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Last updateThu, 21 Nov 2019 12am

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    Wednesday, November 20, 2019-10:34:24A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Promoting Chamorro culture through Guma’ Higai

A RIBBON-CUTTING ceremony was held for the Guma’ Higai, a traditional Chamorro house, on Nov. 7 at the Civic Center in Susupe to promote Chamorro culture.

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Eusebio Borja, front row, third left, poses with his family members on Thursday at the Guma’ Higai in Susupe.  Photos by Dads Maluyo

CNMI Master of Arts and Culture Eusebio Borja started building the traditional Chamorro house in August with his family.

“I’m very happy to show to the community that this was what we were using way back in the 1800s,” he added.

Last month, he noted, two typhoons passed north of Saipan. “But thank God the hut was spared from destruction — reconstructing it will be expensive and we don’t have enough leaves.”

Building the hut was not easy especially during the rainy season, Borja said.

“We did this by hand. Whenever it rained, it was hard to climb a tree, which could be very slippery, especially a coconut tree. Then you had to bring the materials [to the Civic Center], and you had to buy rope — everything was not easy.”

He said the Guma’ Higai is open to local community members who want to celebrate anything.

“They just need to contact the Indigenous Affairs Office to schedule the event,” he added. Call 664-2664 for more information.

Borja reminded the local community to take care of the hut and to clean it every time they use it.

He said he and his family are planning to build more traditional huts on Saipan in the near future.

On Thursday, to memorialize the first Guma’ Higai they built, Borja and his family received a certificate of recognition from IAO Executive Director Roman M. Tudela Jr. of the Indigenous Affairs Office, and Isidoro T. Cabrera, president of the Association of Native Medicine and Culture or Inetnon Åmot Yan Kutturan Natibu.