Sångåni i Taotao ni Estoriå-ta

Our project, Sångåni i Taotao ni Estoriå-ta,Telling Our Stories: Contemporary Pacific Writers in a Global World addresses the representation of Pacific voices in creative writing and music and how Guam’s stories, as well as those from the larger Pacific Islands region can contribute to the conversation in local, regional and global media and publications. Humanities Guåhan explored how the craft of storytelling within poetry, music and performance can help foster an informed citizenry—the foundation of a healthy democracy. It is particularly significant to focus on storytelling as Guam shares in a rich oral tradition found throughout Pacific communities.


This project aims to highlight how personal and community narratives help connect citizens to important topics such as developing Pacific centered curricula in schools, the role of traditional beliefs and practices in the modern world, and the power of creative forms of expression from poetry and music to theater and film. As a small island community that is home to indigenous CHamorus, as well as transnational citizens with ties to wider Micronesia, the Philippines, and other countries in the Asia Pacific region, we have many valuable stories and perspectives to share. We address the ways in which Pacific forms of knowledge and their transmission are represented (or not) in the world of writing and performance, and illuminate ways in which Guam’s stories and those of the larger Pacific can positively contribute to global media outlets and publications.


This project also focuses on the role of the humanities, including poetry and interpretive performance, in creating a more equitable playing field where all peoples’ voices, and specifically those of Pacific Islanders, are heard. How can those working in the humanities fields disrupt inaccurate narratives and create a more open dialogue on the local, regional, and global level? How can the craft of Pacific storytelling counter or add to narratives found in mainstream media? What does it mean to be a Pacific writer and performer in the digital age? 


To address these questions and topics, Humanities Guåhan will bring to Guam, Māori and Pākehā writer, and performer Hinemoana Baker for a weeklong tour from June 8-12, 2022. Hinemoana is an award-winning poet and musician from Aotearoa New Zealand, and currently a doctoral student at the University of Potsdam, Germany. In addition to publishing four poetry collections and producing five albums of her original music and poetry, Hinemoana has delighted audiences with her solo stage shows, which include sonic art, lyric poetry and family storytelling. Her most recent poetry collection, Funkhaus was shortlisted in 2021 for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, the premier literary honors for books written by New Zealanders. 

Click the videos below to watch Hinemoana performing at the Guam Museum on June 10, 2022.



The tour includeed a series of creative writing workshops with youth, college students, members of community organizations, as well as an advanced workshop with scholars and published poets and writers. Hinemoana also gave a community presentation where she read and performed her work, as well as answered questions from our audience.




For more information on Sångåni i Taotao ni Estoriå-ta, Telling Our Stories: Contemporary Pacific Writers in a Global World, you can view our press release here or flyer here. For more information on Hinemoana Baker, you may visit her website here.  


For more information on the Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative from the Mellon Foundation, see here.  To see how other humanities councils across the United States have implemented the initiative, please see the Federation of State Humanities website here

To learn more about our past literary tour I Come From Here which was a part of the nationwide Democracy and the Informed Citizen initiative, visit our webpage here.