- Crossing Spaces
Crossing Spaces is a collection of three short documentaries produced and directed by Chamoru scholar Lola Quan Bautista. Filmed on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, it follows the educational journeys of three Micronesian women: Nanette Fritz from Chuuk, Yoana Amond from Pohnpei, and Chimako Anitok from the Marshall Islands. Through the distinct voices and experiences of these three women, Bautista offers a rare glimpse into the complex realities and challenges of an ethnic group that remains largely stigmatized and misunderstood in Hawai‘i. In doing so, she illuminates gender paradoxes and unfolds compelling narratives of racism, poverty, and gender expectations that the women experience. As an educational narrative, this film presents three Micronesian women at different crossroads in their lives, negotiating spaces for a better education while remaining grounded in their identity and cultural values of family, sharing, and respect in order to improve their lives, their families, and Island communities.
The documentary series begins with Nanette, a single mother and student at Kapi‘olani Community College who aspires to be a teacher. Nanette was raised by her grandparents, who influenced her faith in God and her aspirations to go to school. Despite her family struggles and the stigma of being a single Chuukese mother, she feels God has bigger plans for her. Empowered through her faith and higher education, as well as through the encouragement of a community support group for single mothers, Nanette finds a way to achieve her dreams and follow her calling to serve and support her community.
The second documentary short features Yoana Amond from Pohnpei and opens with her introducing urohs, or embroidered skirts, to her students in a classroom. Similar to Nanette, although older, Yoana explains that she was a full-time mother, grandmother, volunteer, and worker when she returned to school. She recently completed an associate’s degree at Kapi‘olani Community College and is interested in earning her bachelor’s degree in special education at the University of Hawai‘i–Mānoa before returning to her home island to serve its communities. Her story emphasizes the important role of women as managers, providers, and supporters of their families. In her own words, “women [are] really important for the family, and we can do certain things that men cannot do it, and we are the supporter for the family always.” She acknowledges that women do all the work, from employment outside of the home to taking care of children and the household. Interestingly, Yoana is inspired by the story of Queen Lili‘uokalani, the last queen and monarch of Hawai‘i, who was overthrown by the US government. [End Page 594] She describes the queen as a leader who fought for her islands. She is also fascinated with the stories behind and associated with the Queen’s Quilt, which to her represents the value of sharing and working together through material culture. With this in mind, she volunteers in her community to share lei making with other women. Interestingly, the Hawaiian quilt and Pohnpeian urohs reflect the early interactions and relationships between Micronesians and Hawaiians through the Christian missions in the nineteenth century.
The third story presents Chimako Anitok from the Marshall Islands. At the age of three, Chimako moved to Hawai‘i with her family for medical reasons. The youngest of the three women featured, Chimako is a freshman at Brigham Young University majoring in social work and minoring in mathematics. Her story illustrates the role of daughters in a Marshallese household. As a young Marshallese woman, Chimako describes women as sacred because they hold the primary responsibility of helping their families. She also identifies herself as a second mom because, like her mother, she is always helping her family. However, this responsibility comes with more restrictions compared to what young men or sons experience; unlike girls, boys are allowed more...