Which aspect of the local culture should be preserved?
With the heightened campaign to preserve the indigenous traditions in the CNMI, we asked the community: If given a choice, which aspect of the CNMI culture should be preserved?
“We should preserve the traditions and teachings of the indigenous people. I was born in an era where my people are exposed to American influence so I feel it is very important to uphold the cultural aspect of it. All my life, I have been speaking English but I try to speak as much in my own language. It connects me more with my own people, my own history. So, for me, it’s about the language and the traditions.”
—Ray Jr. Deleon Guerrero, JKPL
“I think we should preserve all aspects of our culture, especially our language. The generation now…do not really speak our language. We use mostly English now, and our language is dying so we have to keep it alive.”
—Troy Laniyo, Chalan Kanoa
“All [aspects] are very important. With this weaving that I know, that my dad taught me, the time that I spent with my dad telling stories when he was younger, he used to do this and he was passing it on. So I am super excited if and when I have my own family, that I’m happy to spend my time with my family doing weaving, and I think that keeps us, family, closer by also keeping our culture intact.”
—Patricia Matagolai, Kagman
“The one thing I want to preserve is going to be the art, which is all the weaving and the formal clothing. I would like to preserve that one because I think it represents our culture a lot more. Other than that, I will say language because…more and more people from our generation [are] slowly forgetting our language and slowly going more into foreign languages, like English.”
—Shane Borja, Chalan Kanoa
“I think that we should preserve our language because, without our language, we are going to slowly forget who we are…because our language represents our cultural identity.”
—Joanna Villagomez, Koblerville
“The part of our culture that we should preserve the most is the sailing. Since Emma and Pete [of 500 Sails] created a way to make us all learn how to sail and navigate and build canoes, and go on the water and everything like that, I think we should take advantage of that and it is a good opportunity.”
—Kianna Reyes, Tuturam