Brandon L. Cruz
Brandon L. Cruz is a CHamoru chanter and advocate for the accuracy of CHamoru (Taotao Håya) history and culture.
Born on Guåhan, Cruz is the son of Arlene Diaz Cruz, Manggåfan Cruz (Je’je’), Torres, Untalan, and Diaz; and the son Joseph P. Cruz, Manggåfan Cruz (Indo’), Delgado, and Pablo (Toro). At age 13, Cruz moved to Mesa, Arizona, and attended Sun Valley High School, where he excelled in his studies and extracurricular activities, and led various school clubs. Also in high school, he began to struggle with his personal identity, which fueled his desire to learn more about his history and culture.
Cruz returned to Guåhan in 2004 and graduated from Simon Sanchez High School in 2006. He then attended the University of Guam, earning a bachelor’s degree in Communications and a master’s in History with a concentration in Public History.
Cruz has chanted with I Fanlalai’an Oral History Project since 2005. He has also worked on and completed film projects such as Chanting Through Time, I Tinituhon: Rediscovering Fo’na and Pontan, and Fo’na yan Pontan: Marianas Creation Story. These films give insight into the CHamoru/Taotao Håya past, the quest for authenticity, and cultural practices not understood widely today.
Cruz advocates reviving pre-Spanish CHamoru terms and is one of the people to reintroduce the words Manggåfa (family), and Fo’na and Pontan (the brother and sister in the CHamoru creation story). Manggåfa, Fo’na, and Pontan have been formally adopted into usage at the Guam Museum.
Cruz has worked at Bank of Guam for 11 years. He started as a teller while pursuing his undergraduate degree. He has since worked his way up to lead the Bank of Guam branch in Kosrae.