Explore more photos of the 2nd Marianas History Conference here.

One Archipelago, Many Stories

Integrating Our Narratives
30-31 August 2013
University of Guam Campus

51 Papers and Posters on Marianas History

The University of Guam, Guam Preservation Trust, Guampedia, and the Northern Marianas Humanities Council hosted the 2nd Marianas History Conference on the UOG Campus in Mangilao, Guam, from August 30-31.

Dr. Anne Perez Hattori and Dr. Keith L. Camacho were the keynote speakers at the conference. Camacho presented “Militarized Incarceration: The US Navy’s War Crimes Tribunals Program of Guam, 1945-1949”. Hattori presented “Chamorro Barmaids, Congressmen, and the 21st Century Doings of Marianas History.”

The conference covered a full range of topics associated with the Archipelago’s history under the following general categories: Ancient History; Early Colonial (17th-18th centuries); Late Colonial (19th-early 20th centuries); World War II; Recent (post-war); and Oral History and Genealogical Research. The general categories correspond to the 1st Marianas History Conference.

In addition to papers, posters that address the conference theme and/or topics were exhibited through the 2nd day of the conference.

Paper titles and abstracts


Keynote Presentations

Art, Culture, and Science


The Artist Paul Jacoulet in Micronesia
By Don Rubinstein

The Pacific has always held a special attraction for outside artists, travelers, and writers. Since the seminal work of art historian Bernard Smith (1960), we can appreciate how outside artists project their own complex vision of culture, nature, shared humanity, and ideals of beauty upon a Pacific canvas. This presentation focuses on one uniquely gifted and prolific artist, the Frenchman Paul Jacoulet, and his vision of Micronesia. Jacoulet first visited the Mariana Islands in 1929 and made several subsequent trips, in addition to spending time in other Micronesian ports of call, from Palau to Jaluit. He was predominantly a portraitist, and his several thousand pencil sketches, water color paintings, and published wood block prints provide a unique artistic vision of the Chamorros and Carolinians of the Mariana Islands whom Jacoulet befriended, as well as other islanders throughout the Japanese mandated territory during the prewar era. Read paper here.

Masters of Chamorro Tradition
By Monica Okada Guzman

In 1998, artist Ron Castro documented the life traditions of many of Guam folk and traditional practitioners who, in a Poster Series and coffee table book, were bestowed the title of “Master.” Since then, no additional cultural practitioners have been recognized and only a dozen of those “living treasures” remain with us today. The depository of the Chamorro heritage is in the minds of these cultural practitioners whose bodies are the vehicles through which the knowledge and skills of their traditions are manifested and performed. Reinstating the Masters program will give due recognition to these practitioners, while also safeguarding their traditional artistry through the continued practice of their craft within the community. The Masters Recognition Award guarantees the continuity of our cultural traditions, leaving a legacy for our children. Providing support of these Masters through apprenticeship programs is also key to the survival of these skills and artistry. Read paper here.

Dance to Unite All Chamorros: As Uno Hit – We Are One
By Sandy Flores Uslander

The Chamorro culture that is practiced in stateside communities tends to reflect the time period in which their members migrated. Since the cultural resurgence of the 1980s, pride in the indigenous identity of Chamorros has been prevalent on the islands, leading to increased practices of Chamorro indigenous dance, indigenous inspired adornment, and ancient language. Yet these phenomena are not understood by most stateside Chamorros, pointing to differences in practice and concept that create disparities between Chamorros on Guam and those who have moved to the US mainland, including their children and grandchildren. This is significant because an estimated 60% of Chamorros are reported to live outside of the Chamorro islands. Can the cultural resurgence experienced in the Marianas since the 1980s be brought to stateside Chamorros? Read paper here.

Chamorro Music: Through the Heart of Alexandro “The Colonel” Sablan
By Maria Manglona Takai

Chamorro music is a form of art used by Chamorro musicians to express their feelings and emotions while also telling the stories of many of life’s events. Chamorro music, however, is often ignored and left out of historical research. One popular Chamorro recording artist, Saipan’s Alexandro “The Colonel” Sablan, has released 14 CDs with a number of songs that speak to some aspects of history and culture. This paper focuses on the Colonel’s life as a musician and as a commentary on cultural heritage. Read paper here.

A Colonial Perspective on the Music and Instruments of Guam
By Clement, MR, Sr.

This is a presentation of the instruments introduced in Guam by Padre Sanvitores, c. 1668. Commentary explains his motives for choosing certain instruments related to Las Danzas de Moros y Cristianos as they were performed in Spain since the 1300s and in its colonies in South America and the Pacific. It addresses how these instruments functioned in the processes of missionization and evangelization in Guam, both in the Church and in public performance. It builds on the Music on Mainstreet presentation (2007) of the Guam Humanities Council by identifying and explaining the instruments of Sanvitores: the pito and tambour, chirimias, gaita, harp, clarion and others. The teaching goals of the Jesuits are connected to the Quadrivium and musarithmetic through the construction of string instruments and men-sural notation. Read paper here.

Poster: A Blue Bridge Between Us
By Simeon Palomo

The “Saina” poster is in recognition of the 2009 voyage of a sakman, named “Saina”, that traveled between Guam and Luta, a feat that has not been accomplished for over 300 years. The “Saina” sakman is housed with the Traditions About Seafaring Islands (TASI) at the Paseo grounds. In designing the poster, Simeon used a model of the “Saina” by Guam artist Ron Castro, surrounding it with native plants – nanasu, niyok, and lada. The poster’s outcome produced a close up of the sakman model, with the nanasu leaves mimicking the strong waves of the Luta Channel. Simeon added, in the poster, quotes from TASI’s Frank Cruz, who was in the 2009 voyage, and Chamorro historian Toni Ramirez, to emphasize the personal and historical significance of the journey of the “Saina” to the Chamorro people. The poster is now on display at the Guam Museum. View poster here.


Our Sakman Story: One Sentence In History
By Mario Borja

This is a story of what one observer, Sir George Anson, the British Commander of the HMS Centurion, witnessed and documented about our Chamorros back in 1742 and which has given our Chamorro history a reprieve for ancestral identity. It is a story about our Chamorros and their “simple” invention of ingenuity, the flying proa, which established a speed record back then and was unmatched for another century. It is a story of a simple scaled drawing presented with such engineering detail unique to the sakman, our Chamorro single outrigger sailing canoe. It is a story of the resolve of a small group of Chamorros to rebuild this sacred vessel of old, fueled solely by very words of this one observers account. It is a story that echoes the same account in the very language of our ancestors. It is a story honoring them for this legacy. Read paper here.

The Chalan Kanoa Kiosku: A Living Memorial in Local Leadership
By William S. Torres, Ramon B. Camacho, and Herman B. Cabrera

This presentation will focus on the historical significance of the Saipan and Northern Islanders Leadership Kiosku project, located across from the US Post Office on Saipan, that was inaugurated last year on Saipan. This power point presentation shares an approach inspired by the Saipan and Northern Islands Municipal Council to recapture in symbols, forms, and narratives the role of local leaders in the transformative change of an island nation and people from occupation to sovereign status and self expression as co-equal sovereigns in achieving political self-determination. The Kiosku narrative is told through the lenses of people of Northern Marianas descent (NMD) in their own terms about their island nation, a story missing in mainstream pages of history. The project represents the embodiment of actions and deeds resulting in milestone achievements and major turning points in local leadership through the decolonization of the Northern Marianas. View presentation slides here.

Living Languages and Indigenous Spaces
By Fermina Sablan

The last 100 years have seen the accelerated deterioration of the native Chamorro language. Unfortunately, we are not alone in this tragedy of language loss. If the Chamorro language is not given spaces for conversations and visibility within our communities, it will become a statistic along with tribal languages that have been lost as the last speaker dies. At this juncture in our native history, there is a resurgence for the revitalization of the native Chamorro language. Based on previous language surveys, the Chamorro language is in danger of continued deterioration. As Chamorro people, we need to have a “Unified Approach” towards language restoration and viability. We have to be strategic, purposeful, intentional, committed, and unified in our efforts to restore the “spoken Chamorro language” within our private and public spaces. We have to build collaborative networks for viable sustainability. Read paper here.

Across the Water in Time: Establishing a connection between Guam and Hawaii
By Jillette Leon-Guerrero

John Paris died in Honolulu in 1928. He is buried next to his wife on the grounds of Oahu’s Kawaiaha`o Church, the same church in which John married his wife Pauelua in 1877. It would take over 80 years for a descendant to start looking for the origins of John Paris, her great-grandfather. With no knowledge of his life beyond the Hawaiian Islands, Yolanda Paris Sugimoto reached out to a researcher on Guam to help learn about the roots of her ancestor. The ensuing research would take the two on a journey across the ocean and back in time and yield surprising results that neither could have anticipated. The project Across the Water in Time attempts to establish the Guam roots of John Paris through genealogical research. Read paper here.

Poster: Family Arkives
By si dåko’ta alcantara-camacho

This poster represents family photos in shapes inspired by ancient forms of writing, both poetic and glyphic, therefore combing different forms of media to engage collage, the process and articulation of archiving, and indigenous poetics of sur-thrival. The poster draws connections between the diaspora-stories and OurStory of migration to demonstrate the potential in seeing ourselves as connected to our ‘ancient’ ancestors, never once or twice or ever removed. By finding new mediums to voice the stories of my grandparents, I hope to remember stories once foreclosed. View poster here.

I Mangaffa Siha: Late Colonial Conceptualizations of the Chamorro Family
By Lisa Linda Natividad

The family is often credited with being the rope that binds Chamorro society together. Nonetheless, present-day Chamorro families struggle with the role of the family system in the context of westernization and modernization. Maladaptive behavioral manifestations, such as family violence and drug and alcohol dependency, are often equated with being culturally “Chamorro.” In examining late colonial conceptualizations of the Chamorro family, an old paradigm is reintroduced that highlights the beauty of traditional Chamorro practices relative to gender roles in the family system, marital dynamics, and the parenting of children. In addition, practices around peacemaking and peace keeping in the family clan will be discussed to challenge the assumption that family violence and drug and alcohol dependency are cultural practices. Lastly, early accounts described the Chamorro family composition as transcending blood relations to include people who shared a special relationship with familial clans. These types of relationships will also be explored. View presentation slides here.

The Sapin Sapin Generation: Identity Formation of Second Generation Filipinas on Guam
By Tabitha Espina

Because the second generation of Filipinos on Guam have yet to be scholarly analyzed, I theorize a conceptual model of this generation’s identity formation, focusing specifically on Filipinas, using the term “Sapin Sapin generation.” Just as the sapin sapin dessert is characterized by distinct layers of color and flavors, this generation is characterized by “layers” of ethnic identity that remain distinct, yet interact to create an entirely new identity. The Sapin Sapin generation is a hybridized model that shows distinct identities integrated and interacting together in one person in the same way that the different flavors of the sapin sapin dessert are enjoyed together in one bite. I analyze the identity formation of the Sapin Sapin generation using personal narratives in a variety of modes of expression: the dissertation preface of Vivian Dames, the documentary film project of Bernie Schumann, and the songs of my mother, Alpha Espina. View presentation slides here.

Survival of Traditional Healing on Guam
By Tricia Atoigue Lizama, PhD, LCSW

Chamorro, the indigenous people of Guam, have a tradition of herbal medicine and therapeutic massage that predates the Spanish colonization of the 17th century and notably continues to be practiced in modern times. The purpose of this study was to describe how healers perpetuate and preserve traditional practices. Eleven in-depth interviews were conducted with suruhanu and suruhana healers. Analysis indicates that traditional healing practices are actively preserved despite centuries of colonization, cultural denigration, western modernization/militarization, and continuing encroachment on lands where native plants might be gathered for medicinal use. Further, interviews indicate that traditional healing is used by Chamorro and others seeking preventive and curative care, perhaps particularly among those lacking access to western bio-medicine or preferring more culturally responsive, holistic treatment. Findings provide considerations for influencing the development of more culturally responsive practices in conventional western health care and toward health policies that support the perpetuation of traditional alternatives. View presentation slides here.

The Metaphysical Guåhan
By Nicholas J. Goetzfridt

This paper explores the metaphysical nature of historical inquiry into Guam’s past, particularly in terms of the impact of a scholar’s time and place within his or her own history and professional elements of identity. The paper discusses the nature of qualitative historical research, qualitative research traditions, and their contrast with shifting paradigms of quantitative research – both of which are metaphorical for the shifting nature of the standards, time, and context of historical research on Guam. Read paper here.


A History of Guahan’s Flora
By Robert Bevacqua, PhD

Guahan’s history can be traced through its tropical vegetation. The first plants (endemic) developed in isolation on the uninhabited island. Then there were successive waves of plants arriving by natural means (indigenous), on board Chamorro voyaging canoes, Spanish sailing ships, American war vessels, and, most recently, airplanes. Some of the recent introductions have become invasive plant species that have the potential of dramatically changing the island landscape. This presentation will form the basis of a professional development opportunity for school teachers interested in expanding their lesson plans to include island flora and fauna in a historical perspective. Read paper here.

Birth-Month Seasonality and the Secondary Sex Ratio in Guamanian Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Parkinsonism-Dementia Complex Implications for Infectious Disease and Environmental Etiologie
By Vince P. Diego, PhD and Frank A. Camacho, PhD

Guamanian amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Parkinsonismdementia complex (ALS-PDC), which took place primarily over the period from 1950 to 1980, remains a mystery to this day. Incidence rates for the neurological syndrome by birth-year and birth-month were analyzed by periodic regression. The data were best fit by a yearly 2-phase periodicity model over the year (p < 0.0001 for the harmonic coefficients; R-squared = 0.12 and 0.25 for the first and second phases, respectively), which reasonably corresponds to two peaks in water availability on Guam. Data on the secondary sex ratio (SSR), defined as the ratio of male to female live births and considered to be an indicator of environmental stress, were also analyzed. The SSR mean for the affected cohort was found to be significantly higher than that for the unaffected cohort (p < 0.0001). Taken together, these findings point to an infectious disease or environ-mental toxin etiology. Read paper here.

History of the Mariana Islands

Ancient Marianas History

Migration for Settlement or Home Range Expansion: What Caused People to First Come to the Marianas c. 3500 Years Ago?
By Rosalind L. Hunter-Anderson, PhD

Archaeological research at the oldest known sites in the Marianas, dated to the Early Pre-Latte Period (1500 and 1000 BCE), has raised important anthropological questions regarding the causes and character of human advent in this remote archipelago. Artifacts and other remains excavated from the lowest layers at these sites strongly contradict a migration and settlement narrative that has been forwarded to explain them. The anomalous data are reviewed and an alternative explanation is offered, based on cultural ecological concepts. Specifically, it is proposed that long-distance ocean travel to the Marianas manifests a home range expansion tactic, which enabled families of foragers specializing in the production of valuables for trade, such as marine shell ornaments, to remain in a Island Southeast Asian foraging niche for at least 1000 years. Pertinent information from ethnography and ethno-archaeological research is discussed in light of the model and test implications are derived. Read paper here.

Early European Exploration in the Marianas
By Omaira Brunal-Perry

Spanish and Portuguese exploration in the late 15th and early 16th centuries was part of an effort to find a westward route to the Indies and lay claim to these lands – islands known for their rich spices. This pursuit resulted in voyages by European sailing vessels that explored the islands in Micronesia. When Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Mariana Islands on March 6, 1521, while seeking this westward route to the spice rich Indies, it heralded the beginning of a European dominance in Micronesia that would span more than four centuries. Continuous European contact began with Spanish control of the Mariana Islands in 1565. The exploration and exploitation of Micronesia by European sailing vessels reflects the changing requirements of discovery, conquest, commercialization, and colonization. The influence and impact of Europeans on the indigenous people of the islands was widespread, resulting in changes and resistance. Read paper here.

Spanish Era

Choco the Chinaman as a Member of Chamorro Society
By Judy S. Flores, PhD

The Chinese man, Choco, was firmly established in Chamorro society at the time of Pale’ Diego Luis de San Vitores’ missionization, and was instrumental in turning the Chamorro people against the missionaries. This paper uses the brief information contained in missionary letters as clues to learn more about how this outsider came to Guam and achieved a prominent place in Chamorro society. Where did he come from and why was he against the missionaries? What more can we learn about the village of Pa’a where San Vitores came to debate with Choco? What happened to Pa’a and to Choco after San Vitores’ death? This paper shows how a combination of research methods and resources can be used to further document this incident and to create a more global view of Choco’s world as it impacted the Mariana Islands. Read paper here.

Demons Described, Demons Discredited: How the 17th Century Jesuit Missionaries to the Marianas Addressed Indigenous Beliefs
By Nicholas Chow Sy

Despite the beatification of one missionary in 1985 and the canonization of his lay assistant in 2012, the Jesuits’ method of conversion in the Marianas has not been extensively studied. Their seventeenth century mission attempted to impress a fundamentally foreign set of beliefs on a people with an age-old conviction in an independent reality. It was not an easy task. The present work combs through three decades of missionary accounts (1668 to 1699) to outline their strategy in dealing with indigenous Chamorro beliefs. It also contextualizes their actions within the logic with which they were performed. The study’s focus is limited to missionaries’ experiences of their effort. However, by describing the oral, visual, and experiential stimuli to which the Chamorro were exposed, it also aims to provide building blocks for future work on the Chamorro experience of the conversion. Read paper here.

The Early Spanish Period in the Marianas, 1668-1698: Eight Theses
By Francis Hezel, SJ

The presentation offers another look at the conflict during the early mission period in the late 17th century. It explores the real causes of conflict, as well as the divided response by local people. It also takes up the question of the changes in the composition of the Spanish garrison and how the troops in the garrison had also become victims of an emerging colonial structure. It will also offer a tally of the casualties over a 30-period of the deaths of Chamorros and Spaniards. Overall, the point of the presentation is to offer a new perspective on this much debated period of initial sustained contact in the Marianas and in the Pacific as a whole. Read paper here.

The Mariana Islands Militia and the Establishment of the “Pueblos de Indios”: Indigenous Agency in Guam from 1668 to 1758
By David Atienza, PhD

After the death of Blessed Diego Luis de San Vitores, an intermittent and violent conflict broke out in the Mariana Islands. Centuries later this conflict would be baptized as the “Spanish-Chamorro wars”. The ethnohistory of the Chamorros traditionally has been considered closed after the defeat of the native forces in 1684 and the final “reducciones” and pacification of the Gani islands at the end of the 17th century. In this paper, I will present some elements that I consider to prove the socio-political continuity of indigenous agency beyond the final Christianization and “Hispanicization” of the island. Read paper here.

Where is the Gold? Silver and Copper Coins from Two of Guam’s Historic Sites
By Darlene R. Moore

One of the questions that archaeologists working in the Marianas are asked is, “Are you searching for gold?” This article briefly reviews the Manila Galleon trade with respect to the transport of gold and silver, examines the catalog of items recovered from Spanish Period shipwrecks in the Marianas, and describes archaeological investigations at two Spanish Period historic sites on Guam that yielded one silver and two copper coins. The historic backgrounds of the coins are examined in order to better understand their stories and the contributions they make to our understanding of Guam’s history. Although most land-based archaeological projects in the Marianas are not designed to seek treasure, our endeavors often result in the discovery of nuggets of information about the past that has its own intrinsic value. Read paper here.

Poster: Kunsidera i Fina’pus-niha i Man’antigu na Mañainata sa’ i Estorian-niha Estoriata Lokui’ (1670-1695): Breaking the Silence: Remembering the Chamorro-Spanish War (1670-1695)
By Genevieve S. Cabrera, Kelly G. Marsh, and Monica Dolores Baza

Torn from the land, lives lost, an indigenous way of life forever altered–yet the battle sites of the decades long Chamorro-Spanish wars and those who fought upon them are silent within the realm of public recognition and commemoration. This poster promotes having these battles as a part of the communities’ consciousness by crossing modern political divides and working together to understand what the elders, landscapes, and archives have to say regarding this seminal time. View poster here.

El Camino Real: Guam’s Spanish Period Infrastructure
By Nicole Vernon, MA, RPA

El Camino Real, “The Royal Road,” was a road constructed under Spanish authority in the late 1700s to improve communication and military control between the villages of Hagåtña and Humåtak. Research was conducted to reconstruct the road’s original route based on historic maps and documents, extant historic sites, and topography. Findings indicate that El Camino Real was a dynamic feature that evolved over time in response to interaction between indigenous and Spanish cultures, as well as the development of the Spanish Colonial Empire. View poster here.

Social Realities and Legal Regulations: A Snapshot of Guam in 1886 as Seen Through the Bando General by Governor Olive
By Mariana Sanders, Francine Clement, and Carla Smith

This presentation, by UOG students in Dr. Carlos Madrid’s History 450: Topics in Pacific History (Primary Sources for the History of the Mariana Islands) summer 2013 class, assesses select sections of Spanish governor Francisco Olive’s Bando (General Edict of Urban and Rural Policy for Guam, 1886). The document addresses issues including land ownership, cattle, parties and entertainment, and traditional medicine. This presentation situates the document as the colonial government’s response to the assassination on Guam of Governor Angel de Pazos in 1884, as well as a preventive measure against the growing interest in Micronesia of other foreign powers. Through the Bando of 1886, Governor Olive attempted to regain the trust, obedience, and patronage of the Mariana Islanders. As such, the document is revealed as a magnificent tool through which social realities, economic challenges, and indigenous responses in the late 19th Century Marianas can be read. View presentation slides here.

Japanese Era

Islands Too Beautiful for Their Names: Northern Mariana Indigenous Islander Memories and National Histories
By Jessica Jordan

Different stories about “Tiempon Japones” [the Japanese time] circulate in the Northern Mariana Islands. These memories of the Japanese colonial days (1914-1944) have tended to be either marginalized or incorporated by dominant stories of US liberation of the islands during WWII. This paper reflects upon how indigenous Northern Mariana man’amko [senior citizen] memories give rise to theories guiding the author’s research. Quoted from an interview, the first part of this presentation’s title hints at the complexities and excesses of everyday life versus the ways in which historical moments have been named by sequentially changing colonial powers. This paper concludes by suggesting an initial interpretation of common threads emerging in memories voiced by twenty-three indigenous Mariana Island man’amko. Their memories reveal perspectives based in experiences spanning multiple colonial eras, although commonly accepted ways of researching and writing history have yet to deal adequately with these existing forms of knowledge. View presentation slides here.

Unspeakable Survival: Sexual Violence Against Women During the Japanese Occupation of Guam
By Leiana SA Naholowa’a

Women endured wartime sexual violence as “comfort women” and victims of rape during the Japanese occupation of Guam, and these personal and communal memories are buried deep within and hidden from public consciousness. Historical accounts, oral interviews, and literary representations detail the horror of this time period in what is essentially still a severe dearth of scholarship. Increased visibility of these experiences can be repositioned to the forefront of war reparations appeals, which are stalled and hold little hope of being realized. More awareness of these wartime atrocities by our local women and men in the armed forces may help them to become agents of change in a military system today where sexual violence is notoriously unreported and chronically unprosecuted. Lastly, an expanded discourse around the sexual transgressions against women in history can contribute to strategies for decolonization and the prevention of domestic violence. View paper here.

Forgotten People: Memories of Koreans in the Marianas During Japanese Rule
By Sung Youn Cho

In the early 20th century, Japan dominated the Northern Mariana Islands, an area we called Nanyogundo. Research on this period has been carried out mainly by Japanese scholars, including recently the work of Imaizumi. During this era, many Japanese people moved to the Northern Mariana Islands, wanting to develop these Islands in order to make them their permanent territory. The Japanese brought Koreans to the Islands as a labor source, and, especially in the last stage of the Pacific War, tens of thousands of Koreans were pulled here by compulsion. Most of their stories have been forgotten. This presentation explains how Koreans made their own lives in the Northern Mariana Islands during the period of Japanese rule, including connecting with Japanese and native Chamorros. I will approach this topic through an analysis of a biographical manuscript written by Matsumoto (Chun Kyung Un). Read paper here.

The South Seas on Display in Japan: Yosano Tekkan’s “Nanyōkan” and South Seas Discourse of the Early 20th Century
By Mark Ombrello

Celebrating the Taishō Emperor’s 1914 coronation, the Tokyo International Exhibition showcased Japan’s increased overseas presence and economic influence in the Eastern hemisphere. Accordingly, the event demonstrated that the nation achieved a level of sophistication equal to the West and affirmed notions of a modern state via the display of human societies considered culturally backward at fairground sites. The Nanyō Pavilion offered visitors an “authentic” glimpse of the primitive South Seas, a region that had come into sharper focus in the Japanese collective conscious since the outbreak of WWI and subsequent takeover of Germany’s Pacific Territories. “Nanyōkan,” a poem by Yosano Tekkan, detailed the experience of an attendee whose understanding of modernity and the self were inextricably tied to projected rumination of the peoples and landscapes on display. This presentation will examine the poem and its meanings in historical contexts related to colonialism, modern identity formation, historiography, and South Seas discourse. View presentation slides here.

Northern Marianas Under Japanese Navy Administration (1914-1922)
By Yumiko Imaizumi

This presentation analyzes the Marianas under Japanese naval administration and elucidates the formation of fundamental Japanese policies for Micronesia then. In WWI, the Japanese Navy occupied Germany’s northern Pacific islands. The Provisional South Seas Defense Force was established in Chuuk for military administration. Research on Japanese rule of Micronesia has not grasped this period and underestimates naval rule versus the succeeding Mandate. However, the Japanese government and Navy conceived and embarked on basic, longrange policies for Micronesia during their eight-year administration. The South Seas government inheriting the policies embellished them as “a sacred trust of civilization” under the Mandate. In the Marianas, the Navy attempted to make the local people submit to Japanese rule, to establish industries and to eliminate all Western missionary influences. Based on an analysis of Japanese documents, this presentation examines policies the Navy inherited from the Germans and the state of the Marianas under Navy administration. Read paper here.

US Navy Submarine Patrols to the Mariana Islands in World War II
By Dave Lotz

Patrols by US Navy fleet submarines operating from Pearl Harbor and Australia contributed to the US Navy’s World War II seizure of the waters of the Marianas Archipelago from the Imperial Japanese Navy. US submarine missions evolved to meet the requirements of the US Navy Pacific Fleet – from the initial patrol of USS Thresher in February of 1942 until June of 1944 with the contributions of the US submarines in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Their missions included solitary long range patrols and wolf pack operations along with support of carrier operations. In essence, US submarines provided the opening salvos in the Battle for the Mariana Islands that commenced in early 1944 with the sinking of Japanese military reinforcements sent to the islands. This presentation provides a critical review of these operations. Read paper here.

Representations of War Memories on Guam from Three Perspectives Chamorro, Japanese and American
By Ryu Arai

Presently, Guam holds some memorial services for the victims of the Japanese occupation and WWII every July, for instance at Manenggon, Tinta, Faha and Fena. Moreover, every July 21, the “Liberation Parade,” which celebrates the “liberation of Guam,” is held on the island. This presentation considers war memories on Guam from three perspectives –“Chamorro”, “Japanese” and “American”. It examines the representation of war memories in commemorative events, specifically paying attention to the “empathy” for the people‟s situation on the island during that war expressed at the annual memorial services and “Liberation” ceremonies. This presentation thus takes account of the social circumstances in post war Guam that affect representation of war memories on the island. Read paper here.

American Era

The Early Political Status Talks on Saipan In The Early 1970’S Leading To The Plebiscite Vote On Us Commonwealth Status Of The Northern Mariana Islands: A Personal Perspective
By Guadalupe Camacho Borja-Robinson

From the ruins of World War II, Saipan has traveled a long journey to become a resort island for tourists from Asia and Russia. Today on Saipan, the Hyatt Regency, Pacific Islands Club and other major hotels cater to tourists who enjoy the island’s tropical waters and sandy beaches. How have the indigenous people of Saipan adapted to the economic and social changes that have taken place in the island in the last 68 years? As a Chamorro woman who was born on Saipan after the war and who lived and experienced many of those changes, I will discuss some of those economic and social transitions. This paper is not intended to be an exhaustive review; it merely is based on my experiences and observations. Read paper here.

Poster: I Kelat: The Fence, Historical Perspectives on Guam’s Changing Landscape
By the Guam Humanities Council

From village lawns, to låncho boundaries, to the wire fences enclosing U.S. military property, fences (and walls) have been a part of Guam’s landscape and mindscape for centuries. The exhibition “I Kelat” explores the relations between Chamorros and fences from historical, political, and cultural perspectives. It moves from the iconic, the familiar and tangible, to the less familiar and intangible, to the unforeseen and unexpected effects of fences. These relations are organized into four exhibit components: Fences and Walls as Chamorros Know Them; Early Chamorro Fences and Walls; Other “Sides” of the Fence; and Intangible and Unexpected Fences. Fences indicate property boundaries and are meant to demarcate and regulate social space and relations. By regulating what can be included, they also exclude. By fortifying and protecting, they also insulate and incarcerate. Fences and walls mark political, social, and cultural differences, including racial, gendered, and classed lines. View poster here.

Galvanizing Past and Present Threats to Chamorro Homelands
By Vicente (ben) Pangelinan

Enacted in 1975, the Chamorro Land Trust Act was a law envisioning homelands for Chamorros. Yet this concept lay dormant nearly twenty years before the government of Guam was forced to implement it, over objections by the Governor and Attorney General at the time. Why was opposition to the law drawn out, and how was this eventually overcome? This presentation outlines the work and sacrifice of those few who educated the entire community on the notion of native land rights, fought the government’s obstinate refusal to implement the law, and who ultimately achieved homelands for Chamorros in perpetuity. Today, we witness the first generation of Chamorros, previously disenfranchised from land ownership in Guam, to have homes and sustain their families through use of the land granted by leases under the Chamorro Land Trust. We witness, as well, the threats and strategies to protect this hard fought program for future generations. Read paper here.

Guardians of Gani: Protecting Pagan for Future Generations
By John Castro Jr. and Diego L. Kaipat

Pagan and all the Gani islands are of great importance to the people of the Mariana Islands. As Chamorros who live in the natural environment of their ancestors without modern conveniences and, having close family ties to the northern islands and have been blessed to have lived and visited the islands many times, these presenters share the wonders of Pagan. The presentation will include stories and pictures from trips to Pagan. This presentation discusses the many possibilities for sustainable progress in Pagan, but with the requisite indigenous knowledge and values that are connected to the sea and land. View presentation slides here.

A History of Marianas Reunification Efforts
By Don A. Farrell

In 1947, President Truman placed the former Japanese Mandated Islands of Micronesia into the United Nations trusteeship system. This guaranteed the people of those islands the right to self-determination. Differently, Guam’s political status was defined in 1950 when the US Congress adopted the Organic Act of Guam, granting the Chamorros of Guam US citizenship and limited self-government. These two developments began a series of dialogues on reunification between elected officials from Guam and the Marianas District of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. These dialogues culminated in 1969 in a joint plebiscite on reunification. The negative vote cast on Guam ended dialogues on reunification and drove the Northern Marianas toward an independent act of self-determination while Guam has yet to complete an act of self-determination. This paper discusses efforts that were made toward the political reunification of the Mariana Islands (1950-1969), the reasons they failed, and the possibility of future reunification efforts. Read paper here.

Conference proceedings

  1. Overview
  2. Art, Culture, and Science
  3. History of the Marianas Islands

Download proceedings

  1. Overview
  2. Art
  3. Culture
  4. Science
  5. Ancient Marianas History
  6. Spanish Era
  7. Japanese Era
  8. American Era

More on the Marianas History Conference