The true spirit of the Chuukese people is anchored in the core values of “ekichu” (unity of thoughts), “tipechu” (unity of hearts), “angechu” (unity of deeds) and “non pungiro fonu” (humility and integrity), according to Ansito Walter, associate professor of public administration at the University of Guam and former governor of Chuuk.
Walter presented Tuesday night during the ninth Micronesia Area Research Center 2018 seminar series at the university. He emphasized that the core values play an important role for the Chuukese community, in terms of their ability to remain sustainable and resilient; to remain humble and respectful in uncomfortable situations; to support and care wherever they live; and to put their future on hold for the love and care of other family members.
These core values are supposed to keep the community intact through external pressures – including the act of migrating to another place for a better life.
Walter acknowledged that the Chuukese community has seen an emigration to Guam and the U.S. mainland. He acknowledged that among the Federated States of Micronesia, Chuuk accounts for nearly half of the total emigration numbers, compared to Kosrae, Pohnpei and Yap.
“We came to Guam for a reason because we were searching for ‘engieng,’ a comfortable wind of change,” Walter said. He thanked the government for providing migrants the opportunity to live on Guam as they search for a better life.
Walter acknowledged the challenges the Chuukese face when adapting to a new living and work environment, coming from a small island and a traditional society.
“The Chuukese think in the ‘we’ sense,” Walter said. In Chuuk, he added, many families live in the same household, and sharing is a way of life.
Back home, Walter said, the core values of ekichu, tipechu, angechu and non pungiro fonu tie together Chuuk’s 39 municipalities.
Walter described how traditional leaders are respected. “When Chuukese leaders and the people know and feel it is very important for the survival of the community, they will take indigenous ownership,” he said.
Host of challenges
Migrating to another island such as Guam brings a host of challenges.
Along with the day-to-day struggle for survival, a new Chuukese migrant experiences culture shock, language barriers and adjustment issues, according to Walter.
Without the traditional social systems that keep the community intact back in Chuuk, migrants also experience a breakdown in traditional community support and family values outside their island.
Then there is the public perception about the Chuukese community.
Walter acknowledged that on Guam, there is a tremendous public concern regarding the increasing number of Chuukese men in prison for different types of crimes.
But these incidents are contrary to the traditional ideals or core values espoused by the Chuukese community, according to Walter. “That is not the Chuukese spirit,” he said.
Walter said there is no excuse for these types of criminal and disrespectful behaviors. It is important, he said, to “adjust to the rules of your new home, be more observant and fit in.”
He asked the Guam community to help the Chuukese community understand through “discussion and collaboration.”
Walter was asked what kind of advice he would give to the Chuukese people on how to fit in but also to stay true to their core values.
He said respect is essential to the Chuukese culture and there is a community responsibility to change behavior, and that these values should be upheld across different settings – whether in daily work or life. He said, “Chuukese people have to respect Guam.”
It also works both ways, Walter said, when creating a bridge between the Chuukese and Guam communities. With religion a central aspect in the Chuukese community, the church could be an effective facilitator for dialogue.
Source: Google News : https://www.postguam.com/news/local/presentation-highlights-chuukese-community-values/article_d1628906-ed64-11e8-92a7-27b8c86ea3dc.html