Public meeting for all traditional healers on November 21st at Department of Chamorro Affairs
Guam – The Department of Chamorro affairs is calling on all traditional healers to participate in a meeting about collecting medicinal plants on military bases. As part of the Navy’s programmatic agreement with the Guam State Historic Preservation office the military will be allowing suruhanu’s and suruhana’s to go on base and collect medicinal plants before certain areas of vegetation are cleared for the military buildup.
“Governor Calvo had expressed way back several years ago on the programmatic agreement that we need to preserve our culture and one of the items that he Governor Calvo referenced preserving was the healing arts tradition,” said Department of Chamorro Affairs President Joseph Cameron.
So as part of the 2011 programmatic agreement with the Guam State Historic Preservation Office for the Guam Military buildup, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Marianas will allow traditional natural healers, other knowledgeable herbal practitioners and artisans to collect plants on federal property prior to vegetation clearing associated with future military buildup projects. “The Chamorro healers under my department under my direction will have that opportunity to go into the base area to harvest or to get plants out for re-transplantation and those are great opportunities because we don’t have many plants necessarily that are always available and there is every reason to believe there are pristine areas that are within the other side of the fence that can be of great benefit to medicinal healers of Guam the suruhanu and the suruhana,” said Cameron.
Anyone who is interested in this is invited to attend a public meeting next week Friday November the 21st at the Department of Chamorro Affairs office on the first floor of the Terlaje building in Hagatna across from the legislature. “We welcome those who are interested do realize that in order to access the area you have to be a U.S. citizen and if there are folks out there of whom I know who are not U.S. citizens they can express the interest through somebody who is, they can probably help them out by harvesting and getting some of the medicinal plants for use as well,” said Cameron.
During the meeting NAVFAC officials will discuss some required safety training that will be necessary for access to sites that may have unexploded WWII ordnance. For more information you can contact the Department of Chamorro Affairs at 475-4278, the Guam Historic Resources Division at 475-6294, or the Joint Region Marianas Public Affairs Office at 349-4055.