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Faustina Rehuher-Marugg Appointed as Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs by ROP President

Minister Faustina Rehuher-Marugg takes an oath in front of Palauan officials and traditional leaders. Faustina Rehuher-Marugg, BNM director 1979-2009, is the new Minister of Community and Cultural Affaris. President Johnson Toribiong nominated Mrs. Rehuher-Marugg and in a unanimous vote by House of Senate received a 13 in favor and 0 in opposition. Sitting before the House of Senate, Mrs. Rehuher-Marugg delivered an impressive performance of her knowledge about the Palauan culture, history, culture management, and its significance for today and future survival of Palauan identity. Moreover she demonstrated her extensive network and role in Pacific Island museums, academia, and other regional and international organizations such as ICOMOS Pasifica and UNESCO Pacific. BNM board of trustee and staff thanks her and wish her good luck at her new post as Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs.

New BNM Director: Olympia Esel Morei

Director Olympia Esel MoreiThe recent appointment of Faustina Rehuher-Marugg as Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs left a vacancy for BNM directorship. After much deliberation and screening the Board of Trustees selected Olympia E. Morei, formerly BNM Administrative Officer, as BNM new director. Direcotr Morei assumed the position on June 1, 2009. She has 25 years experience at Belau National Museum. Direcotr Morei has broad experiences in museum and art management, cultural festivals, Palauan culture, public relations, and media.

Research Librarian attends Leadership for Pacific Libraries in Pohnpei

PREL Leadership for Pacific Libraries participants at COM-Pohnpei Sandy Fernandez, BNM Research Librarian, spent three weeks April 2009 in Pohnpei for PREL (Pacific Resource for Education and Learning) training. The training was focused on GREENSTONE, database software developed in New Zealand.

BNM Co-Organized First Pacific Archaeology Conference in Palau and Micronesia Archaeology Exhibit

Photo (top, sitting left to right): Dr. Rufino Mauricio, ICOMOS Pacifica; James Dion, National Geographic Society; Madrangebuked Thomas Remengesau, Ngaraard High Chief; Ngirakebou Roman Bedor, Ngchesar High Chief; Honorable President Johnson Toribiong; Dr. Patrick Nunn, University of South Pacific-Fiji; Clair Smith, President-World Archaeological Congress; Honorable Senator Kathy Kesolei; Diraii Yosko Ngiratumerang, Aimeliik Historian; and Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs Faustina K. Rehuher-Marugg. Conference presenters and participants are at the back. The conference - Pacific Island Archaeology in the 21st Century: Relevance and Engagement - examines how natural and cultural heritage studies and archaeology are relevant to the sociopolitical, economic, and environmental challenges facing contemporary and future societies in Pacific islands. From July 1-3, 2009 participant from all over the Pacific came to share their work and perspectives on archaeology and its relation to island heritage. President Toribiong opened the conference by echoing every child's curiosity of where he/she comes from, emphasizing the need of search for ones identity and how this conference was timely in Palau and in the Pacific. Over the three day conference presenters presented on various topics related to archaeology, heritage, tourism, culture management, and their relevance and engagement to contemporary Pacific. In honor of the Pacific Island Archaeology conference the Belau National Museum launched a new exhibit titled Micronesia Archaeology. The exhibit is an educational exhibit aiming to introduce island in Micronesia and their heritage to a local residents and visitors. The exhibit opening was in simultaneous with the conference reception which was held at the museum ground on July 01, 2009. Photo (top, left to right): Kiblas Soaladaob (Graduate Student, University of Canterbury-NZ); Ralph Regenvanu (Vanuatu Cultural Center); Olympia Morei (Belau National Museum Director); Sagale Buadromo (Fiji Museum Director); Anthony Ramirez (Guam Museum Administrator) at Pacific Archaeology Conference Banquet. Photo (top, sitting left to right): BNM Board of Trustees members Eriko Singeo and Lydia Charles at the opening of Micronesia Archaeology Exhibition.

U.S. National Congressman Spouse visit Belau National Museum

Photo (top): Mrs. Billye Brown (third from left); First Lady Valeria Toribiong (middle); Minister Faustina Rehuher-Marugg (fourth from right); Mrs. Antonina Hinanui Hunkin (second from left); and BNM Director Olympia E. Morei (right). On August 08, 2009, First Lady Valeria Toribiong led two U.S. congress spouses on a visit to Belau National Museum. Mrs. Billye Brown, spouse of Representative Henry Brown Republican Congressman from South Carolina and Mrs. Antonina Hinanui Hunkin, spouse of Democratic Delegate from American Samoa, got a glimpse of Palau history and rich natural and cultural heritage through the guidance of Minister of Community and Cultural Affairs Faustina Rehuher-Marugg (former BNM Director). Before leaving the museum ground, the two guest of honor witnessed a Palau men's group perform a traditional men's dance in front of BNM Bai ra Ngesechel a Cherechar, meeting house. Photo (top): Ngardmau traditional men's dance group performing at Bai ra Ngesechel a Cherechar.

President Johnson Toribiong Signs Palau Language Commission into Law

In a historic moment in Palau history, President Johnson Toribiong signed the Palau Language Commission (RPPL No. 8-7) into law on August 18, 2009 at the Capitol Building in Ngerulmud, Melekeok. The bill was authored by Honorable Senator Kathy Kesolei, Senator Regina Mesebeluu, Senator Regis Akitaya, and Senator Joel Toribioing. The bill is to create a commission to establish Palauan Orthography or the way the Palauan language is written and spelled. Furthermore the commission is tasked to create a uniform spelling of Palauan words and to set rules for Palauan grammar and usage. In a letter to Senate President Senator Mlib Tmetuchl, President Toribiong praises the bill and says "…language is like a roadmap of our culture. It tells you where our people came from and where we are going. Without language there would be no laws. Without language we would not know our past and we would have no future. We would be like rudderless canoe afloat on the ocean allowing the currents and winds to take us wherever they deigned. With language we know ourselves and we have control of our destiny (Toribiong 8/18/09 Serial No. 09-468)."