Tåno’ is a short dance film on location in the north-western Pacific island of Guåhan/Guam that belongs to the archipelago known as the Mariana Islands in a region known as Micronesia. Featuring the work of dancer anthropologist Ojeya Cruz Banks, who was born in California but her maternal ancestors are indigenous to the island. Visually illuminating the synergy between land and biography, her dancing embodies a somatic ritual informed by indigenous cosmology that views earth as sacred and where ancestral bones are buried. The film premiered at the 2016 Quadrennial Pacific Arts Festival in Guåhan and explores the complexities of identity, diaspora, homeland, and US military territorialism through vivid metaphors and poetic narrative. Cruz Banks calls Guåhan, her altar, her birth right and story; the digital narrative filmed on a smart phone is about rekindling bonds and activating spiritual consciousness about family and ancestral landscape through dance. In the film, she dances in patch of breadfruit forest of astonishing beauty juxtaposed to the US Marine Corps highway. Tåno’ counters race-based logics of identity with an indigenous Chamoru perspective of selfhood and social justice that is intrinsically connected to land.
Cruz Banks, Ojeya (2017, forthcoming) Tånó: A Black Chamoru Dancing Self- Revelation. Amerasia Journal.