Explore more photos of the 1st Marianas History Conference here.

14-16 June 2012
Fiesta Resort and Spa
Garapan, Saipan

Paper titles and abstracts


Keynote Presentations

Setting an Agenda: Quilting the Patches and Stitching Them Together
By Francis X. Hezel, SJ

Leapfrogging Through History: Hayi Mañaina-mu
By Robert A. Underwood

Guam History in the Making
By Pale Eric Forbes, OFM Cap.

Opening Session Performance

Buried Beneath Lattes and Bombs
By Eva Aguon Cruz, dåko’ta Alcantara-Camacho, and Moneka De Oro

Oral History/Genealogy

Espritu Tasi/The Ocean Within: Critical Postcolonial Dance Recovery in Guåhan

By Ojeya Cruz Banks

Considering the layers of colonial histories, this study examines key issues arising from projects of dance revitalization in Guåhan. The analysis draws from reflections of the June 2011 Chamorro dance competition and conversations with oral historian Leonard Iriate, the director of Guma’ Pålu Li’e’ – I Fanlalai’an. The dance renaissance in Guåhan is linked to dance recovery work carried out by other Pacific people at home and in their Diaspora locations. Across the Oceania, dance is utilized for accessing and perceiving historical, ecological and genealogical knowledge (Cruz Banks 2011; Teawia 2008; Hau’ofa 2008). Based on preliminary findings, recommendations are given on how to conceptualize the role dance plays for promoting knowledge grounded in indigenous heritage and creativity. As a Chamorro dance anthropologist, this research strives to use the politics of dance in Guåhan as a lens for discerning the history and (post) colonial predicaments of the Marianas Islands. Read paper here.

Genealogy: Challenges, Tools, and Techniques

By Jillette Torre Leon-Guerrero

Television programs like, “Who do you think you are?” evidence the growing popularity of genealogy and family history. Ancestry.com would have you believe that all you have to do is enter your ancestor’s name into their database and you will make significant discoveries. These TV spots do little to inform novices about the trials and tribulations of actual genealogical research. What they don’t tell you is that genealogical research can take a lifetime. In the 12 years that I have conducted research into my own genealogy I have gained an understanding of genealogy utilizing various tools and techniques. This presentation outlines the challenges of doing research in Guam and offers some insight into the tools, techniques and strategies that one might utilize when conducting research. A list of genealogical resources will also be made available for those interested. Read paper here.

Digital Storytelling

By Rlene Santos Steffy

Collecting oral histories is an effective process in documenting life experiences of the people in Oceania and how they and their communities were impacted by the high degree of trauma in World War II. It provides insight into the experience and degree of trauma they endured in relationship to who they were and the direct or indirect relationship they had with the Japanese or their interpreters. I have produced six video documentaries using the testimonies of World War II Survivors to establish the historic context by which they survived the war and the background into historic sites on Guam. I have engaged digital storytelling – the combining of narrative with images, video, music and other sounds and animation to document these lived experiences. This paper will explore how the survivors are my partners and not just historical sources to this end. Read paper here.

Finding Unity in Culture: Using Our Stories to Shape Our Future

By Victoria “Lola” Leon Guerrero

Chamoru people from the Mariana Islands have rich and beautiful stories to tell, to write. However, we are not often the ones writing our stories, and as a result, writings about us often misrepresent, divide, victimize, and disempower us. These writings do not contain our truth. We have the power to change that by simply sharing our truth and writing our own stories. Our stories connect us despite the political and historical boundaries that have been set up to push us away from each other. We are family and we must use our stories to erase these boundaries and shape a better future for our people. This session will be designed as a writers workshop in which we will begin the sharing process. We will explore the stories that unite us and start writing them. We will also explore possibilities for publishing our stories. Read paper here.

Inalahan’s Painted History Walk

By Judy Flores, PhD

I will show a selection of the painted histories in Historic Inalahan, and present them as a way to introduce storytelling through drawings and paintings. I will explain how the Painted Histories Project involved the children who are descendants of the people depicted in the painted doors and windows of abandoned buildings. I drew pictures of the family members of the 1950s going about their daily activities as I remember them. As the children painted the pictures, I told them the stories about them. In one case, the Paulino family gathered to paint the pictures of their family-run store. They named each person in the scene as one of the Paulino siblings, The now-elderly siblings told family stories to their children and grandchildren as they painted. This project was a successful way to reconnect children with their past through visual introductions that led to oral histories. Read paper here.

Ancient Marianas History

Reading Marianas Landscapes: Environmental Histories, Legends, and Ecotropes

By John Peterson, PhD

Models and metaphors about the environmental history of Guam and the Marianas range from Chamorro legend to cultural history to scientific and scientistic narratives. They include origin accounts in legend and in migration models; observations and interpretations about vegetative communities, such as savannahs; marine productivity and fisheries practice; and settlement pattern shifts from coastal to highland. Most archaeological models are normative, gradualist, and neoevolutionary. This paper examines several models or metaphors that have currency in the regional literature in light of recent data about Holocene environmental trends and conditions. These include sea level change, impacts of climate and climate change, and radiocarbon dating from paleosols, bioclastic sands, calcrete formations, and also biostratigraphic paleoenvironmental data from the region. A robust model of environmental change emerges, closely connected with social and cultural change in the region. The paper concludes with consideration of future impacts of climate change in the region. Read paper here.

Regional Variation in the Late Prehistoric Pottery of the Mariana Islands

By Darlene R. Moore

Archaeologists working in the Marianas have noted differences in the Latte Period pottery from the various islands. This paper describes the pottery from Saipan and Guam and illustrates some of the differences in the various attributes, such as rim form, surface treatment, and temper inclusions. The paper seeks to understand when the pottery production techniques diverged and why the different approaches to its manufacture might have developed. Read paper here.

Current Understandings of Ancient Marianas Pictographs

By Rosalind L. Hunter-Anderson, PhD

Building upon earlier studies of Mariana pictographs (painted images) present on several limestone cave walls on Guam, Rota, and Saipan, I review commonalities and contrasts in the images depicted: the forms selected, image size, paints used, image placement, and other site aspects such as darkness and accessibility. I then discuss current understandings of these images, from three popular perspectives: science, art, and cultural heritage/identity. The paper concludes with an urgent plea for a comprehensive program to document these enigmatic and potentially highly informative sites before they become further endangered from modern developments and other threats to their integrity. Read paper here.

I Tinigi’ I Man-Aniti (The Writings of the Ancestors): Initial Interpretation of the Discoveries of Rock Art in the NMI

By Genevieve S. Cabrera

For centuries, the Western world categorized the ancient Chamorro inhabitants of the Marianas Archipelago as a “prehistoric” people; one without a written history. This paper emphasizes that the ancient Chamorro, not unlike other ancient cultural groups the world over, did have a recorded history; a history documented in pictorial format. This pictorial approach, perhaps argued by some as not being cumulative in nature, is nonetheless a written account of key aspects of the ancient Chamorro life-way, most especially as it pertains to ancestor worship, which continues to be the fulcrum of the Chamorro identity. This discussion of the rock art also takes into account issues of site placement, media utilized, and stylistic differences by which we can begin to understand the iconography of these conveyances. Read paper here.

Ancient Marianas History Posters

Now and Then: Community Engagements at Pago Bay, Guam

By Darlene R. Moore

Archaeological investigations on a privately owned project area located along the northern shoreline in Pago Bay recovered material from a prehistoric Latte Village as well as historic material from the old Spanish Village of Pago. The project provides information about the history of the people who lived there in the past and includes information about the responsibilities of the people who live there now with respect to government regulations regarding the treatment of historic properties. View poster here.

Possible Cases of Molar Incisor Hypomineralization (MIH) in Subadults from Guam in the Mariana Islands

By Julie K. Euber and Joanne Eakin

In this poster, molar incisor hypomineralization (MIH) is considered as a possible diagnosis for discolored dentition found in subadults from archaeological sites on Guam in Micronesia. The affliction had been recognized and described by dentists previously, but it was not given a common name until 2001. MIH is a systemic condition that impacts children and consists of enamel hypomineralization in first molars and, commonly, in associated incisors as well. The condition is characterized by at least one molar having demarcated opacities of a yellow-brown or white-yellow color. Causes include poor general health and environmental stressors in the first three years of life. Individuals with the condition often experience pain and sensitivity in the affected region of the mouth. While the archaeological cases from Guam generally fit descriptions provided in the literature, a key difference is that the yellow-brown defects are not exclusively on first molars and incisors. In this study, each individual is analyzed for indicators of health and compared to known modern cases of children with MIH. Differential diagnoses include fluorosis, erythroblastosis fetalis, amelogenesis imperfecta, neonatal hepatitis, hemorrhage or necrosis of pulp, and betel chewing. The aims of this study include contributing to our understanding of prehistoric Chamorro health and providing a comprehensive review of an indicator of subadult health that can be applied to paleopathological studies around the world. View poster here.

An Archaeological Perspective on Gender and the Division of Labor in Traditional Chamorro Households

By James M. Bayman, PhD

Students and faculty from the University of Guam and the University of Hawai’i conducted a three year field school at the Guam National Wildlife Refuge (GNWR). Our study compared ethnohistoric accounts of household organization with archaeological patterns at the 17th century village of Ritidian. We investigated archaeological assemblages from two latte buildings to document their respective economic activities. Unexpected differences in their artifact assemblages reveal the following:

  1. Economic activities varied between the two latte buildings
  2. They were domiciles of a single economically integrated household
  3. Their disparate functions signaled a gendered division of labor

In brief, one latte building was used by women to make and use pottery for the preparation and storage of food. In contrast, the other latte building was used by men to make canoes and fishing gear. This archaeological study reveals aspects of traditional Chamorro practices that documentary accounts do not fully describe. View poster here.

An Assessment of Health and Lifestyle Among Chamorros Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

By Michael Pietrusewsky, Michael A. Fleming, and Randy A. Harper

Earlier investigations of health and disease in the Mariana Islands suggested that the prehistoric inhabitants of Saipan and the small islands experienced more stress than the prehistoric inhabitants of larger islands such as Guam. This study examined the health and lifestyle in skeletons from two archaeological sites on Saipan, the Chalan Monsignor Guerrero Road Project (CGM) and the Beach Road Sewer System (BRSS) sites. Context is provided by comparison with skeletons from earlier excavations on Saipan and other islands in the Marianas archipelago. View poster here.

Early Colonial History

Windfalls in Micronesia: Carolinians’ environmental history in the Marianas

By Rebecca Hofmann

Wind and weather are an ever present agent in Pacific population dynamics and were major factors contributing to pre-historic settlement movements. Typhoons have blown sailing canoes off-course, and the devastation of storm-hit islands has forced communities to seek refuge elsewhere. Clan genealogies give oral evidence of such movements. Although an inherent aspect of island life, they have hardly been analyzed in the region’s environmental history. While in pre-colonial times, established inter-island relations efficiently served as a form of disaster relief with mutual help and assistance, closer details of Spanish and German colonial records suggest that later on, such population movements were administered and had rather political and/or economic reasons. This case study will cast a critical look on the history of Carolinians on Saipan as it is commonly told, outlining cultural, economic and political details behind this inter-island relationship, starting in pre-colonial times all the way to today. Read paper here.

“Casa Real”: A Lost Church On Guam*

By Andrea Jalandoni

*This paper is an excerpt from an article in the process of being submitted to the journal Philippine Quarterly to be published by the University of San Carlos, Cebu, Republic of the Philippines.

In the late 17th century A.D, the Jesuits reported building a church in Ritidian. On the present day beach of Ritidian, however, there is no evidence of any Spanish structure ever having stood. Between the ambiguous documentation and the secrecy of the U.S. military when they controlled the area, it is difficult to know the truth. Through archaeological investigation, the subsurface remnants of a stone structure were exposed. An analysis of both primary and secondary texts confirmed that this structure, dubbed “Casa Real” by early 20th century archaeologist, is likely to be the 17th C. church. A church both built and burnt as a mark of Chamorro and Spanish interaction. The importance of this research is not just in locating a lost church, but a story about a tenuous Contact Period in the Marianas. Read paper here.

Magellan and San Vitores: Heroes or Madmen?

By Donald Shuster, PhD

Separated by 150 years, European explorer Ferdinand Magellan and Jesuit missionary Father Diego Luis de San Vitores have some rather unexpected similarities. They were both of noble birth, both were visionaries, both died violently in service to a greater power. In addition, both died on islands far from their places of birth. This paper examines two important European men and how they formed Marianas early contact history. Read paper here.

Traditional Chamorro Farming Innovations during the Spanish and Philippine Contact Period on Northern Guam*

By Boyd Dixon, Richard Schaefer, and Todd McCurdy

*This paper is an excerpt from the journal Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society to be published by the University of San Carlos, Cebu, Republic of the Philippines in 2013.

During the initial period of Spanish conquest and settlement of the Marianas in the late 1600s, soldiers and clergy were often accompanied on these island frontiers by their “cultural baggage”. One traditional farming technique that may have been augmented to serve the early demands on the Chamorro people to feed these new residents was the construction of permanent stone agricultural features on the limestone plateaus and rocky slopes near coastal settlements. New World crops such as the sweet potato may have been introduced in the Marianas from the Philippines as an existing component of the Spanish diet in the Western Pacific. Read paper here.

Islands in the Stream of Empire: Spain’s ‘Reformed’ Imperial Policy and the First Proposals to Colonize the Mariana Islands, 1565-1569

By Frank Quimby

The earliest proposals to colonize Guam and Rota were motivated by Spain’s commercial ambitions in Asia, not religious fervor, and reflected the imperial strategy of Andres de Urdaneta, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and King Philip II. Seeking to exploit the islands’ geostrategic value in conducting Asian-American trade, their views were shaped by an ostensibly “reformed” approach to indigenous populations that emphasized “humane” treatment because of the severe criticisms of Spain’s brutal conquest and colonization of New World peoples. However, the Crown’s imperial policy continued to reserve the right to use as much force as required to conquer and colonize islanders who resisted Spanish settlement, conversion to Catholicism or the Crown’s authority. Though their plans were not effected in their lifetimes, aspects of their strategies came into force of their own cultural and economic inertia, making Guam and Rota a major crossroads for European ships and unwitting candidates for evangelization. Read paper here.

José de Quiroga y Losada: Conquest of the Marianas

By Nicholas Goetzfridt, PhD

A well-born Spaniard, José de Quiroga y Losada, was a major figure in the subjugation of the Chamorro people, dedicated to their Christianization, killing many of them in the process. Read paper here.

19th Century Society in Agaña: Don Francisco Tudela, 1805-1856, Sargento Mayor of the Mariana Islands’ Garrison, 1841-1847, Retired on Guam, 1848-1856

By Omaira Brunal-Perry

Don Francisco Tudela’s record of service reveals his dedication in serving his country as a member of the Spanish Infantry, until his retirement, when he established residence in the Mariana Islands, and where he married in 1848. His nuptial file contains documents that reveal information concerning the people of Guam and to the extent that the Spanish legislation was applied in this distant colony. The requirements for a Spanish officer to marry generated lengthy bureaucratic paperwork that, today, is a source of rich information about life in Agaña and its principalía during the 19th century, in addition to the information found in the probate of Don Francisco Tudela’s Last Will and Testament. This paper will present an historic account regarding the origin of the Tudela family in the Marianas, his wife Doña Josefa Anderson, and concludes with the marriage of their youngest daughter to the Spanish Governor Francisco Moscoso y Lara. Read paper here.

Late Colonial History

Towards a Post-Colonial Friendship between Micronesian and Japan: Approaching the Centenary of the Nan’yō Occupation and Governance by Japan

By Shunsuke Nagashima

Presentation of a project to preserve memories of Nan’yō-Guntou and World War II in Micronesia as the 100 year anniversary approaches. The question of how to collect and keep memories of family and friends from this time will be discussed. It is our last chance to collect and store these memories by video, photo or written text before they disappear as the population who experienced the Japanese administration of Micronesia is quite elderly. The project proposes to decide how and where to store these memories so that future researchers can visit or share in these war experiences. The second expectation is that historical studies be instituted between Japan’s community colleges and Japanese descendants or students, using these materials or data. I also propose that there will be a special exposition at museums and that their be a special symposium on this collaboration to start the call for collections. Read paper here.

Broken Spear: The Roller Coaster Existence of Sumay, Guam (1900-1941)

By James Oelke Farley

This paper shall examine how the United States military build-up of Orote Peninsula into “the tip of the spear” in the interregnum between the Spanish American War and World War Two led directly to Sumay, Guam becoming targeted by Japan in 1941. The village is subsequently destroyed by the United States in 1944 after a destructive bombardment that destroyed all that the Americans had sought to develop in the four decades of their control of the village. Read paper here.

Carolinians and Chamorros in Japanese Mandated NMI: A Review of Tadao Yanaihara’s Studies on Micronesia

By Yumiko Imaizumi

Tadao Yanaihara (1893-1961) is one of the most renowned pre-war Japanese researchers on the topic of Japanese colonial policy and international studies. Many researchers on Japanese Mandated Micronesia, both in and outside of Japan, frequently refer to his Pacific Islands under Japanese Mandate (1936). However, no analysis has been conducted about his studies on Micronesians themselves. While visiting all over Micronesia in the early 1930s, Yanaihara assured himself that a mandatory system should be maintained in order to protect Pacific peoples from economical and military competition among great powers. My presentation is based on the thorough research that I conducted on his collection of Micronesia -interviews, documents and folk materials, highlighting the following: (1) local people’s life and society in NMI that are not written in his book; (2) his evaluation toward Japanese policy for local people; (3) NMI described by Yanaihara in relation to the following semi-war period. Read paper here.

Concrete Terraces and Japanese Agricultural Production on Tinian, Mariana Islands

By Dave Tuggle, PhD and Wakako Higuchi, PhD

The paper considers four unusual historic archaeological sites on Tinian and their relation to pre-World War II Japanese agricultural production. These sites are large concrete terrace complexes that do not fit conventional categories of known Japanese structures. However, archival and oral history research combined with archaeological investigations indicates that the concrete structures were large-scale Japanese compost-fertilizer production complexes. The complexes are described and their significance is considered in the context of the Japanese settlement and development of the island. Read paper here.

Surviving War on Pagan

By Jessica Jordan

This collection of memoirs was originally published as a website then a booklet in 2000 by Okamoto Mariko, daughter-in-law of Okamoto Eiko. Eiko was a child of Japanese settler family on Pagan in the 1930s, and Mariko wrote down Eiko’s memories. Once published online, these stories drew responses from people with experiences living on or visiting Pagan. While there are a tremendous variety of stories in this volume, the assortment displays certain themes. Former youthful settlers to the island show nostalgia for idyllic childhoods playing in the natural environment followed by a period of wartime conditions that forced people to live underground, endure the constant threat of air-raids, and scrounge for food. Among the memories by former military personnel, stories often describe the hard labor of constructing the airstrip, extreme hunger and recipes of wartime, war decimation, and postwar searches for the physical remains of friends. Read paper here.

The Description and Graphisation of Chamorro During the German Colonial Period in the Marianas

By Barbara Dewein

At the beginning of the 20th century, German authors composed a number of texts about the Chamorro language. All of these writers can be assigned to the context of the German colonial period (1899-1914/19). Nevertheless, there are notable differences regarding their personal backgrounds, their attitudes towards the language and people of the Mariana Islands, as well as their motives and competences in describing Chamorro. Accordingly, the documents diverge in terms of quality and size. Whereas some of the texts are well known (e.g. those by German governor George Fritz) other works were never published or remained largely unnoticed until recently (e.g. Hermann Costenoble’s dictionary). This paper describes the documents and their authors and will illustrate the qualitative and quantitative differences in outcome of German descriptive work on Chamorro. Read paper here.

Stories Connecting Islanders: A History of Guam and Chichijima Links

By Fred R. Schumann, PhD

Stories connecting places with people from the past are the key to foster a deeper sense of place. Guam and Chichijima have a shared history with exchanges that took place from the early 19th century. Chichijima, an island once inhabited largely by whalers from Hawai’i, became a “possession” of the U.S. after Commodore Perry’s land purchase in 1853. Large numbers of Japanese began relocating to the island in the Meiji period and today Chichijima is politically a part of Tokyo. Frequent visits to Guam by the early Chichijima settlers from the whaling ship have had an impact on life in Chichijima. Although this is little known outside of Chichijima, many of the residents of Chichijima have blood ties to Guam and share language and culture of the Marianas. This paper will present a number of themes connecting the two islands for a deeper appreciation of the two small islands. Read paper here.

Historic Maritime Activities in the Northern Mariana Islands During the Mid-19th to Early- 20th Century

By Sarah Nahabedian and and Jason Raupp

The maritime history of the Northern Mariana Islands can be seen reflected in the recorded history of the islands. From initial European contact and colonization to multiple culture groups using the islands for settlement, trade, reprovision and eventually a strategically important location during World War II. Saipan is an island within the Northern Mariana Island archipelago and therefore by its very nature is a maritime community. This paper aims to examine historic maritime activities in the Northern Mariana Islands during the mid-nineteenth to early-20th century as well as to investigate the remains of an unidentified shipwreck site in Tanapag Lagoon, Saipan as a view into the maritime activities of that time period. An analysis of the archaeological remains will give insight into the maritime activities of this region during a historical period while examining the association between the historic waterfront in Garapan, Saipan and the shipwreck site. Read paper here.

The Rota Dictionary: Linguistic Studies on Chamorro by the Capuchin South Sea Mission

By Christina Schneemann

From 1885 on not only government agents, settlers, adventurers or scientists traveled to the ‘German South Seas’. Until the end of the German colonial times during World War I members of various religious orders found their way to the South Sea as well. It was essential for the clerics to deal with the indigenous languages without any problems. They not only needed to communicate and understand those languages. In order to accomplish their missionary and pastoral work they also had to write texts and do a lot of translations. A so far undiscovered manuscript of a Chamorro dictionary from that time was found recently in the archive of the German Capuchins in Muenster. The unpublished ‘German-Chamorro’ dictionary can be accounted to Father Corbinian Madre, who lived on the Northern Mariana Islands from 1908-1919. First sightings of the manuscript look promising – not only from a linguistic point of view. Working with the manuscript means doing research on the author, the language (both Chamorro and the antiquated form of German used), the circumstances it evolved from, historical background, etc. The transcription will start in summer 2012, an annotated edition is planned within a project called Chamorrica. Furthermore, a comparison to Callistus Lopinot’s German-Chamorro Dictionary is planned. This paper is a very first attempt to place Corbinian Madre’s manuscript on the map of Chamorro research. Read paper here.

World War II History

A Marine “by Inclination and by Training”: A Virginia Lawyer Goes to War

By Kathleen Broome Williams

My father, Roger G. B. Broome, died on 18 January 1945 when I was four months old. This paper examines how and why a colorblind, malaria-ridden, flat-footed young lawyer, and father of two, forced his way into combat in the South Pacific. It begins with his struggle for a commission in the US Marine Corps followed by his long campaign to leave staff jobs and get a fighting command. His stubborn determination and pursuit of glory ended on the bloody battlefields of Saipan where he earned two purple hearts, a Navy Cross, and a lingering death from wounds. This paper is based on my father’s official Marine Corps record, on his correspondence, on interviews with Marines, on published accounts and memoirs, on official histories of the Saipan campaign (where he is mentioned), and on documents from the National Archives and the USMC Military History Center. Read paper here.

Beyond the Water’s Edge: Investigating Underwater Wrecks from the Battle of Saipan

By Jennifer McKinnon, PhD

The importance of investigating WWII wrecks in the Pacific cannot be overshadowed by the more readily visible and identifiable remains of war on land. The waters surrounding the Pacific Islands, in particular the Marianas, are littered with clues about WWII from individual military acts to small-scale unit movements. Many of these sites are not susceptible to the same interference or development as sites on land. As a result they are better preserved and can provide more information to elucidate the history of the war. A project investigating shipwrecks, aircraft wrecks, and submerged vehicles from the Battle of Saipan has been underway for the past three years. The results of this archaeological and historical research suggest there is clear, tangible evidence of individual acts, unit movements and large-scale tactics hidden beneath the waters. This paper provides examples of what we can learn about the Battle of Saipan beyond the water’s edge. Read paper here.

Constructing Rota’s World War II Landscape: The Chudang Palii Japanese Defensive Complex

By Edward Salo and Geoffrey Mohlman

At the request of the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands and with funding from the National Park Service, SEARCH completed an archaeological survey of the Chudang Palii Japanese World War II Defensive Complex on Rota Island. Rota was a Japanese possession during World War II, and fortified for a possible US invasion that never occurred. The complex is composed of 133 historic features, including antiaircraft guns, unexploded shells and bombs, tunnels, walls, enclosures, sake bottles, a teapot, and a rice bowl. This paper discusses the archival research and fieldwork used to create an innovative and exciting report for the documentation and analysis of this defensive complex. The report forms the foundation for future planning decisions for the complex as well as the first step in the public interpretation of the site. Read paper here.

Archaeological Investigations of World War II Era Japanese Seaplane Base at Puntan Flores, Island of Saipan, CNMI

By David G. DeFant

Recent archaeological survey and monitoring investigations undertaken in conjunction with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program to clean-up diesel fuel contamination in and around the Commonwealth Utility Corporation’s (CUC) Power Plant facilities at Puntan Flores, Island of Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) have recorded previously unidentified features related to the Japanese Seaplane Base constructed in 1934-35. Construction and expansion of this seaplane facility represents a significant milestone in the militarization of the Japanese Mandated Territories and the role of this facility during World War II is important piece of Saipan’s history. This paper will summarize the history of this facility and relate the documentary information with both previously identified and recently identified archaeological features. Read paper here.

Indigenous Memories of the Japanese Occupation and the War in Guam

By Ryu Arai

Presently, there are memorial services and ceremonies for the victims of the Japanese occupation and World War II in Guam every July– for instance, the events of “Liberation Day.” In this presentation I consider the indigenous people’s memories of the occupation and the war in Guam. In other words, I examine the representation of the war and occupation in various events and survivors’ stories. Specifically, I pay attention to the way of these memories are passed through these events and stories. For that reason, it is important to take account of the social circumstances of postwar Guam, which have an effect on the succeeding of war memories. The political relations between Guam and the United States is also significant for observing the representation of the Japanese occupation and the war in Guam. Read paper here.

“The Scene of Liberation”

By Michael Lujan Bevacqua

Although Marianas histories are overloaded with the importance of World War II in recent history, in a longer view the Chamorro-Spanish Wars had a far greater impact on the lives of Chamorros and their islands. However, except for figures such as Pale’ San Vitores and Maga’låhi Kepuha who emerge as hegemonic figures of the time because of their centrality to the Spanish mission in Guam, this war which lasted in all close to three decades seems hardly significant outside of the discourse of historians. This paper is meant to provide an overview of the Chamorro-Spanish wars and will focus in particular on the sometimes tenuous relationship between the Mariana Islands at that time, which helped to prolong the war and solidify Chamorro resistance. As part of this analysis, comparisons may be made to the historiography of World War II in the Marianas. Read paper here.

Amelia Earhart in the Marianas: A Consideration of the Evidence

By Thomas F. King, Thomas A. Roberts, and Joseph A. Cerniglia

Ever since the 1937 disappearance of American aviation pioneers Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan – or at least since World War II, rumors have been rife about their appearance in Japanese custody on various Micronesian islands, particularly Saipan. We examine the evidence brought forth by various authors for different “Saipan Custody” hypotheses and present an assessment of the likelihood that any of them represent what actually happened to Earhart and Noonan. Read paper here.

Soldiers and Civilians: US Servicemen and the Battle for Saipan, 1944

By Matthew Hughes

This essay explores the treatment by US military forces of civilians during the battle for the Pacific island of Saipan in 1944, both Japanese and Korean migrants living on Saipan, and “native” islander Chamorro and Carolinian peoples. Saipan is a useful case study as it was the first central Pacific island on which American forces encountered large numbers of civilians. The literature on the Pacific war overlooks the impact of the war on non-combatant island populations, preferring to focus on the actual fighting. The article extends the boundaries of the military history of the Pacific campaign of World War II to include the experience of civilians, Thousands of civilians died during the course of the battle for Saipan and this article balances whether these deaths were the result of mass suicides, Japanese fanaticism, and Japanese maltreatment of their own civilian population, or the consequence of the actions of US forces. Read paper here.

Nicer than Planned: WWII-Era Quarters of the 502nd Bomb Group on Guam

By Michael J. Church and Matthew J. Edwards

How does the archaeological record of US Army Air Force unit deployment compare to the primary documentary record regarding those units? Although contemporary documents say the 502nd Bomb Group had only 725 personnel at Northwest Field on Guam, far fewer than the 2078-man contingent normal for very heavy bomb groups like the 502nd, archaeological survey shows that the unit’s facilities were far in excess of those needed for 725 enlisted men and officers. In particular, archaeological survey indicates the 502nd Bomb Group was much more lavishly equipped than planned in terms of shower space and mess hall space. The 502nd Bomb Group stands in sharp contrast to the 331st Bomb Group at Northwest Field, which had quarters built almost exactly as planned. Archaeological survey demonstrates that at least some U.S. WWII-era units had considerable flexibility in deviating from official military plans when constructing their living quarters. Read paper here.

Historic Resources of the Carolinas Heights Region, Island of Tinian, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas

By Patrick O’Day and Nicole Vernon

Garcia and Associates conducted intensive archaeological survey of approximately 164 hectares of the Carolinian Heights area on the island of Tinian for the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) Historic Preservation office. The goal of the project was to collect historic resource data on previously unsurveyed land, thereby contributing to the CNMI archaeological site inventory database. The survey was designed to identify all significant archaeological sites within the survey area, record each site, and collect accurate GPS locations. Preliminary research involved analysis of multi-spectral satellite imagery and a digital elevation model in order to identify patterns existing between environmental conditions and past land use practices as a means to predict site types and densities across the project parcel. In total, 18 sites with 134 constituent features were recorded.

Site types include a latte set, historic house sites and associated agricultural features, traditional pottery scatters, clusters of military defensive features, and clusters of historically modified caves and rock shelters. These results indicate that there is a high potential for research within the project area for the study of both pre-contact and historic period resources related to various issues regarding settlement patterns, pre-contact and historic modes of subsistence, and resource exploitation practices. Read paper here.

Recent History

Sunidon Marianas: Chamorro Music and Cultural Unification in the Marianas Islands

By Michael R. Clement, PhD

Recorded and live Chamorro music was a major feature of the Chamorro cultural renaissance during the 1970s and 1980s. Early recording pioneers such as Johnny Sablan and the Charfauros Brothers came from Guam, but the industry may never have taken off without the participation of dozens of individuals from the Northern Marianas who played critical roles in the development of Chamorro music. This paper examines the close connections between artists from Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands such as Johnny Sablan, Candy Taman, Alexandro Sablan and JD Crutch. These individuals and many others established the diverse musical styles that have become i sunidon Marianas (The sound of the Marianas). The 114 years since partition have set the islands on divergent paths and historical circumstances have presented obstacles for political re-unification. Despite these obstacles Chamorro music has played a major and still unrecognized role in maintaining close cultural ties throughout the islands. Read paper here.

TTPI Saipan Agriculture Station

By David Look

Before World War II, Japan established six agriculture stations in Micronesia. All of these agriculture stations were destroyed during the war except the Ponape Agriculture Station. Between 1926 and 1944 outstanding agricultural research was conducted there. After the war, the United States established six agricultural stations in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Dr. David Lorence, National Tropical Botanical Gardens, believes that there was a second peak of research during the TTPI Period under Manuel Sproat and Leo Migvar. What were their objectives and accomplishments for each district? What role did the Saipan Station play in this development? How did the Saipan Station rank among other stations? Oral history interviews of Sproat and Migvar shed much light on its research, publications, successes and failures. What is the significance and integrity of the Saipan Station? What effect did this have on the history and economy of the Mariana Islands/Micronesia? Read paper here.

The Shaping of Carolinian Attitudes Toward Food On-the-Scene Insights into Manners and Living in the Moment

By Ken Kuroiwa

In our modern Westernized lifestyle, it is easy enough to take food for granted: it is often just a matter of running off to a store or restaurant. In fact, the problem these days might be too much food or the wrong kind of food. Visitors to these islands are also struck by how often one is invited to eat, to the point of being overwhelmed. But historically, an abundance of food has not always been the case in these islands or on most islands of the Pacific. Actually, even now, the supply can be precarious. Citing simple personal experiences, shared by some participants at this conference, we look at how conditions in these islands’ past have shaped attitudes, behavior, and even manners with regard to food. Read paper here.

Apmam Tiempo Ti Uli’e Hit (Long Time No See): Chamorro Diaspora and the Transpacific Home

By Jesi Lujan Bennett

Within Pacific Islands Studies, there is an abundance of research and creative work that discusses the historical movement of Pacific Islanders from their home islands to new host countries. Lacking in this rich epistemology are the experiences of Chamorros. With Guam’s political status as a United States’ territory, Chamorros have been moving off island in large numbers since after World War II through military service. Naval cities, like San Diego, California, have a thriving Chamorro community that has its own communal spaces and social organizations. It is within these spaces that light can be shed on the stories, experiences, and memories of this migrant group. By analyzing the logos and symbols associated with the Chamorro nonprofit organization, CHE’LU Inc, and the social organization, The Sons and Daughters of Guam Club, the history of Chamorro migration can fit into the larger discourse of Oceanic migration. Read paper here.

A Brief Historical Review of “Selected” Forces and Factors Which Have Impacted the Economy of the Northern Marianas

By William H. Stewart

A survey of the economic development successes and difficulties of the Northern Mariana Islands. A review of the forces impacting upon the phenomenal burst of unprecedented economic growth in the mid-eighties followed by the sudden decline in economic activity in the nineties. Included are: Covenant funding, review of the tourism and garment sectors. Includes little known events such as the interpretation of the U.N.’s “favorite nation clause”; the selection of the first airline route award through the islands to Japan. Principle subjects addressed which have had a significant positive or negative impact upon the economy include: Pre-Commonwealth Period, Economic “Boom”, Land Alienation Restrictions – Article XII Influence on the Economy, Land Leased By Foreign Investors and Others, Real Estate Taxes, Non-resident Labor Force, Economic “Bust”, Japanese Investment Abandonment of the NMI, The Public Sector , “Selected” Economic Statistics. Read paper here.

From Yam to Spam: The Evolution of Pacific Islander Food Culture

By Jon Abraham

The introduction of Western concepts into Pacific Island cultures greatly affected their way of life, whether through the adoption of Western clothing, religion, and style of government. But perhaps the one lasting effect Western society had on Pacific Islanders was the introduction of Western food and food preparation. This shifting resulted not only in a greater emphasis of importing food from other places but created detrimental effects on the health of Pacific Islanders throughout Oceania. The evolution of Pacific Islander food culture has created a unique identity for Pacific Islanders, one that infuses both Western and traditional foods into the local islander diet, embracing not only the family values found in traditional food styles but also accepting and celebrating Western food culture. Read paper here.

Close of Day: Guam in Contemporary Art

By Mariquita Davis

For the past three years I have staged numerous projects using memory and storytelling as a starting point for a chain of events that accumulate into an event where the subjects of the work become the audience. Informal discussions with members of my Guamanian family and community lay the foundation for the works. Taped in the month of July 2010, several hours of home footage, interviews with villagers about Rivera store, and semi-theatrical staging of daily rituals are composed into my version of a visual fugue. I would like to share the experience of taking on such a project and my present my findings after returning home after 20 years to delve into the history in Hågat/Agat. Read paper here.

Conference proceedings

  1. Overview
  2. Oral History/Genealogy
  3. Ancient Marianas History
  4. Early Colonial History
  5. Late Colonial History
  6. World War II History
  7. Recent History

Download proceedings

  1. Overview
  2. Oral History
  3. Ancient Marianas
  4. Early Colonial
  5. Late Colonial
  6. World War II
  7. Recent History

More on the Marianas History Conference