Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum

Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum

PIEAM is more than a museum. It’s a cultural space that amplifies the wisdom of the Pacific Islands people of Oceania through rotating installations and living experiences. Our purpose is to connect the community to resources and foster intercultural exchanges with appreciation and respect. We recognize the unique kinship that

Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum

PIEAM is more than a museum. It’s a cultural space that amplifies the wisdom of the Pacific Islands people of Oceania through rotating installations and living experiences. Our purpose is to connect the community to resources and foster intercultural exchanges with appreciation and respect. We recognize the unique kinship that exists between ancestor pieces, people and their histories and the obligation that comes with this recognition. We envision and work towards a world where Pasifika ways of being are thriving and accessible to all of our people beyond our building. PIEAM is the only Pacific Islands museum in the continental US. Our priority is to ensure that how we share knowledge is in alignment with the multiplicities of the Pacific Islands people we serve. We recognize the value of our arts, cultural practices, and languages are intrinsically linked to the ongoing participation of her people. PIEAM was founded by Dr. Robert Gumbiner in 2009, and its current iteration is a reflection of the leadership of Fran Lujan, a gracious elder who’s affectionately referred to as Aunty Fran. When she became Museum Director in 2019, Aunty Fran worked diligently to build trust with local PI and other Indigenous leaders. It is one of PIEAM’s greatest successes that so many in the Pasifika community near and far consider it a home. PIEAM is fundamentally led by indigenous principles, particularly the CHamoru principle of inafa'maolek (making good, restoring harmony) which entails a reciprocal culture of respect, collaboration, and solidarity.

About the Organization:

PIEAM is more than a museum. It’s a cultural space that amplifies the wisdom of the Pacific Islands people of Oceania through rotating installations and living experiences. Our purpose is to connect the community to resources and foster intercultural exchanges with appreciation and respect. We recognize the unique kinship that exists between ancestor pieces, people and their histories and the obligation that comes with this recognition. We envision and work towards a world where Pasifika ways of being are thriving and accessible to all of our people beyond our building. PIEAM is the only Pacific Islands museum in the continental US. Our priority is to ensure that how we share knowledge is in alignment with the multiplicities of the Pacific Islands people we serve. We recognize the value of our arts, cultural practices, and languages are intrinsically linked to the ongoing participation of her people. PIEAM was founded by Dr. Robert Gumbiner in 2009, and its current iteration is a reflection of the leadership of Fran Lujan, a gracious elder who’s affectionately referred to as Aunty Fran. When she became Museum Director in 2019, Aunty Fran worked diligently to build trust with local PI and other Indigenous leaders. It is one of PIEAM’s greatest successes that so many in the Pasifika community near and far consider it a home. PIEAM is fundamentally led by indigenous principles, particularly the CHamoru principle of inafa'maolek (making good, restoring harmony) which entails a reciprocal culture of respect, collaboration, and solidarity.

organizational budget

$100,000 - $500,000

existence for

11-15 YEARS

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

National • Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • District of Columbia • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Idaho • Illinois • Indiana • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana • Maine • Maryland • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • Mississippi • Missouri • Montana • Nebraska • Nevada • New Hampshire • New Jersey • New Mexico • New York • North Carolina • North Dakota • Ohio • Oklahoma • Oregon • Pennsylvania • Puerto Rico • Rhode Island • South Carolina • South Dakota • Tennessee • Texas • Utah • Vermont • Virginia • Washington • West Virginia • Wisconsin • Wyoming

organizational budget

$100,000 - $500,000

existence for

11-15 YEARS

Organization benefits AAPIs residing in the following state(s):

National • Alabama • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas • California • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • District of Columbia • Florida • Georgia • Hawaii • Idaho • Illinois • Indiana • Iowa • Kansas • Kentucky • Louisiana • Maine • Maryland • Massachusetts • Michigan • Minnesota • Mississippi • Missouri • Montana • Nebraska • Nevada • New Hampshire • New Jersey • New Mexico • New York • North Carolina • North Dakota • Ohio • Oklahoma • Oregon • Pennsylvania • Puerto Rico • Rhode Island • South Carolina • South Dakota • Tennessee • Texas • Utah • Vermont • Virginia • Washington • West Virginia • Wisconsin • Wyoming

The Issue:

The deep seated impact of historical and continued colonization on the Pacific and the people of Oceania cannot be overstated. We have seen and lived the ways it produces severe health, economic, and educational inequities here in the US as well as the destruction of our ancestral lands and water from Bikini Atoll to Red Hill to the rising sea levels that are displacing thousands. A key component of colonization is the suppression of indigenous cultures which has led to a loss of traditions, languages, and stories. What remains of Pasifika cultures today is the result of centuries of resistance.

Despite being hypervisible and the recent proliferation of media about and in the Pacific, our communities still aren’t being authentically seen or heard. The narratives offered are limited and narrow, reducing us to vacation destinations, tourist attractions, and spectacles. These narratives promote the corruption of our cultures, consumption of our land and bodies– without protection for our people. At the crux of this issue is that the majority of these stories are not made by or for our PI communities.

This mis/underrepresentation is constantly reproduced in institutions and at decision making tables inevitably creating systems that aren’t designed to meet the needs of Pacific Islanders. Even spaces that purport PI inclusion have been complicit in our marginalization. We’d be remiss if we didn’t name how AAPI has become an issue for PIs because it’s so often a site of erasure and sometimes contradicts our indigenous principles. However, we continue to grapple and engage with the aggregate since it’s a mechanism through which resources and power are distributed.

The Solution:

Uno hit yan i tano’, i tasi, i guafi, yan i aire (We are one with the land, the ocean, the fire, and the air.)

PIEAM believes that culture is curative and culture keeping is an antidote to colonization. We reject museum models that posit artifacts and art as objects for display. Instead we treat them as relatives– ancestor pieces that we steward with great care. We understand the reciprocity that arises from this specific type of engagement where people transform the art with the stories they tell about it while it simultaneously changes them.

Programs and services advance our mission of an in-community institution and our dedication to uplifting narratives of diverse communities and combating erasure of traditional practices. We provide unrestricted access to PI artists/cultural practitioners to reclaim the power to construct their expansive narratives. In times of crisis, PIEAM acts as a hub, from collecting donations to aid Guam and Rota as they recover from Typhoon Mawar to advocating for community fundraising following the disastrous wildfires in Lahaina, Maui.

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