Considered an authoritative reference on Palau traditions
By: L.N. Reklai
December 4, 2017 (Koror, Palau) Seven years, seven volumes, over 1000 pages, the translation of Kraemer’s Volumes from German to English about the life and culture of Palau in 1908 to 1909 is finally completed. Volumes were unveiled last night at Ngaramayong Cultural Center during the 20th Anniversary Palau-German diplomatic relationship reception hosted by Federal Republic of Germany. [restrict]
“When I first returned from law school and did my research, I found out the U.S. government had translated a specific section of Kraemer’s book that explained Palau’s traditional political hierarchy and already knew who to deal with and that’s how they manage to take control and organize the Palau government,” stated former President Johnson Toribiong of the significance and importance of Kramer’s books.
Vice President Raynold Oilouch declared, “These volumes provide a clear picture of Palau as it existed in 1900’s, written by non-Palauans and therefore had no opinions or biases on what they saw and recorded. They are of great value to the legal community as well as great asset for education.”
“Information found in Augustin Kraemer’s work provides valuable insight into the ways in which German authority interacted with Palauan customs of traditional ownership and land usage. Once translated, I foresee it becoming an invaluable tool to aid the Judiciary in the proper and efficient resolution of these kinds of land disputes,” stated Chief Justice Ngirakelsong in his letter of support for the project.
Five of the seven volumes are based on Palau’s main islands and the last two volumes are based on Southwest islands.
The volumes includes descriptions and illustrations of Palau’s material culture, oral histories, political structures, symbols and others that part of life in Palau in 1909.
The project to translate Kramer’s books began during former President Toribiong’s administration with funding from Federal Republic of Germany.
Second Phase continued under President Remengesau, funded by the Office of the President, UNESCO and the appropriation from the 9th OEK.
Kraemer Ethnography Translation Committee, local reviewers, Ministry of Community of Cultural Affairs and consultants worked for 7 years to translate the 7 volumes.
Dr. Augustin Kraemer and his wife Elizabeth Kraemer were members of the Southseas Expedition funded by Hamburg Museum of Ethnology to conduct an ethnographic expedition in 1909 to 1910.
From this expedition, they were able to publish five volumes on Palau and 2 on Southwest Islands. The overall cost of the expedition then was about $144,221 dollars which in today’s term, would be over $3 million dollars.
Books are available for order at the Belau National Museum. Seven volumes costs $175 and a CD is $12.50.
The importance of continuing to collect, review, promote and publish the information relating to Kraemer’s books is expressed by President Remengesau Jr. in signing an executive order 407, refocusing the life of Palau Kraemer Ethnography Translation Committee yesterday December 4, 2017. [/restrict]