WE the people of Micronesia, have a long legacy of strong men who charm, memorialize, and lead the rest of us to better things. One such individual was the late David Kapileo Peter a.k.a. “Taulamwaar.”
I call him uncle, and will always remember how he talked about making the CNMI a hub for travel in the Pacific. He had great ideas that were sound and simple to a degree. He was ambitious about promoting Saipan and the CNMI into a stronger economic state than what it was or is now. He spoke about how, we, people of minority do not have to sit quietly while others run the show. These are our islands, and its future should be in our hands.
Being from Ulithi in the Federated States of Micronesia’s state of Yap, and of a Carolinian culture, I relate completely with Uncle Dave in most of his ideas he shared. My time with him, though short, made me feel like I was back on Falalop under the tutelage of the elders in the canoe house. We come from an “oral” culture because we speak our history to our younger generations. Nothing was written down, instead stories or “fee-ong” was used to pass down important cultural education from one generation to the next ones.
Uncle David was not only a Carolinian Cultural Icon, but also a wonderful musician, and he wooed people with his singing, and how he was smooth as silk on his ukulele.
He was a leader who could talk the talk and walk the walk. He was kind in the most gentlest of ways. He always smiled and told jokes like everything was okay. Even when he was in pain and waning, he still smiled.
At his farewell gathering by the Carolinian Utt, my wife and I sat and watched a colorful sunset, as the family was out on a boat in the water scattering his ashes, as he had wished.
Though he endured a lot in the latter part of his life, and became a person with a disability, he remained strong in his ways. We at NMPASI have worked with people who have disabilities to protect their legal rights in the CNMI since 1993, but once in a while, we take pause, and admire people who do not let their conditions get in their way.
Uncle David Peter is one such individual. He lived every moment of his life well from what I saw. He was a Vietnam Veteran, an entertainer, and one of the authors of Satil Matawal Pasifiko (the Carolinian part of the CNMI National Anthem).
I hope we can take a page from Taulamwaar’s book of life, and learn to love gently, speak softly, and stand up for what we believe in. Farewell Uncle Dave, thank you for your wisdom and guidance, and now rest in peace.
Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems Inc.