Who is Chief Hurao?
Hurao was a Chamorro chief on the island of Guam who led the resistance against Spanish colonization efforts during the 17th century. The chief’s name means “emotion, caring, attention, heed”. Hurao may be best remembered for his 1671 speech to Chamorro warriors opposing the Spanish presence on Guam.
He organized a 40-day siege of the Spanish Mission in Agana that was finally broken by Spanish soldiers. Hurao was captured, but released by Father San Vitores.
According to Russell’s account of Father San Vitores’ death, however, Hurao was in fact an accomplice to Matapang’s 1672 murder of the priest.
Hurao was a member of the Matao/Chamorri, the highest caste in Chamorro society and held the title maga’lahi.
Chief Hurao’s Speech Collected On-Line
Before they arrived on the island, we did not know insects. Did we know rats, flies, mosquitoes, and all the other little animals which constantly torment us? These are the beautiful presents they have made us. And what have their floating machines brought us? Formerly, we do not have rheumatism and inflammations. If we had sickness, we had remedies for them. But they have brought us their diseases and do not teach us the remedies. Is it necessary that our desires make us want iron and other trifles which only render us unhappy?
The Spaniards reproach us because of our poverty, ignorance and lack of industry. But if we are poor, as they tell us, then what do they search for? If they didn’t have need of us, they would not expose themselves to so many perils and make such efforts to establish themselves in our midst. For what purpose do they teach us except to make us adopt their customs, to subject us to their laws, and to remove the precious liberty left to us by our ancestors? In a word, they try to make us unhappy in the hope of an ephemeral happiness which can be enjoyed only after death.
They treat our history as fable and fiction. Haven’t we the same right concerning that which they teach us as incontestable truths? They exploit our simplicity and good faith. All their skill is directed towards tricking us; all their knowledge tends only to make us unhappy. If we are ignorant and blind, as they would have us believe, it is because we have learned their evil plans too late and have allowed them to settle here.
Let us not lose courage in the presence of our misfortunes. They are only a handful. We can easily defeat them. Even though we don’t have their deadly weapons which spread destruction all over, we can overcome them by our large numbers. We are stronger than we think! We can quickly free ourselves from these foreigners! We must regain our former freedom!