Over 200 pay homage to Chief Aghurbw

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Carolinian Affairs Office executive director John Tagabuel pays his respect to Chief Aghurubw in his traditional Carolinian attire on Mañagaha Island last Saturday. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

MAÑAGAHA ISLAND—Over 200 individuals made the pilgrimage to Mañagaha Island over the weekend to pay homage to Chief Aghurubw, the master navigator responsible for the existence of all Carolinian descent in the Commonwealth.

Last Saturday, the Chief Aghurbw Foundation organized the 48th Annual Chief Aghurubw Commemoration ceremony on Managaha.

According to Mark Rabauliman, Chief Aghurubw Foundation vice chair, a little over 250 individuals came out last Saturday to pay homage to the monumental chief.

The commemoration ceremony started at around 10am Saturday morning, but the event lasted the entire day with traditional dance presentations, lunch, swimming, and free canoe rides courtesy of the Carolinian Affairs Office and the Okeanos Marianas.

Rabauliman said that aside from paying homage to the great navigator, the Chief Aghurubw commemoration ceremony is a day for everyone to come together and enjoy the company of one another, and pay homage to the Carolinian heritage.

“It’s an opportunity for the community to mingle with each other. Technology has become so advance and we’ve become so individualized…this is an annual celebration to really touch base with the people you know, the people you grew up with, and make new friends. This is what today is really about…we also honor the accomplishments Chief Aghurubw has done for the Refaluuwasch people,” he said.

Carolinian Affair Office executive director John Tagabuel shared with the media that it is extremely important that the Carolinian community pay their respects annually to Chief Aghurubw because if it was not for him and his quick thinking, Carolinians would not exist in the Marianas.

“This is where he was buried. Every year we come out here to pay our respects to him and his memorial,” he said.

Also in attendance last Saturday was Gov. Ralph DLG Torres, Senate President Arnold I. Palacios (R-Saipan), and Reps. Joseph Deleon Gurerrero (R-Saipan) and Donald Barcinas (R-Saipan).

Torres said that the current administration is adamant about the protection, preservation, and sharing of the CNMI’s beautiful indigenous culture and the Chief Aghurubw ceremony is the perfect example of cultural preservation while also sharing it with the community.

“It’s one of those times where you reflect on what is important in our lives. Having our Chief Aghurubw ceremony is a reflection of what we have and where we are going…in order to move forward we have to know our past and this administration has always been a forefront of protecting our culture and preserving our culture…we need to also share our culture and the event today was an opportunity for others to learn the culture and be part of our culture,” he said.

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.

The Chief Aghurubw ceremony is the staple event of Cultural Heritage Month.

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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