Marianas Variety

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    Monday, May 21, 2018-7:45:22P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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‘Taotao Saipan’

I AM a local woman and also an instructor at  Northern Marianas College.  I am writing this letter in my private capacity as a “taotao Saipan” — a native person of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Today there is more information about our part of the Pacific, and more indigenous people are writing about our home islands and cultures.  The old books about the Mariana Islands refer to our islands as Islas Ladrones, the Spanish term for Islands of Thieves, given by the early Spanish explorers.

Nobody knows for sure who first stole from whom — the Europeans or the native islanders.  Our ancestors may have stolen from the ships of those early Spanish explorers, after the Europeans first helped themselves to our islands.  Remember, those ships had been sailing the seas for months and months before they sighted our islands.

The history books say the white settlers in New York paid the Native Americans trinkets for the island of Manhattan.  Who are the real thieves in that historical event?  Also when the Europeans settled in western United States, the U.S. government made treaties with Native American tribes only to break those treaties later so that more European settlers could establish homesteads and ranches.  Again, who are the real thieves in that piece of American history?

So before visitors to our islands call us the Islas Ladrones, I suggest you examine your own history first.

GUADALUPE C. BORJA-ROBINSON
Sadog Tasi, Saipan