What does Hagan Guåhan even mean? Literally, it is Daughter of Guam. But how do you be a daughter of Guam?
Firstly, you must learn about and from i Nånan-måmi (our mother) Guåhan. Guåhan may be small, but it has a rich, unique history dating back 4000 years. I have barely scratched the surface in learning Guam and Chamoru history! Learning about our culture, island, and history is easier than you think and could be a phone call, a click, or a short stroll away. If you are still blessed with your grandparents, ask them to tell you stories about what life was like back then or ask them to teach you how to make chalakiles. If your uncle is a talayeru (fisherman), ask him to teach you. Open a Chamoru dictionary. Visit guampedia.com for anything Chamoru. We must learn all that we can before it fades away…
Secondly, you must love and respect our Mother. Our Chamoru people have always believed in ina’famaolek or making things better for everyone, kind of like living in harmony with each other, the land, the sea, and animals. Treat everything and everyone with respetu (respect). The land has eyes. Prutehi yan difende i hinengge, i kottura, i lenguåhi, i aire, i hanom, yan i tano Chamoru or protect and defend the beliefs, the culture the language, the air, the water, and the land of the Chamorus. Know in your heart and in your mind that this island is your home, and we must continue to take care of her like she has taken care of us for the past 4000 years.
And the final step in being Hagan Guåhan or a Låhen Guåhan (son of Guam) is to make our culture, traditions, practices, language, and ina’famåolek a part of your every day life.
If we could all see the importance of our cultural identity and the land that has been our home for the last 4000 years, maybe the language wouldn’t be fading… maybe the military wouldn’t own one third of OUR lands… maybe we would still know how to build galaides (canoes) and guma latte (latte houses) and navigate the oceans according to the stars… maybe who we are wouldn’t be such a mystery to us.
Si Yu’us Ma’åse