Tinian to mark 70th anniversary of Yap Chamorro migration


This May, the Tinian municipality will be commemorating the 70th anniversary of the resettlement of Yap Chamorros on Tinian.

The commemoration will begin on May 2 at the Tinian Public Library at 6pm where noted Guam historian Anthony Joseph Ramirez will give a presentation on his research on the Yap Chamorro migration. He will share his experience interviewing the many man’amko throughout the 1990s and 2000s and will shed light on Tinian’s familial connections throughout the Marianas and Micronesia.

“We are fortunate to have such a renowned historian, who spent many years dedicated to researching our people’s journey from Yap to Tinian. He is an encyclopedia of information and we are honored to have Mr. Ramirez join us on Tinian,” said Mayor Joey Patrick San Nicolas.

The Tinian Public Library will have on display throughout the month over 20 photographs of Chamorros in pre-war Yap.

Most photographs depict Chamorro life in Yap throughout the early 1900s leading up to their departure in 1948. The collection includes photographs of the Fleming, Aldan, Flores, Lewis-Dela Cruz, Lewis-Dela Cruz, Untalan, and Villagomez families.

According to Tinian historian Don A. Farrell, “[a]fter the war, Yapese set about establishing local self-governments as Chamorros and Carolinians on Saipan had done. The Navy Civil Affairs Division, which was in charge of those islands, offered to move the Chamorros to Saipan or Tinian. They were offered an equal amount of land on Saipan or Tinian. On Tinian they found nearly new, furnished quonset huts ready to move into and mountains of 50 gallon drums of gas at their disposal.”

The Chamorros who eventually settled on Tinian in May of 1948 commemorated their arrival by adopting St. Joseph the Worker as their patron saint, since their arrival on Tinian fell on the Feast of St. Joseph. The settlers would eventually name their church and village San Jose.

In early April, Tinian leaders, including San Nicolas, Sen. Jude U. Hofschneider (R-Tinian), and Municipal Council chair Edwin M. Hofschneider, traveled to Yap to retrace their ancestors’ journey from Yap.

While in Yap they met with Yap Gov. Tony Gannigiyan, Yap Legislature Speaker Ted Rutun, and the board of the Yap Visitors Bureau. The leaders took the opportunity to invite the Yap leaders to Tinian for the upcoming San Jose Fiesta. The leaders also visited Yap Catholic High School and St. Mary’s Church in Colonia.

“We were honored to have the Catholic community in Yap offer Masses for us. We attended a Mass at the Loyola Chapel at Yap Catholic High School and another Mass at St. Mary’s Church. According to YVB executive director Don Evans, Chamorros were very active in the church and helped keep church traditions alive during the German and Japanese administrations,” said Sen. Jude Hofschneider.

“We are grateful to the many Tinian residents who inspired us to commemorate the Yap migration, including Deborah Aldan Fleming, Freddy Untalan Hofschneider and Agusta Famaw King. Moreover, we are indebted to the wonderful staff and management of the Yap Visitors Bureau for their hospitality during our visit to Yap” said Edwin M. Hofschneider.

The public is invited to join the people of Tinian as they celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Yap Chamorro resettlement throughout the month of May and the San Jose Fiesta on May 4, 5 and 6. (PR)

Press Release
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