As the month of September draws to a close, we at Imåhen Taotao Tåno’ would like to take a moment to provide a sound update and reflection on the past year thus far.
Around this time of the year is when the annual Pacific Islander Festival Association (PIFA) kicks off their double-day event celebrating the arts, culture, and traditions of our Pacific Islander cultures. However, the complications of COVID-19 has since made in-person interactions difficult to manage. Nonetheless, PIFA 2020 and 2021 occurred as both live virtual events for the time being. Our group has been blessed with the opportunity, yet again, to exhibit the CHamoru culture in the best way we know how. On September 25, the PIFA 2021 live showing was featured on YouTube to showcase the hard work and perpetuation of culture of local groups including our very own. Although this couldn’t be shared in its usual outside setting, there are no boundaries when it comes to celebrating the beauty of the CHamoru and those of our islander brothers and sisters. No matter what obstacles may come our way, we continue to search for ways that will guide us in completing our overall mission: CHamoru culture preservation and education.
Courtesy of Michael Lagman Photography & for your viewing pleasure and convenience, please view the video page & click the upper right hand corner on the main video. That will allow you to view from the library of performances!
What you may find in our presentation is not just our work in action but unity we share towards our common goal. It is important that we continue to remind the community that unforeseen circumstances can deviate our path no further. We have not forgotten the significance of sustainability and protection of what we love the most. While the world may seek lost or at a standstill, there are still beacons of light to bring us back. A central theme that has become apparent during these times of isolation is the concept of family. Isolation has kept us closer to loved ones than ever before. We are, indeed, reminded of the bonds we share with one another.
In the wise words of our fafa’ña’gue (teacher): “These COVID times have allowed us to focus on the core of our being. Our family. Our treasure. Our life.” There’s no better way it could’ve been described than by these words. In many cases, this guma’ (house) has become the second home [away from home] to its members. While culture is surely a main highlight of ours, we must not forget the people closest to us who, like us, may be struggling. Family is the center, blood-related or not, that helps keep us together through both the good and difficult times.
We hope that you continue to follow our journey as we navigate the sea of uncertainty and stay safe.
Si yu’os ma’åse.