Saturday, October 24, 2009

I'll Be Sitting at the Transitional Table this Weekend

I didn't even realize it, but my name was mentioned in both The Marianas Variety and The Pacific Daily News this week. This Saturday, October 24th from 1 - 3 pm, my grandfather, Tun Jack Lujan and myself will be presenting on the history of Chamorro blacksmithing and traditional tools, at the T. Stell Newman Center outside of Big Navy. Our presentation is part of the exhibit Transitional Table: Guam's Shifting Food Traditions During and After World War II. The exhibit opened at the museum on October 13th and will remain open until November 21st. As I wrote about earlier on this blog, I helped with the researching and the writing of this exhibit, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

In his presentation, grandpa will talk about his experiences growing up and being taught to be a blacksmith by his father Tun Marianao L.G. Lujan, and also his experiences blacksmithing during World War II, and how him and his father helped provide necessary tools for Chamorro farmers who were forced to provide crops and food for the occupying Japanese troops. As part of his presentation he will display several tools made before and during World War II.

For my part I will be talking about the history of Chamorro tools, and transitions that Chamorros made from once using cheggai, hayu and to'lang for their tools, to the incorporating lulok or metal, thus creating the array of tools that Chamorro farmers and gardeners use today. Since, I'm learning about blacksmithing now from grandpa, I'm sure I'll also discuss issues of legacy and what sort of plans we have for ensuring that this art doesn't die when grandpa stops working on it.

Annai humanao yu' para i gima' grandma yan grandpa pa'go, ilek-na Si grandma na hu sodda' yu' dos biahi gi i gasetan este simana. Ha fa'nu'i yu' i dos gaseta, ya pues hu espiha siha gi i internet. Ma post i dos guini pappa'.

If you have time on Saturday afternoon, and are interested in seeing more and learning more about Herroron Chamoru, i lina'l'a-niha yan i fina'tinas-niha, or in other words Chamorro blacksmiths, their lives and their works, please come down and join us. There is no admission fee, pues ti sina un fa'dagi na taya' salape-mu.


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From the October 21, 2009 Pacific Daily News:

Guam’s food history: Learn about the island’s shifting food traditions at ‘Transitional Table’
By Amritha Alladi

Spam wasn’t always a staple of the Chamorro diet. It was introduced to the island after World War II.

Guam residents can follow the island’s dietary changes through the second leg of the Guam tour of the Smithsonian Institution’s “Key Ingredients: America by Food,” exhibition.

“Transitional Table,” which explores how food traditions changed on the island during and after the Second World War, is now on display at the War in the Pacific National Historical Park in Asan.

The exhibition will consist of 70 historical photos depicting daily life and food traditions pre-war, during Japanese occupation and post-war, according to Monaeka Flores, coordinator of administration, marketing and programs for the Guam Humanities Council.

She says many of the native food traditions were revived because there were no imports coming in at that time.

“A lot of the older methods were revived. Farming and fishing became more important during the occupation,” she says.

However, immediately following the war, Guam was introduced to C- and K-rations including spam, which has become a huge part of the local diet today, she says. Thus, a presentation on Nov. 18 by University of Guam’s nutrition professor, Rachel Leon Guerrero, will address health issues caused by those dietary changes.

A collection of tools made by Chamorro blacksmith Jack Lujan on Oct. 24 will showcase the old tools used for farming at that time, of which the machete and fosiños gardening hoe were the most commonly used, according to Lujan’s grandson, Michael Lujan Bevacqua.

“Most Chamorros were forced to work on municipal farms,” Bevacqua says. “They were pushed to continue to make tools that were needed by the Japanese.”

Other presentations scheduled for Nov. 7 and Nov. 14 will include former military chefs and stewards who will share their stories of how they started off as mess hall attendees and worked their way to cook for former presidents and secretaries of defense. They include the late Adrian Sanchez, who cooked for Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, and Emanuel Diaz who was a surviving Chamorro steward on one of the ships during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Flores says.

“He (Diaz) came home and brought back the skills for huge fiesta planning and shared a lot of his skills with the community,” Flores says. “These gentlemen faced a regular system of discrimination, overcame a lot of the obstacles doing jobs they really didn’t want to do, and a lot of them really exceeded expectations.” It was similar to the discrimination African-Americans faced in the mainland, she says.

“Key Ingredients” explores the evolution of American food and how eating habits and celebrations have become a veritable melting pot to incorporate the flavors and traditions of the country’s many inhabitants.

The traveling exhibition is designed to serve rural, under-privileged communities by setting up at local venues and partnering with community organizations.

The Smithsonian Traveling exhibition will next be stationed at the Guam Community College after Nov. 21.

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Spam and the genesis of Guam diet .
Monday, 12 October 2009 23:13 by Zita Y. Taitano
Marianas Varietey News Staff

Ever wonder how Spam became a popular food item for Guam? You will get the history behind Spam’s popularity, among others, at an exhibit that tells about Guam’s shifting food traditions tonight at the National Parks Service T. Stell Newman Visitor Center in Sumay.

The exhibit is the second part of the Smithsonian Institution’s “Key Ingredients – American by Food” tour, featuring a local view called Transitional Table, which focuses on how the types of dishes on Guam have changed during and after World War II.

The first leg of the tour featured the “Rice Festival” and was sponsored by the Guam Women’s Club. This particular event showcased the different uses of rice from various countries.

Dr. Kimberlee Kihleng, GHC executive director, said the new component of the food festival takes a look at how food on Guam has been altered after the war and how Spam, corned beef and navy biscuits became part of the local diet.

“Of course, we’re looking at the bigger picture about the American influence, American colonialism and how that has changed the diet after World War II and looking at new things that have come about because of that,” Kihleng said.

The project took about two months to put together, said Monaeka Flores, GHC administration coordinator. Local artist Michael Lujan Bevacqua, who is also a humanities scholar, helped in the preparations for the project.

Flores said they did research, photo archived, and even interviewed survivors of WWII. They were also able to pull stories from the council’s documentary production of “Families under siege”.

“When people tell stories on Guam, food is like a central part of story telling in itself. People would often recall an event with the kind of foods they ate, what they had to do for food, so almost every recollection of World War II experience has a reference to food,” she said.

The six-week exhibit also includes a series of programs and lectures by scholars, chefs and cultural food experts on food traditions. There will be photo displays in addition to artifacts from the era, as well as story-telling by manamko, who will talk about what foods they ate in order to survive the war and how they were prepared.

The event opening begins at 6 p.m. The exhibit, which will continue on through Nov. 21, is hosted by the Guam Humanities Council, in partnership with the War in the Pacific National Historical Park and the Arizona Memorial Museum Association.


Program Event Schedule:
10/17 – Curator’s Corner: WWII Saki Cups and Tokai Maru ceramic ware - 1 to 3 p.m.
10/21 – Curator’s Exhibit Tour – 6 p.m.
10/24 – Families Under Siege Part I with Jack Lujan and Michael Lujan Bevacqua – 1 to 3 p.m.
10/28 – Families Under Siege Part II with Toni Ramirez and panelists – 6 p.m.
10/31 – Curator’s Corner – Canteens – 1 to 3 p.m. (Also includes Living Through Invasion – Through the eyes of a 5-year-old presented by Mariana Gabriel and U’zeum Children’s Discovery Museum)
11/4 – Families Under Siege Part III with Rita Franquez and panelists – 6 p.m.

1 comment:

roxanne said...

We here at Smithsonian's Museum on Main Street just love your blog and the way its contents compliment the Key Ingredients exhibit so nicely. We would love to speak with you further about the event at which you presented with your grandfather this past weekend. Thank you!

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