A documentary film about the Mariana people launched to end historical lies

Rlene Santos Steffy addresses the Rotary Club of Guam. Image ©

IN A bid to end the spread of biased or make believe events, ethnographer and oral historian Rlene Santos Steffy said iTinaotao Marianas, a documentary film about the peopling of Marianas, should be used by public and private schools in educating the children of the Marianas so “that they will be grounded in the knowledge of their own history.”

According to Steffy, she got tired of individuals that were making things up as they went along which made her doubt what she was reading in the newspaper, listening to on the radio or what she is watching on television regarding historical situations pertaining to the Mariana Islands.

“I also saw a lot of slant, bias or make believe of presenting historical events and got tired of hearing it. I wanted to hear rational explanations for what happened,” she said.

Steffy explained that this also motivated her to interview the individuals who research history, geography, language, culture, archaeology and religion, government operations, business, cultural art and economics as she now noticed “the absence of any comprehensive and collective works – like iTinaotao Marianas.”

Steffy said the whole process began for her as an education and enrichment effort to all aspects of the peopling of the Marianas.

“For many years, I have watched the arrival of scholars from other places come to Guam or the NMI to present their research and findings about the history of the Mariana Islands, and I would contact them to interview. They agreed and I’d conduct in-depth interviews. It wasn’t one or two but all the historical events that occurred in the Marianas and Micronesia that I was interested in.”

“It appeared to me that there may even have been a concerted effort to ‘fantasize, create and actually justify or in some cases even diminish the crimes committed in the past in the name of progress, justifying the means to an end, as in the case of Catholicism,” according to Steffy.

The iTinaotao Marianas program has professional and qualified scholars addressing the rich history of the Marianas. Steffy said.

“They (the public and students) will be better informed and able to engage in a meaningful conversation with whomever it is that wants to discuss the history of the Marianas with them—with full confidence that what they have learned is backed up by years of research, and flushed out in conversation with other scholars on the subject,” Steffy assured.

“I am confident that once a person spends time watching and listening to the half-hour episodes, they will never be deer-eyed and confused about the history of the Marianas again,” she added.

Lori Lyn Lirio
Lori Lyn C. Lirio is a veteran newshen having worked for the People's Journal Tonight for more than 10 years. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications degree from the Lyceum of the Philippines University. She currently writes for the Marianas Variety, Saipan's number one community paper. .

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