Kuentusi i Tano'

Storytelling, oral histories, and cultural traditions throughout Pacific Islands societies are important and highly respected forms of knowledge that are passed down through families, clans, and communities over generations, and are often reiterated in more contemporary contexts through narratives, poetry, performance, and other creative means. For Pacific Islanders, storytelling is thus a lived experience. To honor this cultural knowledge in Guåhan, the Marianas, and the larger region of Micronesia, Humanities Guåhan works with indigenous communities in co-creating content that preserves living histories and traditions, as well as other forms of creative expressions in digital spaces. 

Kuentusi i Tano' (Speaking to Land) is an ongoing film series that celebrates and privileges the voices and perspectives of indigenous CHamorus and islanders who trace their heritage to other parts of Micronesia, and their connections, stories, oral histories and traditions related to the deep cultural meaning of land. The Kuentusi i Tano' series stems from Humanities Guåhan’s Kuentusi i Hanom (Speaking to Water) film series, which was launched in 2017 and explores indigenous connections to water. Together, these series highlight the importance of place -- inclusive of both i tano' yan i hanom (land and water) as one -- and the important cultural stories and voices embedded within these places.

Kuentusi i Tano’  features three famalao’an who share their stories and creative expressions in relation to history, cultural identity, and sense of place on CHamoru landscapes. These stories can be accessed below or on our YouTube channel

  • Historian and scholar Christine Taitano DeLisle shares her poem In the Company of Butterflies (published in A Pacific Collection: Readings for Civic Reflection, 2011) where she reflects on the connection between physical and emotional landscapes, and calls for the preservation of these sacred spaces. Watch here
  • In Farming Sovereignty in Guåhan, Jessica Nangauta, lanchera and manager of University of Guam Triton Farms, reflects on and emphasizes the importance of generational farming and food sovereignty. Watch here
  • In Reflecting on CHamoru Identity Through Archaeology Alea Rosario Dugan, an indigenous archaeologist, speaks about archaeology in Guåhan, various archaeological sites in Tumon and throughout the island, and acknowledges some of the challenges surrounding cultural and historic preservation in Guåhan. Watch here

With grant support from the GEDA Qualifying Certificate Community Contribution (QCCC) program, Guam Regional Medical City, Tsubaki Tower Hotel, as well as the National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities Guåhan celebrates the rich, historical, cultural, and social landscapes of Guam for future generations through a digital platform. Our continued partnership with local, independent filmmaker Brian Muña was invaluable to the success of Kuentusi i Tano’. Brian is a Guam International Film Festival (GIFF) awardee, best known for his short films, “Luther'' and “Plastic Bag.” His work explores the abilities and capabilities of visual mediums to convey emotionality and the human experience. Brian has also worked with HG on other notable projects, such as Kuentusi i Hanom, Indigenous Dance: reSTORYing our Environment, Dancing Earth in Guam, and Art+Ideas.

Kuentusi i Tano’ provides an invaluable opportunity to engage with CHamorus and other Micronesians about the power of the land in their histories, arts, and cultures, and to preserve their land stories as an important part of their heritage and identity.