CHAMORRO SEAFARERS RE-ENACT GUAM LANDING

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By Odessa McCarty

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (March 11, 2002 – Pacific Daily News)---The first people to settle on Guam -- the Chamorros -- used the stars and the spirits of the sea to reach the island, a traditional navigator said.

Seafarers aboard a traditional, hand-carved canoe disembarked yesterday upon reaching shore at Umatac Bay.

They were re-enacting the first landing of the Chamorro people here, which happened approximately 4,000 years ago.

After the re-enactment, dancers and young children in traditional costumes welcomed the seafarers with fruit baskets, music and dancing along the shore.

The event, a part of Discovery Day celebrations, was portrayed by the University of Guam's Traditional Seafaring Society.

Members relived the methods ancient Chamorros used to travel the seas, said Manny Sikau, a traditional navigation expert and teacher for the society.

Traditional seafaring uses the stars, waves, sun and sea creatures to navigate at sea, said Sikau, who is in the seventh generation of his family to learn the ancient craft.

Sikau said traditional navigation also means having a spiritual relationship with the sea.

"You have to learn and know all these things before you become a navigator, and then you'll know where you are at sea," Sikau said.

Traditional navigation is not fading from Chamorro culture because many young people have a new and growing interest in the craft, he said.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam). 

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