Last year’s Typhoon Soudelor put a halt to what would have been the 45th commemoration anniversary honoring Chief Aghurubw. This year’s 46th Annual Commemoration Celebration of Chief Aghurubw will proceed with the event scheduled to be held on Managaha (Ghalaghal) Island tomorrow, Sept. 17.
Chief Aghurubw, the legendary Carolinian chief and navigator, is revered by the Carolinians as a leader who set sail from Satawal in the Western Caroline Islands over 200 years ago, to seek refuge for his people when a major typhoon devastated their islands.
On Sept. 18, 1969, the first monument was completed in his memory on Managaha (Ghalaghal) Island, heralding the first anniversary of Chief Aghurubw’s commemoration. His statue, which stands today on Managaha, commemorates his achievements and leadership to assure of his people’s safety and welfare. The island is known to be the famous chief’s burial ground and lends to the island’s historical significance. As the chief’s burial site, it is considered as sacred grounds by the Carolinians.
Oral and written history passed through generations spoke of how in 1815, Chief Aghurubw braved uncertainties ahead to relocate his people, many of whom faced starvation through losses suffered from the typhoon. He navigated the voyage to the Marianas and paid a visit to then Spanish Governor Jose Medinilla in Guam and asked permission for the resettlement.
Governor Medinilla granted official approval and bestowed Chief Aghurubw with a legal certificate, a cane, and a tall, black hat, the traditional symbols of authority. The official approval from Governor Medinilla distinguished him as a paramount chief from other clan chiefs who may have sailed through similar routes to safety.
The 46th Anniversary of Chief Aghurubw is one of the main activities scheduled for September as Cultural Heritage Month and highlights this year’s celebration of the 200 Years of Carolinian resettlement in the Marianas. It is organized by members of the Chief Aghurubw Foundation, Inc. in coordination with the Carolinian Affairs Office and the Refaluwasch Advisory Council. The annual tribute to Chief Aghurubw will include boat trips to and from Managaha, sailing of traditional canoes, a commemoration mass, official remarks, lunch, and traditional performances.
Following are the schedules for boat transfers to and from Managaha, courtesy of Jambalaya by Saipan Sea Ventures and MV Senerita by Pacific Subsea Inc. and Tasi Tours Inc.:
Jambalaya (Saipan Sea Ventures)
-Departing from Outer Cove, Marina 8am and 10am
-Departing from Managaha to Outer Cove, Marina 3pm and 4pm
MV Senerita (Pacific Subsea Inc.)
-Departing from Lower Base (behind CUC plant) 8:30am
-Departing from Managaha to Lower Base 4pm
The general public is invited to attend the commemoration event. For more details and schedule of events, please call 287-0007 or 285-2552 or log in to the Chief Aghurubw Foundation Facebook Page.