Sablan, Damian receive grants to help revive traditional Chamorro sailing

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Guam – The preservation of the Chamorro culture is on display–literally–at the Outrigger Lobby in Tumon.

A 14-foot sailing canoe built by local master weaver Phillip Sablan has been completed and is now on display as a demonstration of the Chamorro culture and heritage. Sablan was awarded a $9,500 federal grant through the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities to build the traditional sailing canoe using modern materials and technology.

Through the grant, Sablan also learned the fundamentals of sailing, mastered shunting techniques and developed skill levels to safely sail the canoe.

The purpose of the project is to reintroduce the two-man sailing canoe back into the local culture after the technique was lost centuries ago.

“Hopefully we laid the ground work for people or other artists who are pursuing the grants to either revive any form of cultural practice from the Chamorros but more importantly, if they are interested in building the canoes or fishing implements, then we can assist them in that way,” noted Sablan. “This was a very humbling experience. We did the two canoes and we’re excited and actually we’re just really thankful for the Guam CAHA, the Office of the Governor and we look forward to new adventures.”

Another grant was awarded to John Damian for $5,000 for his project titled “Replication and Revival of Deep-Sea Fishing Implements.”