For centuries Palauans have been living in harmony with nature. Their daily lives are intertwined with the land and the sea. The birth of the first child is a highly significant event utilizing hundreds of plants for medicine, food, and body ornaments. Oral histories are conveyed through chants and legends which reveal the core Palauan value of respect 'omengull' that has built resilient communities over time.
Kesiamel [Osmoxylon trunctum] tree bear bright orange flowers which is used as part of headdress decoration for a young woman, the mlechell, going through the first birth ceremony. The headdress and body ornaments are very important part of the first birth ceremony. The headdress can consist of many flowers, plants, turtle shell, and bird feathers which has association to the mlechell's clan.
Co-Sponsors: U.S. National Park Service, Department of Interior; Bureau of Cultural and Historical Preservation/Palau Historical Preservation Office; Belau National Museum; Ministry of Community and Cultural Affairs
Photo Credit: Ann H. Kitalong, Meked Besebes, Sholeh Hanser, Ann K. Singeo, Patrick Tellei, and Faustina K. Rehuher-Marugg
Reviewers: Mrs. Olympia E. Morei-Remengesau (Director of Belau National Museum (BNM)); Ms. Sunny Ngirmang (Director of Bureau of Cultural and Historical Preservation/Palau Historical Preservation Office (BCHP)); Calvin Emesiochel (Deputy Director, BCHP) Ann H. Kitalong (Natural History, BNM); Naito Soaladoab (Botanist, BNM); Marciana Telmetang (Collections Manager, BNM; Kiblas Soaladaob (National Coordinator, SGP/GEF; Loyola Darius (Instructor, Palau Community College); Hermana Ramarui (Poet, Retired Educator)
Ditek el Dung er Uchob Chant by: Dirruchob Kloulechad
ICHCAP Online Exhibition Project Coordinator: Meked Besbes (Cultural Anthropologist/Ethnography, BCHP)