Heres a really cool and key article about our people and the Soul of Guam…
I (recently) attended an AFLAC insurance function at the Westin Resort. A Chamorro dance company performed for us. The spokesman for the dance company made closing remarks on his aspirations to continue performing for the preservation and promotion of our Chamorro culture.
A couple of days later, I went shopping at Kmart. I entered the store at the door marked “entrance.” Directly ahead of me was a group of about eight teenagers leaving the store. They showed no sign of yielding a small pathway for me to complete my entry because most of them had their heads buried in their video games or were texting while walking. I yielded to them and made my way toward the outside edge of the group to let them pass. I bumped the arm of a girl who was engrossed with her electronic device. I looked back to confirm I did not knock her down and she was upright and fine.
I also noticed that she gave me hard looks (atan baba) for the bumping incident, which I did not appreciate.
I’m in my 60s and I felt disrespected by this young girl. I also feel she disrespected the cultural preservation efforts of those who performed (at that function), as well as the efforts of others who are also engaging in Chamorro cultural preservation in other formats and mediums.
I pondered this experience further and concluded that the dance performance I previously witnessed may not be conveying the true spirit of our original culture.
Chamorro cultural preservation efforts must take on more than how we dressed, danced and spoke in the past. Our preservation efforts today must be to instill good character traits and values into our children, as our ancient forefathers did.
Our ancient fathers embraced the traits of respect among many other good values. They understood it to be vital to the survival of the culture. They understood it prevented self-destruction by anarchy from within. They knew it would keep us strong and blessed, even in our conquest by outside forces and influences. They knew that respect for others would produce the “good fruit” to perpetuate the true spirit of the Chamorro culture. They lived it and passed it on to generations forward.
We too must live it today.
My experience at Kmart tells me that we may have been producing bad fruit in the last few generations. The experience also told me that our culture cannot be respected by others because they fail to be impacted by its true spirit. Disrespect within us Chamorros will breed a personal disrespect from within for our own culture. Our language and all our dancing, chanting, history would be deemed valueless and not much more than interesting entertainment.
If all cultures bring forth “good fruit,” world peace might evolve.
Let’s get back to the true spirit of our ancient roots. Start right now with your generation. I’m not against tribal tattoos and our necklaces or pony tails, dancing and chanting. Focusing only on these things alone will cause us to fall short of our preservation goal.
Thomas Garrido is a resident of Leyang, Barrigada.