The legacy of late author, historian, and long-time Northern Marianas College instructor Samuel F. McPhetres was in the spotlight yesterday morning at the NMC Archives Building O, with an exhibition of his collection of work.
NMC presented a plaque of appreciation to McPhetres’ family in an event that showcased his co-authorship of two books: History of Palau, and a civics textbook titled Citizenship and Self-Government in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Acting governor David M. Apatang, NMC president Galvin Deleon Guerrero, Ed.D., members of the 23rd CNMI Legislature, NMC faculty, staff, and students joined in celebrating the life and accomplishments of McPhetres.
The event was emceed by CNMI Archivist Ray Muna who, along with the help of many others, compiled the work of McPhetres and presented the plaque to his family.
“Preserving the historical work of Mr. Samuel Frederick McPhetres is truly important and your commitment as an institution to higher learning brings comfort in assuring that his work will be safe in the hands and custody of the Northern Marianas Archives Office here in NMC. The historical records that Mr. McPhetres saved in his lifetime will remain his legacy to us,” said Apatang in his remarks.
Deleon Guerrero said that McPhetres not only chronicled CNMI history, but also that of Micronesia.
“In this collection, you’re going to see not just article clippings and research that he did, but also his personal observations. …That’s the legacy he leaves behind and we are honored to help honor that legacy with this collection.”
He added that he made a promise to Sam Jr. that they will honor his father’s legacy and that “when I think of how we the living honor the legacy of the past, it’s all about fulfilling promises that we make. …I implore all of you that the way we honor the legacy of the past, the way we honor the legacy of our shared history is by fulfilling those promises to the people that have come before us so that we can pave the way for the people that come after us.”
Samuel McPhetres Jr. thanked everyone who made the event possible and shared some stories of his father’s life of travel before he finally settled on Saipan and made it his home. He was joined by his mother and the first president of NMC, Agnes McPhetres, along with family members Janice McPhetres and Janice McPhetres in receiving his father’s plaque of appreciation from NMC.
Agnes McPhetres said that she feels “very happy that it happened because I know that he has most of the records not just for the CNMI but also for all Micronesia when we were moving from the Trust Territory Government to become autonomous. So [by] not keeping them together, we will have lost a huge history in our place.”
With the McPhetres collection, “our students or future students will be able to do research and know how we came about…,” she added.
Muña, who has been the CNMI Archivist for the past 13 months, said, “It’s important to have these records because it’s about preserving the past and the future. The future generations need to know about what happened in the past. …The digital era back then wasn’t as advanced as it is right now, so all we have are paper records. So, it’s really important to preserve it, and it also aligns well with Historic Preservation Month— ‘people saving places.’ This is a clear example of Sam McPhetres’ records saving the CNMI, documenting everything—political status, immigration here in the CNMI, Micronesia, and in the Pacific.”