4th Marianas History Conference 2019 Book III: History

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An Gumupu Sakman (When the Proa Flies) History of the Chamorro Sakman By Arthur A. De Oro Director Community Development Institute Northern Marianas College arthur.deoro@marianas.edu Abstract: The one Chamorro technological achievement that was revered by European explorers of the 16th through 18th centuries was the Chamorro flying proa or sakman. From Magellan’s first sighting of the Marianas to Anson’s drawings of 1742, the sakman was regarded as the Ferrari or Porsche of the sailing world. It was a thing of beauty, speed, and craftsmanship. Chamorros were highly regarded as expert boat builders, sailors and fishermen. That knowledge, skill and innovation was nearly lost when colonization of the Marianas was complete. Fast-forward to the 21st century to find the Chamorro renaissance of the celebrated sakman. 500 Sails, a Saipan based nonprofit organization is writing a complete history of the sailing traditions of the Marianas. It includes European accounts, a Chamorro lexicon of nautical terms and parts of the sakman, a sailing curriculum, and the people and organizations that are leading the revival of the Chamorro flying proa.

Editor’s Note: This paper, presented at the Marianas History Conference, was not made available for publication. Presentation slides on following page.