Happy Easter to you who may be reading this post! I’ve always thought that Easter is an under-rated feast. None of the songs that make Christmas so special, and the gift-giving is confined to Easter eggs and chocolate for the kids. Not so much of the glitz and glamour associated with Christmas. But still–for us church-goers and mass-sayers at least–Easter has more significance than Christmas. It’s a celebration of the end of the struggle, not the beginning. That alone should count for something.
Saipan was a happening place this past week, even apart from the election campaigns that are in full swing. A team of archaeologists under Mike Carson and Hsaio-chun Hung has been working on an excavation site at Laulau Bay. The pit in which they were digging is one of the oldest settlement sites on the island. We watched them bring buckets of dirt to be sifted through a fine screen. We saw small bits of red pottery, sometimes even a sharpened stone cutting tool or two, and a curious looking stone ear pendant that looked like a miniature fishhook.
I was in Kosrae for a week, just to give a speech on FSM Law Day that took less than an hour. What was I going to do with all that time on my hands, I wondered? Kosrae is a small place with only 6,000 residents. Chuuk and Pohnpei are bustling cities by comparison, with their population, their traffic, their “glitter.”
Somewhere between 2000 and 1500 BC, around the time that Abraham was moving out of the Chaldees to his new home in what was later to be Palestine, another movement was taking place. Sailing canoes from the west arrived bringing the first people to settle in Micronesia. In fact, these newcomers could have been the first to settle anywhere in Oceania–other than the Papuans, that is, who had paddled the short distance to nearby Melanesia thousands of years earlier.
Before the Angels Come to Take Me Away
Let me first assure you that I have no plans for an early death… the title was meant to be an attention-grabber. But even so, I’m 76 years old and the clock is winding down. So let me share with you a few of my own dreams that I hope may become a reality before the angels come to take me away.
Tosiwo Nakayama…Tom Remengesau…Darlene Keju…Charlie Gibbons…Kimiuo Aisek. What do they share? Well, they are all islanders, for one thing. They are also subjects of biographies that will soon be coming out. There are books on the history of the islands (I’ve done a couple of those myself!), but now we have stories on the lives of islanders. Read More
This is a shortened version of a talk I gave at Yap Homecoming Day on June 15. The theme of the event was the link that binds Yap and Palau.
Yap and Palau, at the extreme western end of Micronesia, have always had an air of mystery around them–at least to us Westerners.
For one thing, their languages are so different from the rest of Micronesia–Palau the Polish of Oceania with all its consonants, and Yap with its closest relative being a Guatemalan language, a linguist friend tells me. Read More
Fr. Diego Luis San Vitores, a Jesuit like the pope (and myself), has become something of a fascination here on Guam these days. His claim to fame is that he first brought the faith to the Marianas in the late 1600s. In fact, he was the first missionary to reach any of the Pacific islands. Nowadays little cards with a portrait of the man and a prayer for his canonization can be found everywhere on the island. There are relics on the altar that people venerate after mass, and even an old black habit that was said to have once belonged to him among the museum holdings. Read More