The Northern Marianas Humanities Council said, “IT matters.”

Executive Director Leo G. Pangelinan said, “IT matters. So that’s Inafa’måolik-Tipiyeew (IT) Matters.”

“IT” is the cultural values, perspectives, and experiences among the NMI’s cultural groups. The project will include an online survey, filmed interviews, and a Marianas Values conference that will bring the Chamorro and Refalúwasch communities together in July to discuss the findings.

“There is as the name suggests, special emphasis on the Chamorro and Carolinian people. We are kind of anchoring this project to their values and sort of their perspectives and opinions about how these other values play into the social dynamics of what we are experiencing today with regard to conflict,” said Pangelinan. 

It’s part of the United We Stand: Connection Through Culture initiative funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

The council is also seeking 25 high school and college students living in the CNMI who will do the filmed interviews. They hope to promote harmony across the diverse communities.

Pangelinan added, “We felt we don't really have the kind of hate that you see in the United States that escalates quickly into violence and sometimes mob violence. We don't have that, those types of experiences, but we recognize that we do have racial and ethnic tension and those definitely lead to conflicts that might be passive-aggressive type of conflicts. We see some of that come out in social media.”