Biba M̶e̶s̶ Chamoru!

Buenas Mañelus!

Måtsu (March) was declared Chamoru Heritage Month by the government since 19 forgotten. Many schools, government agencies,  and hopefully companies are hosting various activities to celebrate our culture and heritage. Although this month is a great way for Chamorus and Guamanians to recognize and appreciate all things Chamoru, I feel that this shouldn’t be done one month a year, but year-round and every single day.Our cultures should be who we are and permeate  our everyday lives. If we only recognize our roots one month a year, who are we the remaining 11?

I have been learning a lot in my History of Guåhan course at the university. One thing that interests me the most is how our culture and language survived about 348 years (and counting) of colonialism. The Spanish colonized us in 1668 upon the arrival of Padre Luis San Vitores. He successfully converted all of the Chamorus from our ancient animistic religion and beliefs in Puntan and Fu’una to Catholicism. The Chamoru population was decimated by 80 percent in 30 years as a result of disease and the Chamoru-Spanish War. Many families’ lands that were passed on to them from their families was taken from them. The Japanese and Americans forced us to learn their languages and abandon our own. The American government even threatens our Chamoru identity with Guamanian, as if we aren’t really a people. With these rapid, traumatic changes throughout the years, the perpetuation of our culture and values and use of our language is significant evidence of our strength as a people.

Remember, we are the keepers, the sacred vessels of our culture. If we don’t pass it on, it will cease to exist. Our culture is changing because times are rapidly changing, but what we have been through and learned in the past can help guide us through whatever the future holds. So this mes Chamoru and on, let’s reconnect and stay connected. Let’s appreciate and protect what we have to pass on to future generations. BIBA CHAMORU, MANTAOTAO TÅNO!

Si Yu’us Ma’åse for reading.

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