Maile Santos: Proud Chamorro


Cesia Salazar

“Chamorro.” “A what?” is what you may ask. Maile Santos is a proud Chamorro and loves everything about her culture. She is 3rd generation and has a lot to say about her culture and traditions.

“When Japan was attacking Guam, many islanders on the Mariana Islands didn’t use fire as a way of cooking because they believed peace was a way to cope over the tough times,” Maile said. So, they found other techniques to make their delicious food. They used lemon and salt to make their most traditional dish – Kelaguen. “The food is freaking good,” Maile says while laughing.

Why is your name spelled “Maile” and not “Miley?” Maile[My-Lee] is a Hawaiian plant which is used to make leis from the Hibiscus. “It’s literally a plant and it’s cute, I like my name and it’s really cool,” said Maile passionately. Along with her name being used to make leis, Maile also talks about the way her culture dresses for their Celebration of Liberation after The Second Battle of Guam. “We do it every year except this year due to Corona,” Maile said disappointed. One way they celebrate is with a Tahitian dance, which is Hawaiian and Chamorro hula dancing. “We wear a shirt representing us, we have wavy hair, a leaf on the back of our hips, a hula headpiece, a sarong [colorful, floral wrap], and no shoes while we dance,” said Maile.

With Maile being Chamorro from her dad’s side and being Hispanic from her mom’s side, Maile appreciates being interracial. “I like being a foreign queen of course and having a rare culture and being able to share it,” the ‘foreign queen’ says. Practicing her religion isn’t hard because her parents are both Catholic. “The hard part is trying to figure out which language to speak first,” she says. She feels pressured to continue tradition and culture because she wants to do it correctly and not disappoint anyone. “When I was little my parents told me of “Tata Malas” that live in the trees and curse you if you do wrong.” That is a reason she feels pressure to live her culture right.

Not only is Maile a “foreign queen,” but she is also the sophomore class senator, a member of band, and in theatre. Although she wished she had more friends from her culture, she loves the environment she is in and wouldn’t change it one bit. “All of these extracurriculars I have been in have helped me make more friends of all grades and helped me be mentally, emotionally ready for school,” said Maile emotionally.

Maile is a passionate Hispanic, Chamorro student who loves her culture and embraces it to the fullest. She takes pride in who she is and in the uniqueness of what makes her, her.