DM Villagomez Translation of Chief Hurao's Speech

First paragraph of DM Villagomez's book on Chamorro culture during the Spanish occupation of Guam.

In 1977, my mother, DM Villagomez, traveled to Guam and was the first person to translate Spanish documents held by the Micronesia Area Research Center (MARC) at the University of Guam into English.  The documents had been collected in Spain the previous year by MARC staff, but were, according to Mom, "sitting, unused, in the stacks, for want of someone with a knowledge of Spanish to read it." She worked with Dr. Paul Carano and Sister Felicia Plaza to identify the documents she needed and wrote a book on Chamorro history and culture during the Spanish occupation of Guam (I'm pretty sure I have the only surviving copy).

Mom's book included the first English translation of a speech given by Chief Hurao in 1670, a famous Chamorro leader.  Other scholars have published subsequent translations, but not a lot of people have seen the first one.  Here it is:

It would have been better had these Europeans remained in their own country.  We needed no help from them to (be) happy.  Satisfied with what the land provided us, we lived without wanting anything better.  Everything which they have taught us has only served to augment our needs and rouse our greed.  That we may go about naked seems evil to them; yet if clothing was necessary, the same nature would already have given it to us.  For what reason should we bother with clothing, which is a needless thing and which hinders the free use of one's arms and legs, its pretense being that we must cover ourselves with it?

They take us for uncivilized people and look upon us as savages.  And must we believe them?  Can't we see that under the pretense of instructing and civilizing us that they are corrupting us?  That they made us lose the former simplicity in which we were living, and lastly have stripped us of the freedom which is dearer than our very lives.

They wish to persuade us that they will make us prosperous, and there are many among us who are blind enough to believe them; but this would not happen if we would consider that all of our miseries and illnesses have appeared with the arrival of these foreigners who have come, to our misfortune, to disturb our peace.  Before their arrival in these islands were we by chance acquainted with all these insects which so cruelly persecute us?  Did we know rats, flies, mosquitoes, and all of those other vermin (which) only serve to torment us? 

I have over there the keepsakes which they have brought us in these floating houses which they navigate.  Did we know rheumatism or chills before our acquaintance with these aliens?  If we had any illness, we likewise had the means to cure it; but they have infected us with their diseases without teaching us their remedies.  In order to obtain iron and other trifles which they brought us, which are precious only because of the high value which we place on them, was it necessary that we now find ourselves surrounded by so many misfortunes?

They reproach us for our poverty, our ignorance, and our lack of knowledge, yet if we are as poor as they say, what did they come to look for among us?  Believe me, if they didn't need us, they wouldn't expose themselves, as they are now doing, to so many dangers, nor would they try so hard to establish themselves among us.  From what comes their pretension that we must submit ourselves to their laws and customs and relinquish our freedom, which our forefathers bequeathed us. In a word, why should they hope for a supreme good which we cannot enjoy until we are corpses.

They regard our histories as fables and fiction.  Don't we also possess the same right to say as much about that which they are teaching us, and proposing as the truth? They abuse our simplicity and good faith.  All of their arts apply themselves to deceiving and all of their science tends to make us miserable.

If we are ignorant or blind about something, as they would have us believe, it is in such case for having realized too late their destructive wishes and for having permitted them to establish themselves among us.  We have not become disheartened by the prospect of our misfortune; they are only a handful of men and we can easily rid ourselves of them.  Although we do not have these fatal arms which produce terror and death on all sides, we can on the other hand finish with them, because we outnumber them by an infinite amount.  We are stronger than (we) imagine ourselves to be and we can in a short time free ourselves of these foreigners and return to our former freedom.


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