Gutierrez: Reviving cultural tourism, reacquainting with our CHamoru identity | Opinion

Håfa Adai! Sometimes a shift in consciousness takes a whole generation of work and achievement before it can be appreciably measured. Yet, in the case of reviving i kotturan CHamoru (the CHamoru culture), I can feel within our community a groundswell of yearning and commitment to reacquaint with Guam’s indigenous heritage.

The tourism lull during the pandemic presented an opportune time to center our mindset as a destination and to harness that energy and resurgence of cultural pride.

I enlisted the Mayors’ Council of Guam from the get-go, knowing that they were a critical component in any effort to solidify, advance and promote an authentic Guam experience. After all, while Tumon might be our visitor hub, it is our villages and our people that truly offer the best of Destination Guam USA.

I am so grateful to our island mayors, who not only signed on enthusiastically to our request for their partnership, but have gone above and beyond to do their part.

From taking it upon themselves to water-blast and clean landmarks and visitor sites even past the boundaries of their respective villages, to offering up innovative and creative ideas on how to optimize our island’s treasures for visitors and residents alike, our mayors have been invaluable and deserve our highest praise!

Picking up where we left off

While there’s no escaping the fact that the world and Guam’s role in it have changed too much for us ever to return to prewar life, we can still study that period and the eras that preceded it to reframe our cultural identity and our relationships with one another to deepen and authenticate our civil interactions.

And by viewing our everyday lives through the long lens of our 4,000-year CHamoru history, we will be all the better equipped to distinguish the Guam

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