Fishermen and hunters

Ancient CHamorus were avid hunters both on land and sea. They developed many methods of eguihan (fishing), ranging from etupak (line fishing), lagua’ (net fishing), fisga (long spears used), stupefying fish with puting (sap), training them with a poiu or pugi (a chumming device) to lure in fish by feeding them from the depths into shallower waters then captured.

On land, CHamorus hunted the fanihi and ayuyu. E’fanihi (to hunt for fruit bat) used a lagua’ attached to a long wooden pole to snare the creatures as they flew by searching for fruit. E’ayuyu (to hunt for coconut crabs) used ponne or tahu (stale grated coconut meat) used as a lure for crabs. Since the Spanish introduction of the binådu (deer) and babui (pigs), CHamorus have become skilled hunters of them as well.

In 1919, CHamorus became mane’echa’ka (rat hunters) after Governor William Gilmer decreed that all CHamoru males must deliver five dead rats each month or pay a fine.

By Michael Lujan Bevacqua, PhD

For further reading

Cunningham, Lawrence J. Ancient Chamorro Society. Honolulu: Bess Press, 1992.

Guam Council for the Arts and Humanities. A Journey with the Masters of Chamorro Tradition. Hagåtña: Guam Council for the Arts and Humanities, 2000.

Russell, Scott. Tiempon I Manmofo’na: Ancient Chamorro Culture and History of the Northern Mariana Islands._ Micronesian Archaeological Survey Report 32. Saipan: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: CNMI Division of Historic Preservation, 1998.