Matai i tatan bihu-hu, Si Tun Jack Lujan gi ma’pos na simana. Gof matungo’ gui’ giya Guahan komo herreron tradisionat Chamorro. Mafa’na’gue gui’ ni’ tata-na antes di gera, ya guiya ha’ kumatga i tiningo’ yan kustumbre mo’na anai makpo’ i gera. Ha fa’na’gue mas ki kinse na estudiante kontodu Guahu yan i che’lu-hu.
Antes di tumaigue hu prometi gui’ na para bai hu na’la’la’ mo’na i irensia-na, gi i che’cho’ herrero yan gi un lepblo lokkue’ put i lina’la’-na.
Estague un bio put guiya yan i sen bali na che’cho’-na. Achokka’ triste pa’go na ha’ani, ti puniyon na apmam i tiempo-na guini gi hilo’ tano’. Anakko’ i anineng-na.
Joaquin Flores Lujan was born in Hagatna in 1920 and grew up in the village of Anigua. He was nicknamed “Jack” and known as “Kin Bitud” by friends and relatives. From the age of 9 he was taught the art of Chamorro blacksmithing by his father Marianao L.G. Lujan who in turn learned from his uncle.
Guam prior to World War II was primarily a farming community and Guam sported dozens of blacksmiths who supported those farmers and their livelihoods by making everything from horse shoes, wheel rims, in addition to machete or fosiños. Changes to the lives of Chamorros led to nearly all of those prewar blacksmiths not passing on their trade to their children and not taking on apprentices. Lujan has become the sole surviving link to Guam’s blacksmithing past, which has become close to being lost because of the time-consuming nature of learning and practicing the craft, and also diminishing economic incentives to produce hand-forged local tools.
Lujan himself took up work as a welder before World War II and as a U.S. immigration officer after the war. When he retired, at the request of his father, he again took up blacksmithing and set out to let others know of the beauty he found in this aspect of Guam’s heritage. For the past forty years he has regularly demonstrated his craft and displayed his tools at art festivals, schools and other public events.
In 1985, Lujan took on three apprentices, all members of the Guam Fire Department who were used to heat and hard work and who had developed a passion for Lujan’s art after seeing him demonstrate it. Others came to him to hone their skills, and in all he has taught 16 apprentices the basics of Chamorro blacksmithing. Television programs, newspapers, and magazines featured his work, and he was invited to exhibit and demonstrate in Australia, Taiwan, The Cook Islands and the mainland United States. He received the annual Governor’s Art Award on numerous occasions and the Governor’s Lifetime Cultural Achievement Award in 1996. The Consortium of Pacific Arts and Cultures honored him by including his work in the American-Pacific crafts exhibit “Living Traditions.” In 2011 he received a Master Folk Artist Fellowship from the corporation Louis Vuitton that he used to train two of his grandsons, who were his last apprentices. In 1996 he received his highest honor, when he was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which is given to those who are nationally recognized as being a master for their particular folk arts. He is the only artist from the Western Pacific to have received this honor.