Friday, February 18, 2022
There is a lot of beauty and significance in the Refaluwasch heritage, culture, arts, music, and traditions that have influenced our uniqueness to help identify our origin and way of life. Growing up, I was taught to respect and embrace our cultures. I understood what it means to have a great sense of pride and appreciation for who we are as a people. Our elders and generations before me have been the strong guardians of shaping how the Refaluwasch and Chamorro people are today – respectful, embracing, generous, unified in one heart, and supportive of others in times of hardship. Through instilling the values and passing down knowledge unto us, we can pass it down to future generations for them to continue to thrive, exist and preserve our cultures.
Working with the Carolinian Affairs Office (CAO) has allowed me to share my thoughts and ideas on what we can do for our community. This year, we were fortunate enough to bring in more staff, which will allow the CAO to plan and execute more programs and projects. Some highlights include building our new website with assistance from the Office of Information Technology, launching our outreach program and survey, offering clinics for traditional Refaluwasch dance and song, and more.
Last year, the CAO, United Carolinians Association, and the Commonwealth Women’s Association hosted the Project Liffang. It provided local artists and entrepreneurs a place to showcase their talents and market their arts, crafts, and goods to the community for profit. The project empowers participating entrepreneurs to be self-sufficient.
We hope to reopen Project Liffang when it is safer for the community. This year will be more exciting. The CAO and the Pacific Mini Games organizers met to discuss plans to strengthen our partnership and open Project Liffang during the games. This will give our community and visiting athletes the opportunity to experience our beautiful and diverse cultures and traditions and support our local artists and vendors.
We also look forward to working closely with the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers (GCEA) Marianas Village Pride Campaign. The Council places importance on promoting the Marianas’ unique cultures and languages and showing pride in our villages and way of life. They also provide exciting and interactive ways for our community to showcase their village pride and get involved. The CAO was inspired by this community movement and has committed to showing our cultural pride by building more Carolinian Utts at the CAO grounds so that organizations can use it to highlight traditional arts and culture.
We appreciate our partnership with GCEA and welcome our brothers and sisters throughout the Marianas to join us. Let's work together to safeguard, protect, and preserve our cultures, heritages, and identities as a community.
We also need to support the sustainable development of our economy, resources, and lands to help protect and look out for the best interests of our successors -- the future generations of the Marianas. Our joint efforts now can ensure that our people prosper in the future!
Together, We Can!
For more information, visit the GCEA at cnmieconomy.com, on Facebook and Instagram (@cnmigov.economy), or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Cecilia Taitano
Cecilia Taitano is the Office of the Governor’s public liaison officer, the Carolinian Affairs Office’s acting executive assistant, and the president of the Commonwealth Women’s Association. Cecilia is a proud daughter of the CNMI and has been a lifelong passionate and dedicated advocate for preserving and protecting the Carolinian and Chamorro Indigenous cultures and heritage.