**I Pinipu yan i Pilan (Pendant Necklace)
Pinipu yan I Pilan: Historical Significance
Pinipu are perforated shell disks by ancient Chamorro crafted into bead strung together and used as necklaces. The perforated orange-white bead shells crafted from the Spondylus Oyster shells were used as ornaments and also as an ancient form of currency. Interestingly, many other cultures including some Native American tribes value the Spondylus Oyster shells to make contemporary jewelry. The seashells were vessels of life that pre-date the arrival of the indigenous people of the Mariana Islands.
Pulan has two significant meanings in the Chamorro language and culture: 1) it not only refers to the moon; but, 2) it also means to watch over or take care of someone or something. The moon, watches over us nightly. Our ancestors have used its characteristics as a calendar of seasons (13 months) for farming, fishing, and harvesting. The white clam shell is a symbol of the moon (pulan).
I Pinipu yan i Pilan. Therefore, within this particular jewelry (alåhas) that I have crafted, the combination of shells as a pendant signifies prosperity (in terms of flourishing mentally and physically in life) and to strive to live in harmony with our environment: we must take care of and watch over not just ourselves and our people, but also includes the air we breathe, the land and waters and the resources they naturally provide for us so that our children’s children may be able to enjoy the same to sustain future generations to come. These shells and conceptual values passed on from our ancestors become a part of our children’s wealth (guinahan famagu'hon).
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Toka’ (spelled “Toca” in Fray Juan Pobre’s 1602 account) was a “native principal” who lived in Guaco, Rota.
Marjorie Driver. 1988. Fray Juan Pobre de Zamora: Hitherto Unpublished Accounts of his Residence in the Mariana Islands. Journal of Pacific History, Vol. 23, No. 1, 86-9, April.
(Note: As a reminder or in case you started following my research tidbits, many of our ancestors from the Mariana Islands are either nameless or are vaguely described with their name in historical documents. I have plans to one day publish an index names I do come across from the 1600 and 1700s. The photo above is not a picture of him; only a representation of him.)
Chamorro Roots Genealogy Project Snapshot
What we have, what we own, and what we will share....
The journey to FestPac included the first ever Festival of Chamorro Arts (FoCHA) in San Diego, CA sponsored by the Chamorro Hands in Education Links Unity (CHELU) back on January 16, 2016. FoCHA was the introductory event for the Guam Delegates selected from the diaspora (those residing away from our Islands).
During the morning part of FoCHA I presented an on-stage 15 minute overview of the Chamorro Diaspora. Later that afternoon, I conducted a 45 minute Chamorro Roots Genealogy Project workshop.
For FestPac, I will continue to lead and present these two events.
Part of our story is the Chamorro Diaspora story...My team (Vince Diaz, Sakman Mario, Trish Shook - Chief Editor and me) will be presenting a collection of these short biographical stories and video montage of Faces of the Chamorro Diaspora. This Chamorro Disaspora Seminar is scheduled for May 25, 2016, 9:00am - 5:00pm, University of Guam class (exact location TBD).
From June 2-3, 2016, University of Guam (Computer Lab), I will be facilitating a one and one-half day genealogy workshop titled, "Memorializing Our Family Roots." I have three special guest speakers who will be talking about their Chamorro genealogy work and efforts: Jillette Leon-Guerrero, Påle' Eric Forbes, and Anthony "Malia" Ramirez. This workshop will also include hands-on genealogy research for participants and then closing out with participants sharing their genealogy story.
So excited to be a part of and contribute to this grand and historic event!