Marianas Variety

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    Monday, December 10, 2018-2:24:01A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

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Our Oceania | What does it mean to be Chamorro

THE following are two results from a Chamorro Diaspora Project online survey that continues to circulate on Facebook.

This survey, in addition to interviews conducted with Chamorros across the U.S. mainland and beyond, constitute the Chamorro Diaspora Project, an effort to collect the diverse stories and perspectives that together constitute the global Chamorro identity. 

Nathaniel Siguenza Bordallo Rigler

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Nathaniel Siguenza Bordallo Rigler

What is your age, where do you live, and where did you/your family live in the Marianas before you moved? When did you/your family leave the Marianas?

24. Currently living in New Zealand for university. My family is from Tumon. My mom left when she was four but kept returning until she was 18 ~1974. Most of my family still lives on Guam.

What's your favorite Chamorro food?

Bunelos dago.

What does it mean to you to be Chamorro? Do you value your cultural identity? Why or why not?

It means having a cultural background to connect to. I am very proud of my Chamorro heritage.

What aspects of Chamorro culture do you identify with? What aspects of Chamorro culture do you not identify with?

I identify with valuing family, matrilineal lines, and social reciprocity. I don't identify with militarism, American patriotism or church.

Do you (or do you plan to) raise your children to be Chamorro? How? Why?

Of course and it's a goal to learn to speak Chamorro before then.

How connected do you feel to what happens in the Marianas?

Very much but I don't know a lot of what goes on outside mainland news.

Do you think you would ever live in the Marianas? Why or why not?

I would like to move there to learn Chamorro.

Daniel Cespedes
(Blas family, Dero clan)

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Daniel Cespedes - Blas family, Dero clan

What is your age, where do you live, and where did you/your family live in the Marianas before you moved? When did you/your family leave the Marianas?

I am 26 years old, living in Corvallis, Oregon. I lived in Tanapag, Saipan in 2016; my greater family is primarily based around Barrigåda, Guåhan. My immediate family members live in western Oregon. My father and his family initially emigrated from Guåhan in the 1960s. I was born in the U.S. and first moved back to the Marianas at age 24.

What's your favorite Chamorro food?

Hineksa' aga'ga' yan fina'dene.

What does it mean to you to be Chamorro? Do you value your cultural identity? Why or why not?

To be Chamoru to me is to be informed by the indigenous traditions that were developed as a result of living on a western Pacific island for 4,000 years. It means to be in touch with your natural surroundings, to value and respect the family you have and the saina who have come before you. It is to live in harmony with the members of your village/community which includes the other species of our Pacific island environment, both above and below the sea. I will always value this cultural identity because I believe it is the reward of the lifestyle we embodied for millennia and is a lifestyle that will continue to allow us to thrive for ages to come.

What aspects of Chamorro culture do you identify with? What aspects of Chamorro culture do you not identify with?

I identify with all elements of Chamoru culture that are in harmony with the natural environment and that support the well-being of our native people. I do not identify with ideologies developed in the past century that are derivative of a Western capitalist approaches to land and resource management, most problematically the unquestioning support of the U.S. empire's military which routinely lays our environment to waste and toxifies our finite resources.

Do you (or do you plan to) raise your children to be Chamorro? How? Why?

If I raise children I will apply the same philosophies that were developed by our saina: to live in harmony with your natural environment, to be a supportive member of your family, and to be an active member of our local community. If I am fluent in Chamoru by the time I were to have children I will absolutely teach it to them.

How connected do you feel to what happens in the Marianas?

I feel very connected to what happens in the islands through what friends and family post on social media, and by what is published by news and media outlets on island. The negative implications of a hyper-militarized future in the Marianas affects me deeply.

Do you think you would ever live in the Marianas? Why or why not?

I would absolutely return to the Marianas when I feel I have become more accomplished and have more to offer. As it relates to my personal career objectives, I feel I stand to grow the most by exposing myself to new environments, unfamiliar variables, and by making new friends who come from completely different backgrounds than myself.