northern-mariana-islands

The archaeological site of the House of Taga & the mythology surrounding it. 

[…] Taga’s youngest daughter grieved for her mother and brother. She yearned for the gentle ways of her mother and the sound of her brother’s laughter. One night she could no longer contain the anguish within. With her father’s spear, she ended his life while he was sleeping. Guilt tortured the daughter’s heart. She could not bear the grief and sorrow. Taga’s daughter soon died like her mother, of a broken heart.

As the legend goes, Taga had twelve children, one for each of the latte that supported his house. As Taga’s children died, they became spirits. Each spirit inhabits a latte until it is the time for the spirit to finally leave the world. At the moment its latte falls, the spirit is released.

Today one latte still stands [as pictured]. It is the stone of Taga’s youngest daughter. Her spirit still walks beneath the plumeria trees and coconut palms where their house once stood. She remains unhappy and lonely, imprisoned by her sad and tragic fate. Her soul still suffers because of her murdered dead. Her spirit waits for this last latte to tumble to the ground.

-Section from Marianas Island Legends: Myth and Magic (2011), a book containing legends, folklore, history, and traditions collected from the Chamorro and Carolinian elders and the youth of the Marianas Islands.

The House of Taga is located near San Jose Village, on the island of Tinian, United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The prehistoric latte stones at this site stood 15 feet high, and were quarried south of the site. A latte (as shown in the centre of the photo) is a term used for a pillar with a hemispherical stone capital, which were used as building supports by the ancient Chamorro people -the original structures would have once looked something like this.

Photo courtesy & taken by CT Snow via Wiki Commons.

Neglected Historical Fact of the Day: Why Polynesian History is so overlooked.

I have been trying to get into researching the various pacific Islands cultures and there is so little information I could find that was in english.  However I was able to find just enough info to figure out why there is so little information.  So without further ado.

1) Racism. 

Lets get this out of the way, there is A LOT of racism towards the Pacific Island people, and it goes back a very long time, with many uncomfortable stereotypes, and since the natives don’t have a spokesmen or much in representation outside their own countries, its not like people are calling them out.  THis is compounded by the reputation that they are just a bunch of primitives on islands so who cares?

2) The nature of the islands

Even if somebody is not racist and we could somehow prove they might be operating under an anti island bias, IE that civilizations that haven’t built giant things or invented modern stuff aren’t worth our time.  There really is a perspective that tribal cultures are just aren’t worth studying because they didn’t do anything.  Actually no, thats totally racist, just a different kind of racism

3) They don’t even know about them.  The pacific islands (I am saying Polynesia a lot but many of these locations actually aren’t Polynesian) aren’t super powered, in fact if you add them all up the entire population is less than a million, so it isn’t really a major focus.  This compounded with the fact that they haven’t built very much means that people don’t normally pay attention to them. 

4) The fact that none of these regions had a written language.  not having a written language really makes learning about you hard

5) The fact that they were colonized very early on, meaning that many of the records, and in some cases the people were wiped out

6) Many of islands have ceased to exist, either by sinking into the sea or in a few case, literally nuked…good job

7) Finally the very small populations and the lack of wealth among those populations means that they haven’t really producing very many local scholars who can study this professionally.

And this is a big deal.  Not just because unique cultures are being ignored and racism, but also because many of these island countries are literally going to cease to exist in the next few decades due to the rising sea levels of Global warming.  Like literally a few of these are going to vanish off the face of the world, and we will lose all of the possible archeological data.  Somebody needs to get unto this.  

Also there are some sources on the island sources that aren’t in English, but instead Local languages, chinese, French or Spanish 

So I’ve never ever ever posted a picture of myself to Tumblr before…but this is the only photo that’s been taken of me since I moved out to the Northern Mariana Islands about a month ago, and I just thought I’d share because this is what my front yard looks like now and despite the loneliness and the isolation that come along with living on a tiny island…I think it’s pretty effing lovely out here. 

Pagan, a small island in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, is home to many threatened and endangered species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. The island has supported the ancestors of Pagan islanders for over 3,000 years, as evidenced by Chamorro stone ruins found skirting her beautiful beaches. 

The U.S. military plans to occupy all of Pagan Island for live-fire training and military exercises, ignoring the indigenous rights of Pagan Islanders, and the devastating environmental impacts that such activity will cause. 

Read more, and sign the petition to save Pagan Island

U.S. Marines try to soothe a crying child by offering a shiny rations tin. Island natives are sheltered with their families in a camp set up for refugees from battle areas by U.S. Marine Civil Affairs authorities during the Battle of Saipan. Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. July 1944.  Image taken by U.S. Coast Guardsman Ted Needham. 

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