Nahnsehleng Maritime Center
The Nahnsehleng Maritime Center, a division of the Pohnpei State Office of Historic Preservation and Cultural Affairs, was established in 1996. The mission of the Center is to serve as a repository and curation facility for Pohnpei State's canoes, safeguarding information, documenting canoe building skills and other Pohnpei maritime traditions. The Center also serves as an educational resource and visitor attraction for the State of Pohnpei.
Pohnpei State Office of Historic Preservation
and Cultural Affairs
The objective of the Pohnpei State Office of Historic Preservation and Cultural Affairs (HPCA) is the establishment and maintenance of 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
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 and Western Samoa. Experts in planning, education, resource management, public policy, architecture, historic preservation 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.
The Kapingamarangi Community
The people of Kapingamarangi are from the atoll that bears their name. Though they are part of the Federated States of Micronesia, their atoll being one of the outer islands of Pohnpei State, they are in fact Polynesian. They maintain a close knit community, are excellent fishermen and are respected for their beautiful carvings, weavings and other finely crafted functional art.
|Kapingamarangi, also known as Greenwich Island, since World War II a part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands under the jurisdiction of the United States, is a tiny atoll breaking the surface of the sea in the vast stretch of ocean between the long chain of small islands of Micronesia to the north, and the great chain of large and small islands of Melanesia to the south. It is the most remote inhabited island in the tropical western Pacific. What makes it of exceptional interest is that its inhabitants are neither Micronesians nor Melanesians, but descendants of Polynesian castaways who drifted here centuries ago from Polynesia, 1,500 miles to the east. Also, these Polynesians are of unusual interest because they have retained to a considerable extent their ancient way of life, which adapts them admirably to each other and to their extremely limited and specialized environment. All of the land upon which the 500 inhabitants subsist, if arranged in a square 5 feet above sea level, would amount to only .4 of a square mile. Yet from these 260 acres and the surrounding waters, the people are able to provide themselves with all that they need for a comfortable, healthy life. (Emory, 1965, p1)|
Today the roughly 2,000 people that make up the community of Kapingamarangi are divided into two almost equal groups. Half of the population lives on the atoll that bears their name and most of the second half are now residing in Porakiet, a village on the island of Pohnpei. The two homes of the Kapingamarangi are separated by about 420 Pacific Ocean nautical miles. For most people, the only physical tie between the two populations is the "M.S. Micro Glory." The FSM fieldtrip ship is scheduled to visit the atoll once a month, but the visit rarely takes place that often. This ship is also responsible for cargo deliveries, general food supplies, fuel for cooking and gasoline for fishing. Copra, pigs and handcrafts are the only export of the atoll. There is no telephone access to the atoll, though there is a Peacesat station that allows a free and usually consistent means of communication. Remarkably, given the difficulties of access and communication, the Kapingamarangi still consider themselves one community.
The quality of life varies greatly at the two locations. Life on the atoll follows a slower, more traditional pace. Life on Pohnpei allows most of the conveniences of the 20th century: jet planes, automobiles, cable television, video rental, internet access, multiple grocery stores, and so on. Where cash is almost unnecessary for those living on the atoll, it has become a part of everyday life for the Kapingamarangi living on Pohnpei. The Chief Magistrate of Kapingamarangi, Andrew Lucky, lives on the atoll which is considered to be the center of the community government. Regarding matters more specific to Porakiet while Andrew Lucky is off Pohnpei, Yuda Bahingai, is Acting Cheif.