of Historic Preservation and Cultural
The objective of the Pohnpei State Office of Historic Preservation and Cultural Affairs (HPCA) is to establish and maintain programs and facilities which will preserve the anthropological heritage of the people of Pohnpei State and encourage the continuation of their customs and traditions.
University of Oregon Micronesia and South Pacific Program
Since 1988, the University of Oregon Micronesia and South Pacific Program (MSPP) has provided technical assistance to the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and American Samoa. Experts in planning, education, resource management, public policy, architecture, and other fields provide technical assistance to agencies in these countries, helping them find solutions for emerging problems and tasks. During the three-month period of assistance, the Technical Assistant (TA) gains cross-cultural experience and transfers knowledge and skills to a local counterpart in the agency sponsoring the TA, helping the agency to become more independent from outside support.