Ancient CHamoru Canoe Builders: Agad’na

March 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Special Forces

From: Guampedia

The ancient CHamorus who were skilled at canoe building and navigation were called agad’na. Early European accounts regularly marveled at these CHamoru vessels, William Dampier, saying in 1681 for instance that:

One cannot stop talking about their great velocity, craftsmanship and lightness, because in the whole universe I do not believe there is a thing equal to them in nimbleness and swiftness.

Another visitor, Woodes Rogers in 1711, said:

The Governor presented us with one of their flying prows, which I shall describe here because of the oddness of it. The Spaniards told me it would run twenty leagues per hour, which I think too large; but by what I saw they may run twenty miles or more in the time, for when they viewed our ships, they passed by us like a bird flying. These prows are about thirty foot long, not above two broad, and about three deep. They have but one mast which stands in the middle, with a mat sail, made in the form of a ship’s paddle to steer her, so that when they go about, they don’t turn the boat as we do to bring the wind on the other side, but only change the sail, so that the Jack and sheet of the sail are used alike. The boat’s head and stern are the same, only they change them, as occasion requires, to sail either way. For they are so narrow that they could not bear any sail, were it not for booms that run out from the windward side, fastened to a large log shaped like a boat, and nearly half as long, which becomes contiguous to the boat. On these booms a stage is made above the water on a level with the side of the boat, upon which they carry goods or passengers.

They were called “flying proas” because of their speed, and possessed three technological innovations which made this label well deserved:

  • Their hull was asymmetrical to counter the drag of the outrigger float.
  • CHamorus used triangular sails to increase speed and allow for a closer sail to the wind.
  • The proas tacked by moving the sail from one end of the canoe to the other. This is called shunting and is done because the outrigger float must always be to windward.

So fast were these vessels that one voyage from Guam to Manila reportedly took only four days, which means they traveled more than twenty miles per hour.

These canoes were vital to the survival of CHamorus because they facilitated transport and trade among islands and allowed them to fish beyond the reef.

Ancient CHamorus had at least six types of canoes: sakman, leklek, duding, duduli, panga and galaide. The sakman was the largest and most impressive, regularly measuring more than 40 feet, some reportedly holding a 100 men, ideal for long voyages, and deep sea fishing. Leklekduding, and duduli were smaller vessels for shorter voyages. The panga is a duduli without a sail. The galaide, also without a sail, is a small vessel. Both the panga and galaide were used within the reef.

Canoe construction and navigation were considered men’s tasks, and most likely specialized to a select few. The learning of these skills were either passed down from father to son, or a part of a young man’s education in the guma’ uritao or men’s house.

After a suitable tree was cut down, usually dokdok or breadfruit, a skilled carver would begin to shape the canoe using a higam or shell adze as well as fire. If the canoe was to be longer than eighteen feet, more than one tree trunk would be needed and one of the most difficult tasks was making sure that different sections of the hull would fit securely. These sections were lashed together and then sealed using plant fibers and tree sap.

In addition, pieces such as the palu or mast, the outrigger, and the umulin or rudder would have to be carved and attached. The hulls would be colored in white, black, red or orange by using red dirt, afok or lime, coconut oil and soot, which both beautified them and offered protection from bad weather. Women were responsible for the construction of the layak or sail. They would weave together small sections of akgak or pandanus mats, to form a huge triangle which would then be attached to the palu.

Ancient CHamorus, like other Micronesian islanders, used an impressive array of skills to navigate their magnificent vessels. Most important was the use of the rising and setting of stars to plot their course, but also vital were the abilities to discern differences in wave patterns, sea life, ocean color, and cloud formations.

By Michael Lujan Bevacqua, PhD

From the Desk of Guam’s Historian: CHamoru oral histories

March 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Special Forces

Guampedia.com March 2021 Newsletter

CHamoru oral histories are a
powerful tool in the interpretation
of our sainas (elders), finaloffan
(past) and hinanau (a journey).
For more than five decades,
I have emphasized using
Finu’håya (CHamoru language)
in understanding and learning
of the CHamoru finaloffan and
hinanau. There is no alternative
since our saina did not write their
past. In CHamoru, there is a very
powerful proverb, Ti Mamaigu’
Si Yu’us (God does not sleep!).
In learning and understanding
CHamoru history, I restated the
proverb as, Ti Man Mamaigu’ I
Man Saina-hu (CHamoru elders
do not sleep!). This has been my
relationship with them since I can
remember.
In revisiting an event that
occurred 500 years ago, I could
literally hear finu’-ñiha (their
voices) in my writing and my
reflections with their emphatic
statements. Atan i ha’åni?
(Review the dates?). Atan håyi
I man tautau gi lagu? (Who

were the people who arrived
from the direction of the eastern
horizon?) Man håyi? (Who are
they?). Yanggin un atan maulik,
un sodda’ i ineppi’! (When you
search intensely, you will have the
answer)! And I did!
Of the 270 crew member
expedition, there was one crew
member that is linked intimately to
what occurred 500 years ago. His
name was Enrique de Malacca,
a Malaysian, known to his people
as Awang Pawgilinan. He and I
are both distant CHe’lu (siblings)
of the Proto-Austronesian race.
Our saina’ reached the shores of
thousands of islands in Oceania.
Of the same ancestry, I speak
CHamoru and Enrique spoke
several Malay dialects, all of which
are Proto-Austronesian languages.
When I reviewed various Malay
dictionaries, I was amazed by a
pivotal lexicon shared by CHamoru
and Malay. These lexicons
include the human anatomy, the
constellations, pronouns, and
numerical systems, to cite a few.
In any inatulaka (trade), numerical
systems are indispensable.
After realizing and knowing
our ancestral relationship,
other questions unfolded in my
search for enlightenment. One
question was, who among the
crew members who were able to
communicate with my saina 500
years ago? Enrique!
In my interpretation of the event
500 years ago, Enrique perhaps
said the following; “Magellan, the
CHamoru(s) speak a language I
understand!” Sure enough, after
the Expedition departed Las Islas
Marianas three days later, they
reached Las Islas Filipinas within
10 days, arriving March 16, 1521.
Thus leading them to the Spice
Islands.
Why was this account not
written or more documented?
Because Enrique was not an
integral part of the narrative of
the Expedition. The focus was on
Magellan and Elcano. Enrique
was not even a subtitle to the Las

Islas Marianas. The chroniclers,
including Antonio Pigafetta, were
focused on the deeds and merits
of the lead explorers, all who
were Europeans.
I have always questioned
why they only made a three day
layover in Las Islas Marianas,
based on CHamoru ocean
voyaging traditions. If indeed the
chroniclers were truly descriptive
of the expedition’s plights, they
would have had no choice but
to remain in Las Islas Marianas
longer to recuperate. However,
they did not and departed after
three days.
As a CHamoru, I know our
saina would not risk the health
of their crew. Their crew comes
first before the objective of the
voyage. The only reason and
explanation I can think of is that
Enrique was instrumental in the
three day layover. He must have
convinced Magellan and Elcano
of the proximity and just days
within reach of the Spice Islands.
Who else on the expedition had
the knowledge?
There is another pivotal
storyline regarding Enrique.
Enrique was Magellan’s esklåbu
(slave). As Magellan’s esklåbu,
Enrique was likely a part of the
expedition to be interpreter once
the expedition reached the Spice
Islands.
Enrique is our link to the first
circumnavigation of the globe.
He may also be the first Malay to
circumnavigate the globe. As a

CHamoru, as a part of the Proto-
Austronesian people, my pride in

Enrique is endless. Enrique and
guåhu (I) are CHe’lu only divided
by spaces of time, ocean and
land. We are both Austronesian!
Finally and emphatically,
I also became an esklåbu
through Western expansionism
and colonialism. I became the
“governed!”
Gi mina’åsi’, la sangri yåma yan
fanatahguiyan I ha’åni
(With grattitude, the blood calls
the winds of change).

500 ANNIVERSARY OF THE ARRIVAL OF THE SPANIARDS IN GUAM

March 15, 2021 by  
Filed under Special Forces


The Spanish training ship “Juan Sebastián Elcano” arrives at the Umatac Bay of the island of Guam, thus commemorating the 500 th anniversary of the arrival of the Spaniards in these islands called as a whole Las Marianas, located in the area of Micronesia (Pacific ocean). It was on March 6, 1521, after four months without stepping on land, that two Spanish ships arrived there.

Curiously, Rear Admiral Santiago Barber López, who is an advisor for the V Centennial Commemoration, is also now on the island attending the different events that take place there during these days. He is a Majorcan who is a prominent military officer of the Spanish navy in where it commemorates the trip that our compatriots made now five centuries ago, in the first travel around the world, a trip that began on August 15th, 1519 with Fernando de Magallanes at the head of several ships and a total of 239 sailors. When he died on his way back Juan Sebastián Elcano took his place, arriving in Seville on September 6th, 1522,  with only 18 crew members left in the Victoria ship.

To be honest a few years ago I had no idea that there was an island called Guam, but coincidences of life and the fact that the Chamorros of this island also have a tradition of throwing stones with the sling, are the reasons why already there is a bond between Guam and the Balearic Islands. Several of its slingers have visited our islands in the Mediterranean and there is continuous contact for future sporting and cultural events between the Balearic Islands and the island of Guam.

For example, this same 500th anniversary, and had it not been for the pandemic, we would surely have traveled from various European countries to the Pacific Ocean to enjoy and compete with our colleagues in these important and historical moments.

There are more than a dozen who have visited Mallorca and Ibiza, Román de la Cruz, Vicente Rosario, Tony, Josua and Linda Pérez, among others, are the ones that we keep fond memories of.

Speaking of names, precisely, in addition to sling shooting and other customs, what surprised me the most, are these names and surnames that many of them have, which are completely Spanish and which they have maintained since this time called the Philippines.

The common history of Spain and Guam lasted until 1898. The island currently belongs to the United States (due to its strategic location) and there is even a major military base located there.

 In Guam the traditional and ancient language is the Chamorro but English is also spoken and one can even find some minority examples of Spanish.

 The slinging clubs of the Balearic Islands and all their members ,send a big hug to the friends of the island of Guam.

Congratulations to both Guam and Spain for this 500th anniversary!

Pep Ribas Ribas
Balearic Islands
Spain

Spanish Navy ship Juan Sebastián de Elcano arrives in Marianas waters!

March 1, 2021 by  
Filed under Special Forces

Spanish Navy tall ship Juan Sebastián de Elcano arrived Feb. 26, 2021 in Guam’s waters to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Magellan’s visit to the island.

Guma’ Mahiga and Acho Marianas Chamorro Slinging Demonstration Umatac Bay. 500 Years

March 1, 2021 by  
Filed under Special Forces

Guma’ Mahiga and Acho Marianas Chamorro Slinging Demonstration Umatac Bay. 500 Years

Fr: Guam PDN
Representatives from Guma’ Mahiga and Acho Marianas have gathered to prepare for an upcoming slingstone demonstration in honor of the CHamoru people and culture that encountered Ferdinand Magellan during his arrival to Guam, at Umatac Bay, Feb. 28, 2021. The cultural groups plan to hold their demonstration for the Spanish Navy tall ship, Juan Sebastián de Elcano, which will stop outside Umatac Bay before its voyage to the Philippines on March 2.

The First Battle. September 11, 1671. Chamorro Spanish War

February 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Special Forces

A History of Guam. By Lawrence J. Cunningham, Janice J. Beaty

The First Battle. September 11, 1671.

The attack came on September 11, 1671. Thirty Spanish and Filipino soldiers stood behind the walls. They fired guns called arquebuses. They also shot crossbows. Two thousand Chamorros surrounded them. Some men rushed toward the stockade. The soldiers drove them back. They shot musket balls and arrows. Pale San Vitores went out to talk with the Chamorros. They answered him with rude words and sling stones.

The attacks went on for eight days and nights. The Chamorros the clingstones so hard that they went right through the thatched roof of the church and houses. Again and again the Spanish drove the Chamorros back with their guns and crossbows.

When the Chamorros saw that they could not drive the Spanish out, they tried something new. They built shields of wood and placed them on moveable platforms. The shields were heart-shaped. Then they pushed these close to the stockade walls. They stood behind the shields and thew spears and sling stones.

The Spanish had the best weapons. But the Chamorros were brave and clever. They didn’t give up easily. They tried every way they knew to defeat the Spanish.

Sometimes Spanish soldiers rushed out of the fort in an attack. The Chamorros needed protection. So they dug trenches and put up walls. The makahnas had them put the skills of their ancestors in the trenches for good luck Then they built a big fire. They dipped their spears in the fire and threw them into the stockade. The thatched roofs of the buildings caught on fire. But a rainstorm put out the fire. This time nature seemed to help the Spanish.

On October 8, a fierce typhoon struck the island. This stopped the battle. The storm blew down the Spanish church and houses. It damaged the stockade. The storm destroyed most of the Chamorro houses in Agana, too.

The Spanish rebuilt the stockade just in time. The Chamorros made another attack. Again the soldiers forced them back. This time the nobles asked for peace. They said they would stop fighting if the Spanish set Chief Hurao free. The Spanish agreed. But this was a trick. The Chamorros attacked again with more men. The battle lasted for twelve more days and nights.

On October 20, the Spanish charged out of the fort. They drove the Chamorros out of their trenches. They tramped on the old skulls and broke them to pieces. They won the battle.

 

HITA TALKS at the Guam Museum: Guam Slinging

February 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Special Forces

Shortly after a performance at the Tir de Fona Internacionale, members of Acho Marianas Guam engage in The University of Guam’s HITA TALKS  with Carlos Madrid of the Micronesian Area Research Center for a conversation through the past, present, and future of Guam Slinging and its role int he 500 year anniversary and commemoration of Guams first Encounter with European explorers in 1521.

Chamorro Slinging | Acho Atupat

February 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Special Forces

Chamorro Slinging

Chamorro Slinging

The sling and sling stone have been a part of Chamorro History between 1500 years to 3500 years depending on who you talk to. As a citizen under the only national flag of the world with a sling stone–I’ve been fascinated with slinging for a really long time now. But like most other locals, was happy enough putting it on a pedestal and out of reach. Because it  was so iconic for our ancestors and for the Biblical David.

Im pursuing the art for different reasons–Chamorro People Honorification, Culture Sharing, and Versus Goliath.

For every aspect of culture and language that I am slacking on-slinging is something that i can help bring to our people’s table

- Roman DLC

 

Article By Julian Aguon of Guampedia

Signature Chamorro weapon  Åcho’ Atupat

The signature weapon of the ancient Chamorro warrior, slingstones of various sizes were sharpened at both ends and hurled from a sling with deadly force in combative times. These stones, called åcho’ atupat in the indigenous language of Chamorro, were fashioned from either limestone, basalt, or fire-hardened clay and were hung from slings of made of pandanus or coconut fiber, the latter being far better by way of durability.

The most notable aspect of these most oftentimes oval-shaped stones were that ancient Chamorros used them with deadly accuracy as documented in historical texts. Though commonly associated with weaponry of the Latte period, these stones were used in early colonial history as the arms of resistance to Spanish colonization, hurled at the harbingers of that particular destruction. A prized art of warfare, the knowledge of how to fashion and hurl these stones was kept in the men’s domain and was passed down from older to younger males, most likely from father to son, or mother’s oldest brother to son.

Today, the sling-stone shape is part of the design of the official Guam flag and is incorporated into architectural designs. Like the latte the slingstone is a cultural icon used in Guam’s contemporary pop culture (in tattoo and clothing designs) to exhibit Chamorro pride and cultural identity.

By Julian Aguon

Chamorro Slinging Tutorial Capitol F (Acho Atupak)

February 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Special Forces

Guelo Slinging Tutorial Capitol F (Acho Atupak) // The Fokai Shop Agana. How to use a Chamorro sling also known as Acho Atupak.

How to use a sling // fokai // acho atupak

How to use a sling // fokai // acho atupak

 

HU NONI HAO GUAHAN: Para i Onra

February 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Special Forces

Stone slinging is an indigenous martial art with the ancestors of the Mariana Islands. Long suffocated with the Spanish colonization almost 500 years ago–Sling-stone artifacts are still found or “received”. Buried in the ground, underwater, or sometimes even in plain sight above surface–Sling-stone gifts have been digested as a calling for stone slinging to once again protect and defend our people.