admin's picture

By Agnes E. Donato

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Sept. 20) – Over 100 Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas residents paid tribute to Chief Aghurubw on Saturday for leading his people from the Caroline Islands, in what is now the Federated States of Micronesia, to the Northern Marianas.

Led by the Chief Aghurubw Foundation, the 34th annual commemoration of the Carolinian chief's bravery was held on Managaha Island with a traditional Mass, speeches from the Commonwealth's leaders, and a sumptuous feast.

The dignitaries who paid tribute to the Carolinian chief were House Speaker Benigno R. Fitial, Saipan Mayor Juan B. Tudela, and the governor's special assistant for administration, Tom Tebuteb.

"Today, here on Managaha, I see the proud descendants of Chief Aghurubw. And I can say that I am proud of the colorful Chamolinian blend of cultures that we have on Saipan. This is a beautiful cultural rainbow, something very unique, and something for which we should all be very proud and thankful [for]," Mayor Tudela said. "I urge us all to work together to strengthen our cultures and traditions, not just for our own benefit, but for the benefit of future generations to come."

Reps. Benjamin Seman and Rey Tebuteb, Office of Aging director Joseph M. Palacios and the man'amko, and members of the Carolinian community were also present at the celebration.

A village chief from the island of Satawal, Chief Aghurubw sailed from the Caroline Islands in 1815 to find food and water for his villagers after a major typhoon hit their islands. In a succeeding voyage, Chief Aghurubw resettled his people on Saipan, but only after seeking permission from then Governor Medinilla.

Chief Aghurubw's remains lie on Managaha Island.

The selection of the celebration date was based on the time Chief Aghurubw's monument on Managaha was finished.

The commemoration is part of the celebration of September as Cultural Heritage Month, which was declared through a proclamation last Aug. 31 by Gov. Juan N. Babauta.

"Cultural Heritage Month serves several purposes," a part of the proclamation read. "First, it provides a framework for many different cultural activities by different indigenous groups and individuals. Second, our indigenous cultures enhance the attractiveness, charm, and uniqueness of our islands, which are of interest to our visitors and tourists. Third, and most importantly, Cultural Heritage Month helps us preserve our cultures and traditions by passing them on to younger generations."

Because the Commonwealth has two indigenous people, each group will be given a week to celebrate and showcase their cultures.

The CNMI was originally inhabited by the ancient Chammoro people.

Babauta declared Sept. 26 as a day for Chief Aghurubw, as well as all traditional chiefs. A special Mass will be held on that date in honor of all the chiefs.

September 20, 2004

Saipan Tribune

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment