Topics: Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Chamorro people Pages: 2 (346 words) Published: April 12, 2012
The Chamorro people
James Toves
08 April 2012

The story and culture of the Chamorro people of Guam is filled with trials and tribulations, glories and triumphs. Starting with the arrival of the very first inhabitants, the warriors and chiefs of a proud people, to the oppressed and afflicted generations that survived through eras of unwanted occupation, the indigenous peoples have experienced many different situations and circumstances. Throughout time, there have been many different elements that have shaped and formed the Chamorro people into what they have become today. Virtually every cultural constituent that has been a part of our diverse background has left a lasting footprint that can be observed in the simplest of aspects of our culture. Because of the general lack of a written history, there are many theories on the origin of the first settlers of Guam. One of the theories is based on the physical appearance of the ancient Chamorros, regarding that they are of Southeast Asian descent. Another theory suggests that because of certain similarities that the first migrants to arrive are of Indonesian/Malaysian descent (Cunningham, 1992), although the Chamorro language is in a classification of its own. Regardless of where it is that they came from, Cunningham states that the Chamorros were a brave sea-faring people that conquered the open sea long before the European explorers sailed out of sight of land. According to (Peenen, 1974), the word “chamoru” comes from the native word "chamoli" which means noble. Spanish dictionaries indicate that the word "Chamorro" means "to have the head shaved or to be bald." The Spanish reference to the Chamorros refers to the higher caste, or Matua’, because of the wear of a single patch of long hair worn on the upper portion of the back of their heads with the rest of the hair completely shaven. (Russell, 1998)  


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