On the Great Seal of Guam are the words “Tano I Man Chamorro,” or “Land of the Chamorros.” The word “Chamorro” (CHamoru) refers to the indigenous population of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, their language and culture. It is not only an ethnic identifier, it is a way of life. The Marianas were the site of intense colonization. Through 300 years of Spanish rule and with almost 120 years as an American colony, Guam remains one of the longest colonized places in the world.
Cultural identity is dynamic, adaptable, and often resilient. As people, our identity exists on different levels— individual, community, nation—and is continually negotiated in our interactions with others. There are over 81,000 CHamorus in the Marianas, with 147,800 more living in the United States. They are connected by language, values and traditions, but there is also diversity among them.
This exhibition highlights various perspectives of CHamoru cultural identity through the lens of history. We encourage you to engage in discussions of cultural identity, especially its place in a world where identity issues dominate the current political and social landscape.