Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Creation Stories


In terms of situating Chamorro pasts and giving a founding meaning to their history and identity, Fu'una and Puntan, the two siblings who created Guam and Chamorros are generally given that great honor. They are thought of more and more as being the founding spirits, whether you see them as Gods, historical figures, metaphors or fantasies. They are taking a key place of meaning in terms of rooting Chamorro identity today, not as a spirit that was created in 1521 or 1668, but as something longer and having its own distinct origin. Even those who refuse to believe in Fu'una and Puntan as being spirits, but see them as possible historical figures, who may have been the ones to lead a voyage to Guam long ago, nonetheless reinforce their primacy.

In one of the earliest references that we have to Fu'una and Puntan, Fu'una herself is not even mentioned. Puntan is mentioned and so is his "sister," but she is hardly given a role. In this passage drawn from San Vitores' first impressions of Chamorro culture and Guam society, Puntan is mentioned alongside Chaife, another great, elder spirit. Chaife does not receive anywhere near as much attention as Puntan and Fu'una do. His existence is even more difficult to situate than the famous siblings. Fu'una and Puntan remain fairly consistent in terms of their representations in various documents, but Chaife isn't as fortunate.

San Vitores mentions Chaife as a key ideological point in terms of drawing Chamorros into a Catholic framework for their beliefs. Chaife according to him was a spirit that tormented souls and lived in a fiery domain called "Sasalaguan." There is clearly some truth to Chaife and his existence in Chamorro culture and it is possible that he was something similar to Fu'una and Puntan in terms of being a primal, central spiritual presence. There is another Chamorro creation story that involves Chaife, and is vastly different. In it Chaife is not a benevolent spirit who sacrifices for the benefit of the Chamorro people. He instead is an enslaver of souls, from whom a soul does escape and starts the race of Chamorros by creating them from clay and baking them in the sun, which infused them with life.

A version of that story is below from Georg Fritz. It is highly likely though that this version below used elements passed down through oral history and research, but was ultimately contrived by Fritz himself, a former German Governor in the Northern Marianas. Prior to learning that it was most likely false, I found it very intriguing to consider the Chaife story with Fu'una and Puntan together, as being two parts of the origin of the Chamorro people. Part of the newer version of Chaife's story is the way in which Chaife chases after the spirit that has escaped from Sasalaguan and attempts to capture it. In order to escape the spirit itself or one of its descendants continually transforms into things such as a bird, a fish, a lizard, to which Chaife creates natural catastrophes, storms, tsunamis and earthquakes to destroy it.

Leonard Irriarte from the group I Fanlalai'an first proposed to me the idea that Fu'una and Puntan could have been either the names of the leaders on an expedition that settled Guam centuries or millennia ago simply words associated with things which were brought or words used to describe their journey to the Marianas. In this context I was intrigued if Chaife could have represented some antagonistic figure in the long distant past, someone who chased the original settlers out of wherever they had come from and perhaps even followed them here to challenge them?

An interesting theory, one that I doubt is true, but nonetheless interesting in the way it provides some possible color or depth to something to which we known very little details about, the peopling of the Marianas millennia ago.

Below is the text from the original version of the Chaife legend described above from Georg Fritz.

*********************

Si Chaife
Un kuentos ginnen Marianas, sinangan put Georg Fritz

Si Chaife, estaba gi sanmena'an i fragua-na gi tahdong pappa' giya Sasalaguan ya mama'titinas ante siha para u gaitentago' ya u masesetbe.

Ya ha su'su'on i guaife duru ya i fragua mapta': pinigan acho' yan saddok guaife ha yute' siha gi hilo' i edda', ya un ante gumupu huyong ya poddong pappa' giya Funia gi tano' Guahan ya mama'acho'.

Lao i atdao ha na'maipe i acho', i ichan ha na'manana, ya i tasi ha na'huyunggui kalang taotao.

Ayu nai ha li'e' i taotao, na i tano' gatbo.

Guiya mama'titinas taotao siha ginnen i edda' yan hanom, ya ha fa'tinasi siha ante gi minaipen i atdao, na Guiya ha tungo' ginnen as Chaife; ya ha fa'na'an famagu'on i tano'...

 Lao annai Si Chaife ha li'e' na un ante malagu, ha aliligao gi todu i lugat para u puno'.

Un ha'ani ha sodda' un patgon i tano' na mata'ta'chong gi oriyan i tasi ya pine'lo-na na i aniti-na ni' i malagu.

Ya ha na'hanao un napun dangkolu', sa' i hanom, i guaife yan i manglo ha gubietbietna.

I napu i chule' huyong i patgon i tano', lao ti ha na'sina pumuno'; sa' i aniti-na ginnen i atdao, ya este ti ginetbietbietna as Chaife.

Ya i patgon i tano', mama'guihan.

Lao Si Chaife ha tatttiyi i guihan ya ha susugon halom gi un hagoi, ya ha po'lo' un guaife gi pappa' asta ki umangglo.

Lao i guihan ti sina matai ya mama'hilitai ya luma'la'la' gi halomtano'.

Ayu nai Si Chaife ha songge' i halomtano' lao i hilitai mama'ga'ga'gumumupu ya humanao.

Ya Si Chaife ha na'huyong un pakyo', ya este ha yute' i ga'ga'gumugupu gi un ladera ya hinilok i pappa-na - ya mama'taotao.

Ha i taotao yan i anten atdao ilek-na as Chaife: Dialo, Hagu ti sina yu' un puno' yan todu todu i nina'sina-mu, sa' i anti-hu ginnen i atdao.

Este ha atan ya ilek-na: Ginnen Sasalaguan i anti-mu, sa' Guahu na maisa fuma'tinas.

Lao i patgon i tano' umoppe: i ante ni' fumalagunaihon hao gaige giya Funia gi tano' Guahan, na mama'titinas palu ante gi minaipen i atdao.

Ya sen magahet!

Ha na'tungo' maolek ni' i ate, sa’ dialu, Guahu i fina’tinas-ña, un ånte ginnen i atdao, ya i ma’gas taitiningo’ tainina’sina para Guahu…

Annai Si Chaife ha hungok este, nina’luhan yan maggodai ya ha hakot.

Sumuha gui’ kalang fehman na påkyo’, i ha pa’lo’po i hilo’ i tano’, i ekso’ siha manmuta’ guåfe ya ha pañot meggai siha na tåno’.

Giya Fuñ, mababa i tano’ yan i tano’ ha pañot i tatan i taotao, lao i famagu’on-ña siha ti ha hulat pumuno’…

I lahin i tano’ ni’ ma tatitiyi dumångkolu’ yan gainina’sina, ya ha na’huyong un råsan metgot.

Lai taiminagof, sa’ ha tatanga i tano’ i anti-ña.

Entonses Si Chaife ha hihuti gui’ yan i chathinasso-ña ilek-ña, Guahu hu li’e’ i mañe’lu-mu giya Guahan gi tano’ manmagof.

I anten-ñiha ti manmå’ho, ti manñalang, manmagof ya manmaolek sa’ manhaspok.

Lao Hågu må’ho yan ñalang put i tano’-mu ni’ i malingu.

Pues maolek! Na’i un såhyan ya ta’lo guatu gi i tano’ i manmagof!

Ayu nai i patgon i tano’ ha na’i un såhyan ya i manglo siha chumule’ para Guahan, ya ha li’e’ i mañe’lu-ña siha.

Lao siha ti ma ketungo’ gui’, ya ti ma tungo’ i sinangan-ñiha; lao siha manmaolek nu Guiya ya ma nå’i ni’ guinahan-ñiha ya manmalago’ ha fakkai i ginefsaga’-ñiha yan Guiya.

Lao i ginefsaga’-ñiha yan i taitiningo’-ñiha nina’fanggaibinibu: ha fa’nu’i siha ni’ i taitahok-ñiha ennao muna’siha manmamahlao lao, ya ha nå’i siha ni’ i pinepblen guinahan-ñiha; ennao muna’desde på’go’ ha ingen i tinekcha’ i tano’-ña; ha fa’nå’gue siha hafa i tininas-ñaih yan i isao.

Ya ayu nai manlayo’ ni i minalate’-ña ya i tininås-ña ya ma chatli’e’ gui’, ya manachatli’e’ maisa ya i unu chinatli’e’ ni’ i otro.

Este para Si Chaife un minagof yan un chinalek, sa’ i chinatli’e’ yan i linayo’ i mas manguaiyayon na famagu’on-ña.

Siha ha gu’ot i korason taotao siha kalang i gamson yan i nifen i halu’u, ya ha yute’ pappa’ ginnen i ininan atdao, ni’ i gumogoggue siha, para i tinahdong giya Sasalåguan.

Guiya na maisa, na ha na’fåkpo’ i ha’åni-ña gi minahgong, makmåta’ gi i tano’ manmagof;

Annai i niyok yan i lemmai siha manmanonokcha’ mas maolek, ya i tasi manggaiguihan mas mange ki i hilo’ tåno’.

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