Unique Non-Profit Combines Cultural Revival with Environmental Stewardship
The Chamorro people, the indigenous population of the Mariana Islands, are now scattered throughout the Pacific and the Western United States. Like so many cultures in a modernizing and shrinking globe, those of Chamorro descent risk losing awareness of the traditions of their ancestors. For the Chamorro, the sakman, a “flying proa” sailing canoe, once the fastest vessel on the seas, represents one of the best examples of the skills and accomplishments of their culture. The non-profit organization Chamorro Hands in Education Links Unity, or “CHE’LU,” based in San Diego, California, has undertaken the “Sakman Chamorro Project,” an effort to restore interest in the history, language, and culture of the Chamorros through the construction and demonstration of an authentic sakman sailing canoe.
In a long story involving Spanish invasion and the visiting British navy, Chamorros found themselves in possession of a centuries-old detailed drawing of a sakman, commissioned by a British officer fascinated with the fast sailing vessels and having captured a canoe while anchored offshore on the island of Tinian. The Sakman Chamorro Project was able to use the drawing to construct a replica of the flying proa, and they are now sailing and displaying the sakman around the Pacific, encouraging Chamorros and others to get involved in the restoration of Chamorro maritime traditions.
As if the revival of ancient sailing traditions weren’t enough, the Sakman Chamorro Project has also decided to adopt clean, zero-emission technology for their auxiliary propulsion system, required for maneuvering the large 47-foot canoe in and out of the numerous crowded harbors they are visiting for events and public displays. Project leaders worked with Torqeedo Inc., a leading producer of electric boat motors, and Ruckmarine, a California-based dealer, specializing in electric propulsion, to incorporate a Torqeedo electric outboard motor into the canoe for auxiliary propulsion. Ruckmarine and Torqeedo helped the non-profit organization acquire and design in a clean, quiet system that fits better with the traditional canoe concept than would a cumbersome gasoline-powered outboard motor.
The CHE’LU team is sailing the Sakman Chamorro canoe to cultural events throughout Southern California for the remainder of 2015, with plans to deliver the canoe to its “home” in the Marianas early in 2016. The Sakman Chamorro Project represents a unique approach to strengthening cultural identity, reviving and developing boat-building skills among today’s youth, and demonstrating environmental sensitivity. Readers are encouraged to learn more about the project and support the effort.
For information about CHE’LU and the Sakman Chamorro Project, visit www.chelusd.org/sakman.html or www.ruckmarine.com. To learn more about Torqeedo’s innovative line of green boating power solutions, visit www.torqeedo.com or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.
Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com