Second cohort completes UOG traditional healing course

The Guam Green Growth Yo’åmte Project, in collaboration with the University of Guam College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, marked the success of its second traditional healing and medicine class for Fanuchånan 2023 with an awarding of certificates and an åmot presentation centered on the coconut.    


The Yo’åmte project, launched in 2022 at the Government House in Agana Heights, concentrates on promoting and preserving traditional medicine (åmot) and healing practices on Guam through apprenticeship, training, and outreach.    


“Congratulations on the successful completion of the second course in traditional healing and medicine at our university.

This milestone not only signifies academic achievement but also emphasizes your commitment to preserving island wisdom and traditional knowledge and healing practices,” said Anita Borja Enriquez, DBA, UOG president.  


Borja Enriquez added, “In nurturing the roots of traditional healing, our university becomes a guardian of cultural heritage, bridging the past with the present, and expanding our healthcare ecosystem.”   


Lourdes ‘Mama Lou’ Manglona, master Yo’åmte and project lead, facilitated the course CM394: Traditional Healing Practices on Guam.

The class focused on native plant species and their medicinal applications, spotlighting the art of åmot through student presentations and sampling.   


In total, fifteen participants and apprentices received certificates at the event.

As part of the process, they created table-top exhibits illustrating the diverse uses of the coconut—a tree central to CHamoru culture for its versatility in sustaining communities.   


“We use the coconut for food, medicine, clothing, arts, and everything; that’s why we used the coconut tree to highlight its significance,” Manglona explained.   


Austin Shelton, Ph.D., UOG Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant director, expressed the uniqueness of concluding the semester with a class driven by the Yo’åmte.

He commended Manglona and her apprentices for playing a vital role in the university’s commitment to promoting island wisdom.   


Shelton also acknowledged the support of current UOG President Anita Borja-Enriquez, DBA, and former president Thomas Krise, Ph.D., in incorporating the concept of island wisdom into the university’s strategic goals.    


He emphasized that UOG Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant programs collaborate with different university units to recognize and elevate island wisdom, perpetuating the understanding that it has always been present here on Guam.   


“Our people arrived here 3500 to 4000 years ago, long before Western Science approached the islands,” Shelton said.      


At the event, Manglona also shared her passion for teaching traditional medicine and healing, saying, “I enjoy sharing my knowledge with my apprentices.

I hope that they will carry this knowledge forward to teach and help other people.

This is one way to protect our indigenous heritage.”   

Before CM394, an inaugural class, CM294: Introduction to CHamoru Indigenous Health and Healing, was offered in 2022.

The development of the two courses received support from the CHamoru studies program, UOG Island Wisdom, G3, and the UOG Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant.

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