TRADITIONAL CANOES ARRIVE IN KOROR

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By Agnes M. Abrau

KOROR (Palau Horizon) — The two traditional canoes from Ngchesar arrived in Koror’s T-Dock last June 22, after hours of sea voyage from the state.

Paramount Chief Ibedul Yutaka Gibbons welcomed the arrival of the canoes along with the state officials, traditional chiefs, Gov. Florencio Adelbai, board of trustees and staff of Belau National Museum and a crowd of community members from Ngchesar and other states.

The arrival of canoes in Koror was delayed due to bad weather; nonetheless its arrival was greeted by the crowd with applause who waited longer than expected for their arrival. Earlier on Tuesday morning, a launching ceremony for the traditional canoes was held in Ngchesar.

Gibbons, in welcoming the canoes, said the arrival of canoes shows that culture is still continuing and lauded the state’s master builders and officials for continuing the transfer of knowledge to the young people.

Faustina Rehuher, Belau National Museum director, said the canoes would be displayed at the newly-constructed museum as part of its historical display of traditional arts and architecture.

The traditional canoes from Ngchesar comprise of a sailing canoe (kaeb) and another a war canoe (kabekl), were polished, carved and expertly strewn together using indigenous materials including an old durable wood known as ukall. The canoes were built by the state’s master builders who have gained respect and authority in building canoes in the country.

The construction of the canoes took almost two months to complete. Ngchesar was known to have built the first traditional canoe in the olden days.

June 29, 2004

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