Governor to designate land for medicinal plants

NATIVE MEDICINE WEEK: Gov. Ralph Torres poses with members of Åmut Natibu, staff and officials of the Indigenous Affairs Office, the Carolinian Affairs Office, the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and the Marianas Visitors Authority after the proclamation signing for Native Medicine Week. Lori Lyn C. Lirio/For The Guam Daily Post

SAIPAN – Gov. Ralph Torres said he will designate land on Saipan, Tinian and Rota for medicinal plants.

The governor made the announcement after signing a proclamation Monday designating Sept. 16 to 22 as Simånan Åmut Natibu/Sumwóólal Sáfeyal Falúw/Native Medicine Week.

As part of the weeklong celebration, the Indigenous Affairs Office and Inetnun Åmut yan Kutturan Natibu/Mwiischil Safey me Kkoor Aramasal Faluw will conduct presentations on medicinal plants and herbs at 4 p.m. Sept. 18 and 20, and from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 22 at the IAO office on Capital Hill.

In an interview, the governor said he believes in the effectiveness of traditional medicinal plants.

He said his parents made medicines out of plants they brought from Saipan to Boise, Idaho, when his family moved there.

"I think it is important for us to continue that tradition," the governor said. "And it is important to have people who are able to continue to provide that knowledge."

Åmut Natibu President Isidoro Cabrera said it was the first proclamation ever made related to the promotion of local medicinal plants and herbs.

"This proclamation is significant because it is a message to the community about the need to preserve local plants and herbs and the traditional healing process," Cabrera said.

He said they plan to reach out to schools in the next few months.

"We are still in the planning stage and are arranging a schedule for the school visits."