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Ha na Liliti i Kurason-hu as Litekyan

Hafa adai mañelu-hu yan mañaina-hu! Biba CHAMORU!!!

A few weekends ago, I went on the first tour open to the public for Guampedia to the rediscovered ancient latte sites in Litekyan (stirring place)–not Ritidian. Our ancestors named it Litekyan because it is where the eastern and western currents meet and form whirlpools. Indeed, Litekyan made my heart stir– Ha na liliti i kurason-hu as Litekyan. Litekyan is not only a cultural heritage site, but an official National Wildlife Refuge containing thousands of trongkon niyok and other indigenous plants, lush coral reefs, yan meggai na man aniti lokkue (and many spirits as well). The latte’ sites are unbelievable; many are still standing, surrounded by countless pottery shards, lusongs and lommoks, and other remnants of our ancestors’ lives. In fact, our ancestors still reside in Litekyan which some can feel upon entering i halom tano (the jungle). There are tours of Litekyan daily from 8-4pm that are absolutely free.

My experience in Litekyan was almost magical and definitely spiritual . I was in awe at how beautiful it was and the abundance of life, but a little disheartened at the small amount of trash I collected. Our hike was like a journey through time because we visited different sites of different eras. I almost couldn’t believe that these places were homes of my ancestors where they would cook and eat the food they caught and farmed, where they would talk to each other and tell stories, and carve lattes and lusongs. These latte’ sites are tangible links to our past and reminders of who we are that must be protected. The fact that they are so beautifully and naturally preserved, almost locked in time, reassured me that we aren’t going anywhere.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Litekyan. The U.S. government wants to take OUR culturally, historically, and environmentally rich WILDLIFE REFUGE to use for military training purposes. They already built a barb-wire fence around the premises! Do I even have to say what’s wrong with this??? Ha na lalalo yu! (It makes me so mad!) Like I said in In Dependence, when the government takes land, they take the best land as if they don’t have enough. The latte’ sites within those fences are OURS. If they take them, what will we have to show our future generations? They too will be further disconnected from our past than we already are.

Put fabot, hånao yan bisita fan Litekyan. Go on a tour, look around and experience the magic for yourself, and remember that everything there could be destroyed for military target practice, unless we do something about it.

Si Yu’us ma’åse pot i tinaitai-miyu.

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Hita i Tåsa 

Håfa Adai!

I have found a love in the art of photography over the past year and am striving to nurture and develop it. I feel that it’s about perspective, focus, depth, and emotion, all portrayed in a litråto (picture). This photo means a lot to me and was taken by my prima, who is a blogger herself (kadadiha.wordpress.com check her out fan).

The meaning behind this photo is…

The Åcho Latte were the bases of the Ancient Chamoru guma siha (houses/huts). The bottom part is called the haligi and looks like this:


And the top part or cap stone is called the tåsa and it looks like this:


Family and the home are so important to our culture, and the åcho lattes are what support them. This is our foundation, our rock. It’s a symbol of who we are.

I know this is a lengthy explanation, but please bear with me because I’m almost there!

The latte in my picture was taken at one of the beautiful beaches at Urunao. This latte possibly belonged to a high status Chamoru woman. It is old, but very much alive and standing. They have been standing since our ancestors put them up (if I’m not mistaken).

We have our haligi, our base. It is our elders, our traditions, our values, and our land. Our haligi still stands. Hågu, guåhu, hita, (you, me, us) i manelu, must be the tåsa. We must use our kannai siha (hands) to build up and hold up our guma again, our culture, ourselves.

We can do it. The lattes weren’t carved and placed overnight. It will take time and love, but using our hands, our brains, our hearts, and our connection to keep our culture and language alive is definitely possible.

Now please, tell me about your perspective on this photo…

 
Si Yu’us Ma’åse for reading!