Fishermen and hunters

Ancient Chamorros 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, Chamorros 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), Chamorros have become skilled hunters of them as well.

In 1919, Chamorros became mane’echa’ka (rat hunters) after Governor William Gilmer decreed that all Chamorro 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.