Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 17 Oct 2018 12am







    Tuesday, October 16, 2018-2:03:15P.M.






Font Size


Oral historian: ‘iTinaotao Marianas’ a good source for educating children about local history

ETHNOGRAPHER and oral historian Rlene Santos Steffy said “iTinaotao Marianas,” a documentary which she produced about the peopling of the Marianas, is a relevant source of historical information to educate the children so “they will be grounded in the knowledge of their own history.”

The Northern Marianas Humanities Council will launch the DVD version of “iTinaotao Marianas” at American Memorial Park on Oct. 24.

The documentary features collective perspective of scholars.

Rlene SteffyRlene Steffy

“For many years,” Steffy said, “I have watched the arrival of scholars from other places come to Guam or the NMI to present their research and findings about the history of the Mariana Islands, and I would contact them to interview. They agreed and I’d conduct in-depth interviews. It wasn’t one or two but all the historical events that occurred in the Marianas and Micronesia that I was interested in.”

She said there were people who made things up as they went along which made her doubt some of the historical accounts about the islands.

“It appeared to me that there may even have been a concerted effort to ‘fantasize,’ create and actually justify or, in some cases, even diminish the crimes committed in the past in the name of progress, justifying the means to an end, as in the case of Catholicism,” Steffy said. “I also saw a lot of slant, bias or make-believe in presenting historical events and I got tired of hearing it. I wanted to hear rational explanations for what had happened.”

This, she added, motivated her to interview individuals knowledgeable in history, geography, language, culture, archaeology, religion, government operations, business, cultural arts and economics.

Steffy said she talked with professional and qualified scholars addressing the rich history of the Marianas.

“I am confident that once a person spends time watching and listening to the half-hour episodes of ‘iTinaotao Marianas’ they will never be deer-eyed and confused about the history of the Marianas again,” she said.

“They will be better informed and able to engage in a meaningful conversation with whomever it is who wants to discuss the history of the Marianas with them — with full confidence that what they have learned is backed up by years of research, and flushed out in conversation with other scholars on the subject.”