Thursday, 04 June 2009
Letter to the Editor
IT SEEMS amazing how many proud Chamorros there are in the Mariana Islands. But when the word “independence” or the phrase “Yankee Go Home” are mentioned, attitudes change. You see, I am used to hearing bragging rights on the word “proud” from people who come from independent nations except from America, for the white race are not from America. As a matter of fact, they all emigrated from Europe since the late 1400s. Instead of saying proud Italian, Scottish, Irish, German, etc., they used the word American. For example, proud Irish-American, African American, and just plain “proud American.” Who is the true American though? I was taught that the Indians (Apache, Sioux, Cheyenne, etc.) and Mexican, Columbian, Brazilians are the true Americans.
Now let’s return to these islands. These islands, called the Mariana Islands, are inhabited by the oldest society on earth and are known throughout our planet by the old civilization as the Mountain Range of the Crescent Moon, in which the old civilizations claim as their origins.
Today, these islands are owned by the United States of America through wars: the Spanish American War of 1898 and World War II. Not as an independent country, but a property.
Between “Chamorro” and “Chamoru,” which spelling is correct? Actually, the word Chamorro/ru is not indigenous to these islands. It is indigenous to Spain. If a person were to consult a Spanish/English dictionary, one will find out that the word “Chamorro” is defined as the hind leg of a cow. So my question is how we, the aboriginals, can call ourselves “Chamorro” when it is not indigenous to our own language.
The next question should be, “What is our true name?” The answer is taotanomo’na. Then again, a proud Chamorro/ru will say that taotaomo’na means spirit. In reality, the true word for spirit is Aniti. It was actually the Catholic Church that made us believe that taotaomo’na and Chamorro are our true names.
The reason why the indigenous succumbed to their lies in such a short time is due to the ordered punishment and abuse both mentally and physically.
To the foreigners, the Spanish, even God believed our ancestors to be savages, who needed to be civilized. So guess what happened? Since 1521, when Magellan arrived until 1696, record of the size of the native population has been estimated to be over 200,000 throughout the islands. But in 1695, when all natives were assembled on Guam, the population count was under 4,000.
I would love to say to all the indigenous of these islands: Let’s come together and reclaim being a “Proud Taotaomo’na,” and reclaim our lands back and become and independent nation.
Howard A. Hemsing
a.k.a. Maga’lahi Maga’ Aniti