4th Marianas History Conference 2019 Book III: History

Page 197

Our Hispanic Heritage The Key to Broadening Chamorro Cultural Awareness By Clark Limtiaco Independent Researcher Chamorro-Hispanic Culture and Heritage guamsensei@yahoo.com Abstract: We Chamorros are no strangers to our Hispanic heritage. Or are we? Many of us view the Spanish influence as something circumstantial and superficial, unaware that many Chamorro customs and traditions have deep Hispanic roots. As Chamorros, we too, form part of the Hispanic cultural realm. In spite of heavy Americanization, our culture remains deeply Hispanic. Each time we shout, “Biba Chamorro,” our Hispanic heritage comes alive. Still, the Marianas continues to be ignored by most scholars in both Spain and Mexico. Our Hispanic heritage can be a powerful tool to connect us with the custodians of most of our written history. Promoting Spanish language ability will allow our native scholars to collaborate directly with their Spanish speaking counterparts, further advancing Marianas history scholarship. Participation by native Chamorro scholars in history conferences and Hispanic cultural events (in Spain, Mexico, etc.) will stimulate interest and will widen Marianas/ Chamorro awareness beyond Oceania.

With over three hundred years of Spanish history, we Chamorros are no strangers to its influence on our culture. Or are we? On the surface it can be very obvious. Many of us bear Spanish surnames, we celebrate fiestas, and we count, “uno, dos, tres.” But how much of our own Chamorro culture can we identify as being a direct result of that influence? Most of us are unaware of the Spanish origins of much of our Chamorro culture. Americanization