Biba Taotao Tano
A Weekly Address
By Eddie Baza Calvo
If you took a drive around the island this past month, or dropped your children off to school, or even stopped into the bank for an errand, you would have been touched by the Chamorro spirit.
And it wasn’t just on Guam! From San Diego to Tacoma, Austin to the District of Columbia, our fellow Guamanians everywhere were celebrating what it means to be taotao Chamorro.
And more than just celebrating, they were sharing our unique culture with those around them. They were telling stories of our people, sharing photos of the sunsets you can only find in Tumon or Malesso. They were making kelaguen, writing recipes for finadene and explaining the difference between red rice and Spanish rice.
Because although these Guamanians may be far from home, the inafa’maolek spirit thrives within. It’s walking around in a crowded city and spotting the one Guam seal t-shirt, running to them and saying, “Chelu I miss home! What village are you from?”
It’s being able to have those conversations with a complete stranger, thousands of miles from home, and finding out you’re related. It’s being able to make a friend that quickly — and getting and invitation to the next barbecue.
And this is what’s so special about our people: It’s that no matter where you are in the world, the Chamorro spirit keeps us connected. Whether we’re telling stories of fiestas past; cooking up nana’s latiya; deciding if uncle Chu’s tinala katne is better than Uncle Ton’s; or even if we’re saying the novena at Christmas while it’s snowing outside — our culture thrives. And with more than 150,000 Guamanians throughout the world, this same spirit is being shared with others.
Although Mes Chamorro may be coming to a close, our heritage is only growing stronger… The stories, the events and the field trips our students have taken this month have taken root and given them a sense of pride. They’ll soon join other young Guamanians who are organizing clubs at colleges and universities around the world, boasting and sharing their culture with their friends. They’ll join thousands of others who are telling the stories of our people — their ingenuity, perseverance and how close they are to their families.
The resounding message of Mes Chamorro is simple: our culture is more than the food, chants, dances, and language — it’s the people who share them with the world. It’s Guamanians young and old, military families or college students. It’s members of organizations like Mane’lun Guahan, the Sons and Daughters of Guam in San Diego, CHE’LU in San Diego, the Marianas Taotao Tano Club at Seattle University and the Guam Society of America. It’s these Guamanians who are proud to proclaim themselves Chamorro that truly keep our culture alive.
Let’s all remember that even though Mes Chamoru has come to an end, the celebration of our people lives on every day…
Biba Mes Chamorro… Biba Taotao Tano… Un dÃ¥nkulo na Si Yu’os Ma’Ã¥se…
Governor Calvo sends this week’s address out to all Guamanians, near and far, thanking everyone for keeping the Chamorro culture alive by sharing the heritage with others.
The text of the address is pasted below and you can view the video by clicking here.