Håfa adai, or hello in my native CHamoru language. I’m a guest on the unceded lands of the Tongva people.
As the guardian of the Pasifika ancestors resting and the ancestors emerging at PIEAM, we are in the Indigenous practice of to take care of. Here is a brave space of possibility, suggesting new ways of building healing cultures of care, and to protect biodiversity. For a moment, let’s catch a ride on the Marshallese waves to the Carolinian skies. Here in this space, we do not practice the colonial preservation syndrome, which is equal to embalming.
We recognize our ancestor in the form of the sail—our relative of the pandanus tree. With the rising sea levels, may this place never be the last time myself, my children, my grandchildren, seven generations out, have to see their relatives of the pandanus tree, a coconut tree, a limestone, a kauri.
We work to ensure that Pacific Islanders are seen, empowered and united by being more than a museum. When Pasifika don’t feel seen anywhere else, they know their humanity will be honored here. We always say, “Ask permission, not of us, but of the ancestors, and grant yourself permission.” We listen deeply and develop the voices of artists through intergenerational mentorship, with sacred space for cultural keepers.
As one of our partners stated, PIEAM is a space that understands that cultural legacy is power and encourages artists to use this power in their daily practice. We use art as a tool for activism and expanding narratives. We believe that being united is not about sameness; it’s about acknowledging our multiplicities. We practice the Indigenous principles of reciprocity and respect. This we must do for all the little spirits on this human journey.
Saina ma’åse’ for receiving me.
Fran Nededog Lujan (CHamoru, Bittut clan)