By Nazario Rodriguez Jr.
Local activist group Taotao Tano CNMI Inc. is calling for the creation of a so-called Chamorro Park Monument.
In a statement issued yesterday, association president Gregorio Cruz Jr. said such a landmark would “showcase and symbolize our indigenous local ancestral cultural traditions, identity, and way of life.”
He said a statue of a Chamorro magalahi, which means chief, should be chosen by people through public hearings where they would identify who among the magalahis will be honored.
Cruz said the statue would proudly represent the indigenous Chamorro people.
“As president of Taotao Tano, I personally feel the serious need to establish such a park monument [because] our Chamorro culture, traditions, and identity must be protected and respected, for it has been long forthcoming,” Cruz said.
He said it is a shame that in “our homeland we have the Carolinian Affairs, a statue in Managaha symbolizing their magalahi, a Japanese monument, Korean monument, the Sugar King Park, the American Memorial Park, and now a proposed national monument in our northernmost islands but no Chamorro Park Monument to symbolize and represent our people.”
Cruz said the unique and interesting part of this proposal are the booths to be made available at the park. He said it would be exclusively operated and managed by local indigenous Chamorros.
Cruz said he envisions that one day he would give less fortunate fellow Chamorros the opportunity to establish their own business and be self-sufficient, supporting each other.
What better way to do it, he said, than to give them the opportunity to manage and operate their own booths but they must operate it as a family-“meaning your wife, children and grandchildren selling and promoting anything of cultural significance.”
“This is the time our local elected leaders should consider supporting the establishment of such a Chamorro Park Monument for they owe it to us,” he said.
Cruz said they are now working on the details of this plan.
The group will seek the public's opinion on this, including where to put up the park.
“The funding will be a challenge but I am positive that every local will support the cause to establish our own park monument.”
He said he is committed and determined to make this a reality, with the help of people.