Over 300 attend Chief Aghurub memorial

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Carolinian Affairs Office executive director John Tagabuel poses for a photo with the Carolinian proa built by the Carolinian community solely for the 47th annual Chief Aghurub Memorial Celebration on Managaha Island last Saturday. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

MANAGAHA ISLAND—The 47th Annual Chief Aghurub Memorial Celebration was held last Saturday with over 300 community members taking part in the rites to honor the navigator.

According to Kodep Ogumoro-Uludong, president of the Chief Aghurub Foundation, the turnout for this year’s memorial was quite grand.

Although majority of the attendees were families of Carolinian decent, the celebration also brought out tourists who were curious about the celebration and many community members who found that Chief Aghurub was monumental in the development of the Carolinian community in the Marianas.

Northern Islands Mayor Vicente Santos and Reps. Ivan Blanco (R-Saipan) and Donald Barcinas (R-Saipan) also attended.

Blanco said the event is very important to descendants of the first Carolinian settlers on the Marianas and, as one of the descendants, he is proud to take part in the memorial.

“They remember his legacy, the feat that he led [his people] from Satawal to Saipan because it was what was needed for his people,” said Blanco.

Ogumoro-Uludong said that, despite the unpredictable weather, many were still able to come out and join the celebration.

Despite the rain, the Carolinian Affairs Office was also able to sail their proa as part of the celebration.

John Tagabuel, CAO executive director, said that the Chief Aghurub memorial celebration has always been the highlight of Cultural Heritage Month.

During his speech, Tagabuel urged his fellow Carolinians to keep the language strong for the benefit of the upcoming generation.

“Please continue to teach your children how to speak Carolinian. That is the only way we can continue to strive and continue survive as Carolinians,” Tagabuel said.

The Chief Aghurub memorial celebration will always be the Carolinian community’s most honored memorial ceremony because, according to Tagabuel, their community considers Chief Aghurub as the man who saved their ancestors. He not only symbolizes the Carolinian community’s culture and heritage but he was also a role model that was courageous and humble.

Chief Aghurub saw the struggles of his people during the major typhoon that hit the Caroline Islands back in 1815 and initiated the voyage to the Marianas over 200 years ago.

Kimberly Bautista | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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