GHC Gets Grant From Cultural Conservancy to Present Project at California Bioneers Conference in October

Blas organic herb farm (file photo)

Guam – The Guam Humanities Council was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from The Cultural Conservancy Mino-Niibi Fund for Indigenous Cultures.


The Mino-Niibi Fund is an international granting fund whose mission is to protect and promote the eco-cultural revitalization of indigenous cultures, knowledge, practices and landscapes in the Americas and the Pacific Rim.

The Council was one out of four awarded applicants, and the only organization from the United States to receive the grant from The Cultural Conservancy, a nonprofit organization located in San Francisco, California that works to protect and restore indigenous cultures, empowering them in the direct application of their traditional knowledge and practices on ancestral lands.

The grant will afford the Council the opportunity to present the project I Tano yan I Tasi, Land and Sea – Ecological Literacy on the US Pacific Island of Guam as part of the Indigenous Forum at the Bioneers Conference in California, in October 2013. The I Tano yan I Tasi project explores the important connections between food, health, culture and the environment in order to better “grow democracy.”

[Blas organic herb farm – participants pick organically grown culantro at the Blas family farm at a tour hosted by the Guam Humanities Council]

The Councilʼs involvement marks the first time that Guam will be represented in the Bioneers Conference, an internationally recognized event that attracts prestigious and noted international activists and scholars, and is broadcast throughout the country. Bioneers is a non-profit organization that highlights breakthrough solutions for restoring people and planet. Since 1990, Bioneers has served as a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with nature-inspired approaches to the worldʼs most pressing environmental and social challenges.

Executive Director Dr. Kimberlee Kihleng, expressed gratitude and enthusiasm for receiving the grant award, “We are honored to be selected to receive this award, and to be the only representative from a US territory and the larger nation. We are also humbled to represent Guam at such a prestigious event, as the Bioneers Conference, where we will be bringing international attention to issues in Guamʼs social, physical, and political landscape, and the unique challenges
for the survivorship of indigenous Chamorros.”


[(Ritidian) Native plant specialist Jenny Chargualaf Coffman and suruhana Abby Ceterza discuss useful plants at the Guam National Wildlife Refuge in Ritidian] 

The Council has presented several project programs, including two Food Democracy tours and Eat Your Heritage events, as well as a number of interpretive hikes, nature walks, farm tours, and film and discussion events that brought together science and humanities experts. The Council will provide a panel presentation on the project to discuss Guamʼs colonial history and the resilience of indigenous practices that promote ecological and cultural sustainability, as well as health and well-being on Guam. 

Panelists will include Executive Director Dr. Kimberlee Kihleng, Coordinator of Marketing and Programs Monaeka Flores, Mr. Bill McDonald, President of the Guam Farmers Cooperative Association and Chef Peter Duenas, owner of Meskla restaurants and President of the Micronesia Chefs Association. 

[ Chefs Paul Kerner, Peter Duenas, and Geoffrey Perez appear on stage with Native American chef and scholar Dr. Lois Ellen Frank and Chef Walterwhitewater at the Councils first Eat Your Heritage Eventi at the Hyatt Regency Guam.]

The delegation will also present to students and faculty of the American Indian Studies Department at San Francisco State University, attend a meeting with the Yoche Dehe Nation, participate in the Global Diversity Foundation workshop and contribute to a Native Food event at
the Indian Valley Organic Farm, where Chef Peter Duenas will be a featured chef.  

[Bill McDonald, President of the Guam Farmers Cooperative]

Mino-Niibi means “Good Water” in the Ojibwe language. The Fund provides money for projects in one or more of four strategic areas of focus: Community and Cultural Health, Sacred Land and Water Preservation, Cultural Arts and Media, and Regenerative Livelihoods.

The other awardees include organizations from Canada, New Zealand, and Paraguay.

The Guam Humanities Council is a non-profit organization that provides foundational support and educational programs for the people of Guam.

The mission of the Guam Humanities Council is to foster community engagement and dialogue, inspire critical thinking, celebrate diversity and enrich the quality of life of island residents through the power of the humanities.

For more information, please contact Monaeka Flores at 472-4461 or email