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Humanities Fridays 2020

The following webinars were featured throughout October of 2020, in honor of Humanities Month.


Sophia Perez – Tip of the Spear: How Mariana Islanders See Their Relationship with the US Military

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“Tip of the Spear” is a podcast series about the US military in the Marianas hosted by Saipan-based journalist Sophia Perez. Through a series of interviews with lawyers, politicians, activists, academics, and veterans from across the archipelago, “Tip of the Spear” unpacks the complex relationship between US forces and Mariana Islanders, a tie that dates back over a century and triggers a variety of positive, negative, and ambivalent responses from the local community. In our current moment, this relationship is more impactful than ever; the US Navy is pushing forward with a large-scale Mariana Islands military buildup in preparation for the arrival of 5,000 additional Marines to be housed on Guam and trained at live-fire ranges in the Northern Mariana Islands. These interviews capture what may be a final reflection on the current phase of US military presence in the Marianas.



Maureen Sebangiol, Marilynn Marron, & Pam Brown – Meet Soroptimist’s of the Northern Mariana Islands. 

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Join the Soroptimists of the Northern Mariana Islands (SINMI) as they share a brief history of their organization and projects, including their prime annual project – Live Your Dream Awards – scheduled on October 10th. Panelists will also discuss SINMI’s involvement in combatting human trafficking and providing assistance to victims of abuse here in the NMI.


Hanna Jugo –  Adaptive Strategies to Food Insecurity within the Chuukese Community of Guam.

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Food insecurity is a global phenomenon that describes the reduced quality, variety, and accessibility of nutritional food. It can affect every aspect of one’s life, from the ways one obtains food to the amount of time one spends hungry. While the nutritional side of food insecurity has been researched in Guam, the adaptive strategies used by its food insecure communities have yet to be explored. Because many of Guam’s resident cultures maintain their subsistence traditions, exploring their adaptive strategies may reveal practices unique to this region, especially when compared to our mainland counterparts. Using USDA survey tools and qualitative interviews, this study explored the adaptive strategies to food insecurity used within members of Guam’s Chuukese community. Participants revealed the ways they navigated the obstacles to food insecurity brought upon by Guam’s cash economy, all while keeping hold of their traditions and cultural values. The findings of this study could help improve existing food insecurity programs by increasing targeting urban agriculture and agroforestry practices.


Fu’una Sanz – I Tinilaikan Numiru gi Fino’ CHamoru: Changes in Chamorro Plurality.

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How do Chamorro speakers on Guam create plural sentences when describing situations involving two or more humans or animals? Learn more about a study that reveals a strong distinction between younger and older speakers’ use of plural forms, where younger speakers are not using plural sentences in the same way as older speakers. This shift in plural usage in Chamorro indicates a change in progress, and this study offers a glimpse into how this change is occurring. These findings are further evaluated against theories of language change to better understand the cause of the change and predict its future direction.


Vana Quichocho –  Håyi Ham På’go: Understanding How Chamoru Identity and Acculturation Styles Affect the Psychological Well-
Being of Third Generation World War II Chamoru People in Guam. 

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The Chamoru culture has been constantly evolving as the generations go by. Little to no investigation has been done about how the current generation exists within the culture. In this study, 10 Chamorus between the ages of 18-25 share their stories of their journeys with their cultural identity. Additionally, the ways they interact with outside cultures are also discussed. This study found that having a close connection to one’s Chamoru identity predicted a better quality of life. Remnants from the WWII generation are still present in Chamoru people today. Navigating what it means to be Chamoru is important for oneself and one’s community.


Joey P. San Nicholas & Kimberly King-Hinds – Ti Un Chuli’ Hulu’ Gi Langhet


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In spite of centuries of foreign rule, many of the Northern Mariana Islands’ Chamorro and Carolinian customs remain.  In probate cases and matters concerning the distribution of family land, the CNMI Supreme Court adopts and applies Chamorro and Carolinian customary law.  Join Attorneys Joey P. San Nicolas and Kimberly King-Hinds as they discuss the application of Chamorro and Carolinian customs such poksai, mwei mwei, partida, testamento, and iyon manaina in CNMI probate cases.


Kayle Tydingco – Tiningo’ Famalåo’an: Oral Histories & Non-fiction Stories of Chamorro Women

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In recent years, an increasing number of scholarly works have been published by and about Chamorro women, but this women-centered scholarship, like Laura Torres Souder’s Daughters of the Island (1992) and Guampedia’s Famalao’an Guåhan (2019), focuses primarily on the lives of “women organizers” and “extraordinary women” in Guam history. The Chamorro women that Souder interviewed often recognized their mothers or grandmothers as essential to their development and empowerment, yet literature on “ordinary women” in Chamorro history has been scarce. If Chamorros are a matrilineal and matrifocal society, as prominent scholars claim, shouldn’t there be more scholarship on the matriarchs that have helped shape generations?
Through oral history interviews, I explore the life choices of three post-WWII Chamorro women to uncover the ways Chamorro women navigate their life choices, positioned at the intersections of Chamorro culture, Catholicism, and U.S. colonialism. I conclude this presentation with a discussion of the ways creative non-fiction short stories can bridge the gap between theory and practice, between academia and the island community.


Arielle Lowe – Pakaka i Pachot-mu! Chamoru Yu’! An Analysis of Guam’s Chamaole Narratives

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What does it mean to be Chamaole from Guam? Despite having both Chamorro and haole ancestry, I grew up in a Chamorro family and was instilled with our island’s cultural values. While I primarily identify as Chamorro, others from Guam, at times, perceive me to be haole. In this talk, I will share my story, along with those of three other poets from Guam: Lehua M. Taitano, Corey Santos, and Jessica Perez-Jackson. Poems written by these authors, as well as interviews I conducted with them will be shared. The purpose of this project is to help others develop a sense of “whole” identities, rather than “part” or “less than.” After my talk, we will participate in a writing workshop, where we can create a shared space to discuss what it means to grow up in the Marianas, where many of our families come from different heritage backgrounds.


Leonard Leon – Super Typhoon Yutu: The Human Experience 

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On October 25, 2018, Super Typhoon Yutu made landfall on the islands of Tinian and Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). The Category-5 storm rampaged through these islands with heavy rains, flying debris, and winds of up to 180 mph forcing residents to seek shelter in cars, bathtubs, and closets. This presentation features photos of this catastrophic event and the stories of residents who managed to survive to demonstrate the theme of strength and resiliency among the people of the CNMI.


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