Humanities Council launches ‘iTinaotao Marianas’ DVD version

ETHNOGRAPHER and oral historian Rlene Santos Steffy presented clips from “iTinaotao Marianas” during the launch of its DVD version at American Memorial Park on Tuesday.

The clips show the Ulitao houses, “reduccion” or migration, clan structure, the galleon trade, education and the role of teachers in history. The documentary looks into the peopling of the Marianas from 1521 through 1898.

“I choose to present these clips because they continue to be an issue today and that is one thing we have in common,” Steffy said in an interview, referring to the NMI and her native island of Guam.

“We are related to each other. We are separated but we have a global experience together. We are interconnected that way,” she added.

One example of interconnection is education, she said. “It was the governor then who said education was not important. Education was an issue. It’s our attitude toward education that has changed. These kids today will replace us in the future. Do you really think they can do that without education? They don’t need to have PhDs, but they need to be educated. They need to be able to hold a job, they need to be able to learn how to read and how to write, how to fill out an application without the assistance from anybody else.”

She said the local people should pay attention to students. “You have Chamorro and Carolinian students that are going to colleges, and they are at least at the front door of those colleges, and that is your responsibility to see them through.”

Underscoring the importance of history, Steffy said, “You cannot make a decision today if you don’t know [your history] because you don’t know why you are making that decision. Everything that we showed here today applies to everyone else.”

She said the documentary targets a vast audience. “They need to know their history. They need to be confident of who they are. Ask who you are. For example, are you a Catholic because that is what you inherited? Or was it because you believe in it? And if you don’t believe in it, what is your alternative? “If the children of the Marianas know their history, they can be better citizens. You have a responsibility to your people. They must know their history.”

Frances Mary Sablan, who attended the DVD launch, said the presentation was thought provoking. “I’ve known Rlene since high school. We went to school together on Guam. I know her and some of the work that she does,” she said.

Yuki Kishimoto, who works at the Saipan mayor’s office, said she found “iTinaotao Marianas” interesting “because we were able to explore things that we didn’t know — it opened a new perspective for me, in regards to history. There were a lot of things I didn’t know.”

Darren Dones said the presentation was informative. “I never knew about this stuff even from school.”

Rep. Donald Barcinas said it was a good presentation. “It gave me a lot of insights, especially as a representative of the people. It gave me new perspectives about the history of the Marianas.”

Source: Marianas Variety :

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