Pacific Islander Culture, History to be Explored at Jan. 24 Studium

The indigenous history and culture of the Pacific Islands will be explored at Peninsula College’s January 24 Studium Generale in a program entitled “Paseifika: First Peoples of the Blue Continent.” The free program will begin at 12:35 pm in the Little Theater on the main campus.

The presenters are Michael Tun’cap and Carmen Ramento from the Pacific Islander Studies Institute. In their presentation, they will look at concepts of traditional knowledge as a means to address social inequalities facing Micronesians, Melanesians and Polynesians in the Northwest. 

The two specialize in helping people to increase their understanding of recent social movements for indigenous health, language preservation,  and cultural immersion centered in the Pacific Islander ways of knowing.

Tun’cap was born in the village of Aniguak, Guam, and raised in Tacoma, Washington. Ramento was born in Anchorage, Alaska, and has cultural roots in Kaneohe, Hawaii, and Cebu. 

Tun’cap was the founding Director of the Pacific Islander Student Commission at UW Seattle in 2000 and received his degree in 2002. He earned his M.A in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley in 2005 and is currently completing his Ph.D. From 2008 to 2010, he served as Chair of the Guam Delegation to the United Nations where his testimony and research focused on race, health and diasporic movements in indigenous communities. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Asia Pacific Cultural Center and the Multicultural Services Directors Council for Washington state and is also the Director of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs at Green River Community College. 

Ramento is a Peer Health Educator for the Puget Sound Educational Service District, providing health and wellness education to low-income families. She is pursuing a Medical Assistant Certificate and BA degree in Public Administration at The Evergreen State College. She has taught Health & Hawaiian Studies at the annual Washington State Students of Color Conference since 2007 and was selected to represent the state of Washington at the 2011 National Pacific American Leadership Institute in Oahu, Hawaii. She currently serves as the Assistant Treasurer for the Northwest Association of Pacific Americans and volunteers for the Samoan National Nurses Association of Washington.