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Home Inclusiveness Ignacio (Nash) Camacho
Interview with Ignacio (Nash) R. Camacho, Traditional Navigator
Ignacio (Nash) R. Camacho is a native CHamoru, born on the Pacific island Guam (Guahan), a US Territory in the Marianas Islands. He returned to live permanently after a long absence, having served in and retired from the United States Air Force. Although his military specialty was in Electronics Communication, he found a resurgence in political and social changes on his native island, prompting him to change his life course toward preservation of its indigenous cultural and natural resources. He is a 20 year member of the Volunteer Conservation Officer Program at Andersen Air Force Base, which, while gave him an active part in hunting and ungulate management for the preservation of critical habitat for endangered native flora and fauna. He became a subject matter expert on the many cultural sites throughout the base, and became a jungle guide for many scientific teams conducting research in anthropology and other disciplines. He was instrumental in the discovery and preservation efforts in the last of 14 extant Spanish-Era ovens, the final one located through his efforts at the air base.
He became a member of TASI (Traditions About Seafaring Islands), the oldest “Guma Sakman” (Canoe House), which had built a full scale “Flying Proa,” the first built by CHamorus on Guam since the practice was lost during Spanish Occupation. This Sakman, named Saina is the flagship of all outrigger sailing canoes on Guam. Apprenticing under the late “Pwo” (Master Navigator) Manny Sikau from Chuuk. Mr. Camacho has since become a Board Member of TASI, having refurbished and built several types of traditional outrigger canoes for training, sailing, as well as exhibit pieces. He has since become the principle Navigator for Saina. In embracing this new art, he has also expanded his teaching in building and sailing, as well as other aspects of cultural revival in history, language, and traditional arts. He facilitated the completion of the first CHamoru language Seafaring Lexicon as well as the inaugural Pacific Islands Canoe Summit. He was co-c hairman of Traditional Seafaring Discipline during the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts held on Guam in 2016. He also trained aboard an outrigger canoe built of modern materials after the traditional Sakman of the Marianas. This Sakman, the Ana Varu (named after one of the pillars of Heaven in Polynesia) was built in Northern Germany, where he trained aboard the ship in the Baltic Sea Region. The Ana Varu is part of the Rapa Nui Experiment, founded by world renowned circumnavigator Burghard Pieske to trace the migration of peoples from Asia through Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia, ending at Rapa Nui, Easter Island. Mr. Camacho was the Non-Instrument Traditional Navigator, who along with Pieske, were to sail the longest and oldest leg of Pacific migration from Taiwan to Guam. Due to 15 days of gale force winds, they managed to sail the same distance, but made landfall in the Republic of Palau.
Mr. Camacho continues to be active as a certified Guide for the US Fish and Wildlife Service Refuge at Ritidian Point, Guam, leading hundreds of guests through historic Pre-Latte Era village and Pictograph Cave tours. He is also a member of the new Guam and CHamoru Educational Facility/The Palomo Guam Museum Review Committee, as well as designer and builder for the Permanent Exhibit there.
He remains a staunch advocate for and mentor to the various groups promoting the preservation, protection, and use of the CHamoru language and all aspects of an accurate recounting of Guam’s 4000 year old history, and the traditions and culture of the Native Inhabitants of Guam. He is active in efforts to address the Decolonization, Political Self Determination of his Island and People.
How does what you do relate to historic preservation?
Why do you think historic preservation matters?
What courses do you recommend for students interested in this field?
Do you have a favorite preservation project? What about it made it special?
Can you tell us what you are working on right now?
How do you think the national historic preservation programs help your community?
Do you have advice for novice preservationists?
The ACHP’s mission is “preserving America’s heritage;” can you give us an example of how your community is preserving its heritage?
How does traditional craftsmanship play a role in historic preservation?
How does the continuation of traditional practices play a role in historic preservation?