By Lori Lyn Lirio
IN a bid to make young Chamorros to experience their culture, Guma’Simiyan Manaina-Ta sent 19 students to Guam for a cultural immersion tour which began today and will last until Sunday.
Guma founder and instructor Luis John Castro said the cultural immersion tour will allow the students to learn more about Chamorro culture in the different islands that make up the Marianas.
Guma’Simiyan Manaina-Ta is a non-profit organization that aims to give individuals an opportunity to experience the uniqueness of the Chamorro culture through visual and performing arts.
“This will be their chance to learn a little bit more about Chamorro history. Our histories are intertwined. The Chamorros of the Marianas all came at the same time and they populated the islands. We wanted to show them that we are one Marianas,” Castro said.
According to Castro, Pa’a Taotao Tano, mother organization of Chamorro cultural groups, will host and assist the groups all over the world that will showcase Chamorro traditional arts. He said it will be a big gathering as many
Chamorro dance groups from CNMI, West Coast U.S. and Japan will go to Guam.
Initially, the group was planning on participating in the Dinanna Pa’a, Guam’s biggest cultural celebration on June 29 to July 2.
“Due to flight problem, we were unable to join,” Castro said, adding that the group will make sure that they will be on Guam’s Liberation Day and the cultural immersion organized by the Pa’a Taotao Tano.
In the past, Castro said the group were subsidized by sister organizations in Guam.
“But due to their budget restraint, we have to pay for our own tour.”
]During the fundraising event, the students did a 20-minute cultural dance. They showcase the Chamorros’ way of life as farmer, fishermen, and as navigators.
Edward Ogo, 22, Guma’s vice chairman, said it is highly recommended that students should join the cultural immersion tour, especially the Dinanna Minagot.
“In my opinion, it is good for us to go there and showcase CNMI style of dancing because we dance a little bit from them [Guam]. It will also be a good experience for the kids and witness our culture in different ways and become one together by showcasing our dance moves and meeting our elders,” said Ogo, who has been a member of Guma since he was 17 years old.
“It is recommended to get in touch with their culture especially Chamorro. It is a good way to build cultural exchange. In my experience it is a great thing to do to meet different locals, who have different stories. You get to experience what they experienced through their story,” Ogo added.