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AAPI – Celebrating Guam and Hawaiian Islands

Date: May 27, 2022

As we close out Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we acknowledge that countries in Asia such as Japan and China are referenced more often in our daily culture while smaller islands, such as Guam, receive less attention.

The United States is home to the largest population of Guam descendants, outside of Guam itself. The U.S. acquired the territory in the Treaty of Paris in 1898, and welcomed the Chamorro people as Americans.

Our sisters and brothers who fly out of GUM are in good company historically. History teaches us that that following the acquisition, Chamorro men, also called “Balleneros”, joined whaling ships that stopped in Guam and would then sail to ports in California and Hawaii. Working as a Ballenero gave a young man the opportunity to work, travel, and expand their view of the world and to contribute their cultural influences outside of Guam.  As a result, many decided to leave their native island permanently.

While Chamorro culture is strongly influenced by American customs and values, efforts are made with cultural centers across the country which devote time to teach Chamorro families about their native culture.

This special combination of history, tradition and sharing of cultures serves as a bright light, reminding us all of the value of diversity and inclusion.

In a similar way, we celebrate the unique relationship between the Hawaiian Islands and the continental United States. Countless descendants of the Hawaiian people have contributed to our collective culture as artists, educators, scientists, political leaders, athletes and so much more. The blend of culture and tradition which has its roots in the special collaboration between Guam, Hawaii and the mainland U.S. resonates in a profound and positive way.

At home at United Airlines, we honor our roots as an airline in Hawaii, for we would not be the carrier we are today without the history and cultural ties that have shaped and branded our industry and airline for decades. Pacific Islanders are known for their warm, hospitable and welcoming spirit and this influence is foundational in shaping the overall culture of our airline.  Indeed, this warmth and hospitality is something to which we should all aspire.

To all Asian American and Pacific Islanders, we wish you a wonderful and memorable Heritage month.

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