The Palau Council of Chiefs signed the Kerradel Declaration at its third state meeting held at BaiChelab in Ngaraard State on April 19, 2023.
Since the first meeting of Palau traditional chiefs in Koror, the Palau Council of Chiefs has held meetings in different states to listen to and discuss issues and traditional matters.
The Kerradel Declaration affirmed the role of the traditional leaders in the national Constitution and the authority of the traditional law, not to conflict with the Palau Constitution.
Sixteen (16) declarations within the Kerradel Declaration included continued maintenance and promotion of the Palauan customs and traditions. The Declaration also expressed the chiefs’ concern over the disputes among families and clans over chiefly titles and women titles that were dividing families and clans.
The chiefs emphasized the importance of unity among families and clans and the maintenance of the cultural practice of “peace, respect, support and caring for one another.”
The Council of Chiefs, through the Declaration, urges clans and families to talk amongst themselves and resolve disputes rather than going to court.
“Our culture and traditions ensure that no one is left behind, and we must hold on to these underlying principles,” states the Declaration.
Additionally, the Declaration underscores the importance of language as part of the culture and identity of Palauans and encourages teaching and speaking the Palauan language. “We can not say we are Palauans and distinguish ourselves from other people if we cannot speak our own Palauan language.”
The Declaration also acknowledged that a healthy way of life depends on a healthy ocean and land resources that provide for families.
It calls on the national government, state governments, traditional leaders, and Palauans “to protect, conserve and sustain our ocean and land resources for our sustainable livelihoods and the next generations to come,” pushing for the maintenance of the PAN programs and the integrity of the PNMS 80% No Take Zone.
It also calls for reducing dependence on fossil fuels and promotes renewable energy to address the rising cost of living.
The Declaration also called for the strengthening of the community groups, “eldebechel”, traditional groups, youth groups, and others, for them to collaborate through community volunteer work to keep peace and order and support families and communities.
Furthermore, it calls for the practice and application of respect, obedience, and honor in the communities and between families. “Where appropriate and especially regarding young people and adolescent youth, traditional methods to make amends and resolve conflicts, settle disputes and instill forgiveness, respect, and remedies, maybe a better system of justice or complementary to ensure a better outcome or second chance in life.”
It calls for the traditional chiefs in their respective villages to apply the same process to resolve conflicts.
Lastly, the Declaration urges the chiefs of various states to work with national and state governments to educate the children on the proper role of the chiefs and the customary way of life in Palau.