Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Pinagat I Maga'lahi Hurao

Speech given by Maga'lahi Hurao, 1671 while rallying Chamorros to battle against the Spanish...

The Spaniards would have done better to remain in their own country. We have no need of their help to live happily. Satisfied with what our islands furnish us, we desire nothing. The knowledge which they have given us has only increased our needs and stimulated our desires. They find it evil that we do not dress. If that were necessary, nature would have provided us with clothes. They treat us as gross people and regard us as barbarians. But do we have to believe them? Under the excuse of instructing us, they are corrupting us. They take away from us the primitive simplicity in which we live.

They dare to take away our liberty, which should be dearer to us than life itself. They try to persuade us that we will be happier, and some of us had been blinded into believing their words. But can we have such sentiments if we reflect that we have been covered with misery and illness ever since those foreigners have come to disturb our peace?

Before they arrived on the island, we did not know insects. Did we know rats, flies, mosquitoes, and all the other little animals which constantly torment us? These are the beautiful presents they have made us. And what have their floating machines brought us? Formerly, we do not have rheumatism and inflammations. If we had sickness, we had remedies for them. But they have brought us their diseases and do not teach us the remedies. Is it necessary that our desires make us want iron and other trifles which only render us unhappy?

The Spaniards reproach us because of our poverty, ignorance and lack of industry. But if we are poor, as they tell us, then what do they search for? If they didn't have need of us, they would not expose themselves to so many perils and make such efforts to establish themselves in our midst. For what purpose do they teach us except to make us adopt their customs, to subject us to their laws, and to remove the precious liberty left to us by our ancestors? In a word, they try to make us unhappy in the hope of an ephemeral happiness which can be enjoyed only after death.

They treat our history as fable and fiction. Haven't we the same right concerning that which they teach us as incontestable truths? They exploit our simplicity and good faith. All their skill is directed towards tricking us; all their knowledge tends only to make us unhappy. If we are ignorant and blind, as they would have us believe, it is because we have learned their evil plans too late and have allowed them to settle here. Let us not lose courage in the presence of our misfortunes. They are only a handful. We can easily defeat them. Even though we don't have their deadly weapons which spread destruction all over, we can overcome them by our large numbers. We are stronger than we think! We can quickly free ourselves from these foreigners! We must regain our former freedom!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

you should really put the Chamorru verion of that speech in there. It will help people seperate us from all the other races of the world. Because our language is the only thing that seperates us from the other races of the world.
I can help you with the first part because i recite it everytime we perform.

Manmaolek'na-ha mohon yanngen managa-ha' i taotao lagu siha' gi tano niha'. ti man-malagu hit ni' inakuden niha' para tan fanla'la maolek. Mannahong hit ni guina'han i tano'ta. taya ta'lo ginagagao-ta'.

Sahuma Minagahet said...

Magåhet hao na maolekña na bei po’lo magi i pinagat Hurao gi fino’ Chamoru. Bei kealigao ya gigon sinedda’ bai hu fa’post gui’. Si Yu'us Ma'ase.

On your other point however, I don’t think that we should be on a continual journey to find what is “unique” about our culture and always work to high-light what separates us from everyone else. Any and all aspects of a culture which people say makes them unique is always momentarily or transitory, meaning it can and while change. The quest to finding these sorts of things is actually a remnant from anthropology, because when anthropologists traveled the world looking for primitive, backwards and different cultures, they searched and wrote about things based not simply on what they found, but what they found that was “unique” to this culture. One of the reasons that Chamorros have been largely left out of the history of the Pacific (made by both native peoples and non-native peoples) is because anthropologists and historians deemed them (because of colonization and change in culture and language) as not existing anymore, and not possessing anything which would either make them unique or make them Chamorro. It is important that we do not continue this colonial game by only embracing the things which “make us unique” but rather confront all aspects of Chamorro culture, and then make decisions based on what should stay, what should be changed, what should be fought for and defended, and what should be rejected. I agree with you on the importance of Chamorro language, but I think that the position that we should speak and defend our language because it separates us from all other races or makes us unique is limiting and misguided. For me, we should speak it and defend it because it is ours, and because we should spit in the faces of those who told us that need to get rid of the language and stop speaking it in order to survive.

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