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Saipan Tribune: Author seeks entries for Marianas book (March 02, 2017)

A Northern Marianas College instructor is now accepting contributions for a book intended to provide a snapshot of life in the Marianas.

Funded by the Northern Marianas Humanities Council and supported by NMC, Ajani Burrell, an author and language and humanities instructor at NMC, encouraged members of the Saipan Rotary Club last Tuesday to help spread the word about the project, a book that compiles the perspective of numerous people living in the Marianas region.

That includes both the CNMI and Guam, Burrell said.

“The book is intended to provide a panoramic perspective of what life is like today in the CNMI [and Guam],” said Burrell.

Burrell said the book’s entries would focus on “what life is like today in the Marianas, what are the factors that are shaping life today, the customs and practices that are continuing and which customs and practices are fading.”

According to Burrell, the main goal of the project is to develop a book that will be accessible to the public as well as reading material for related subjects, from upper middle school classes to college students.

Topics include cultural resurgence and maintenance; food and fashion; family life and culture; current trends and community issues; language indications; multicultural populations; changing beliefs and perceptions; identity conflicts; trade and business; interisland movement; and colonization in governments.

Burrell is coordinating the project with Dr. Kimberly Bunts-Anderson, who is also an instructor at NMC, and will be making trips to Rota, Tinian, and Guam to meet people as well as pursue and investigate their different stories and cultural practices.

“The project is supposed to be a compendium of many different voices in the Marianas, so we are trying to speak to as many different groups of people as possible in hopes of getting submissions and perspectives from a wide array of people in the Marianas today,” said Burrell.

Burrell added that people of all ethnicities and origins are welcome to contribute, given that their written contribution is relevant.

That would include “people that are indigenous to the area, transplants, both U.S. citizens as well as other communities and groups that have a strong presence here in the Marianas. We are really hoping to give a sort of broad perspective through an examination of rather microscopic elements,” he said.

According to Burrell, video interviews may be submitted as well.

Deadline for submissions is before June or July, as a manuscript is set to be done by September. For more information, contact Burrell at [email protected] or go to the website at

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