4th Marianas History Conference 2019 Book III: History

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CHamoru “Adaptive Resistance” During the Spanish Conquest and Colonization of the Marianas Islands By David Atienza, PhD University of Guam datienza@triton.uog.edu Abstract: Mainstream history of the Mariana Islands presents the CHamoru as indigenous people who were transformed after the conquest (1668–1700) into a Hispanicized population losing their Austronesian cultural tradition. I instead emphasize the role of CHamorus during these years as active participants in their history and vehicles of what I call “adaptive resistance.” In this paper I present some of the ideological interpretations that have been included in the historical narrative. They have been accepted without conducting a critical analysis of the sources and have been crucial to establish this narrative.

Anthropologists have long accepted, with great relief, that our discipline renounced the search for absolute objectivity demanded, paradoxically, by many other sciences. The acquiescence to reality has allowed us to accept alternative sources of knowledge, such as poetry, novels, or songs. It allows us also to be missionaries, dancers or even pirates, or all at once. We abandoned the schizophrenic use of the third person of the plural in our writings and embraced our authorship, our “I.” Claiming our authorship, we acknowledged our passions and mistakes. This acceptance better equipped us to deal with the contradictions and complexities enclosed in historical events and their commemorations. While reflecting on the anniversary of the arrival of Magellan to these islands, we have seen that there are different perspectives of the same historical event. The Government of the Philippines claims today that Lapu Lapu’s killing of Magellan should be the main event to commemorate in 2021. Meanwhile, the Spaniards will celebrate with pride Magellan’s or Juan Sebastián Elcano’s incredible achievement.