National Park Service
Park Name photo: View of sunset from Likiep Atoll of the Marshall Islands.
Program History

Historic Preservation in the Freely Associated States of Micronesia

Since 1974 the HPF has been the primary source of funds for photo: Men's meeting house (pebaey) located in Yap of the FSM.government sponsored preservation work in Micronesia. It provides critical support for a variety of projects ranging from the development of national resource inventories and preservation legislation, to village based restorations of traditional sites and the audio-visual documentation of traditional practices.

The Freely Associated States also contribute limited funding for preservation, and local communities provide much in the way of labor and resources in kind. The importance of traditional heritage and identity is reflected in the constitutions of both the FSM and Palau, while the Marshall Islands have perhaps the most elaborate preservation legislation of the three nations.


From 1974 to 1985 the annual HPF grants administered by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) were given to the Territorial Historic Preservation Office which conducted archeological and historical projects throughout the TTPI. Much of that work was documented by the Micronesian Archaeological Survey report series (MAS) published by the former TTPI Historic Preservation Office and now published by the Historic Preservation Division of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
photo: Historic boundary marker  located in Kolonia, Pohnpei.

The TTPI Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service nominated 33 sites to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, five of which were listed as U.S. National Historic Landmarks. Most of these properties, like the German era Debrum House on Likiep Atoll in the Marshall Islands and the Japanese Artillery Road on Pohnpei in the FSM, represent colonical history. There are notable exceptions though, for example the megalithic residential complex of Leluh on Kosrae and the carved stone monoliths of Melekeok in Palau.

From 1986 to the present NPS has awarded individual HPF grants to each of the Freely Associated States and has helped to develp their Historic Preservation Offices. With one time additional funds from Congress, NPS and the Micronesian Endowment for Historic Preservation cooperated to carry out the Micronesian Resources Study (MRS). The MRS was designed to inventory archaeological and ethnographic resources and to provide training and material support to the new historic preservation offices. The 11 volume MRS report series published by NPS documented these projects.
photo: Historic preservation team working in a Kosrae forest of the FSM.

NPS also monitors grant activities and provides limited training in archeology, ethnography, and grant administration. It ensures that at least one historic preservation staff member of each nation, typically an archaeologist, meets the U.S. Secretary of the Interior's professional qualification standards. Palau currently has one cultural anthropologist as well as an archaeologist. Under the general supervision of their HPOs, paraprofessional staff work closely with their archeolgist or cultural anthropologist. In the FSM the paraprofessional staff work independently most of the time since the archeologist must rotate among each of the four States of Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk (Truk), and Yap. In addition to the FSM National Historic Preservation Officer, each of the four FSM States has its own State HPO. National and State HPOs also cooperate with and monitor outside researchers.

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