An oral account of CNMI tradition and culture


The Indigenous Affairs Office is working with the elderly population on Saipan to collate oral accounts of authentic CNMI tradition and culture. Those accounts would then be shared at the upcoming annual Chamorro and Carolinian Identity Conference.

The effort is part of a collaboration among the island’s elderly, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the Carolinian Affairs Office. The information will be compiled, given to the elderly for verification, and presented at the 3rd Annual Chamorro and Carolinian Identity Conference that is scheduled for Sept. 26.

According to IAO resident executive Roman Tudela Jr., the conference will discuss incorporating local traditions in daily activities and featuring them in community events so the oral accounts collected are related to language, culture, traditional tools, traditional architectural designs and other related topics.

Tudela said that one of the challenges they are currently facing is that many elderly are a bit uncomfortable when they are being interviewed with a video recorder. Fortunately, IAO has worked around the challenge.

“We are trying to get as much information from as many of our man’amko. Unfortunately, they feel uncomfortable and uneasy to be interviewed with a video recorder so we use an audio recorder so as not to disrupt the flow of the conversation,” he said.

The IAO and the CAO have been hosting the annual Chamorro and Carolinian identity conference since 2017.

Tudela said the first and second conferences were focused on the revival of Chamorro and Carolinian identities.

Kimberly B. Esmores | 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

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