Sunday, December 13, 2015

Puengen Minagof Nochebuena 2014

Puengen Minagof Nochebuena
by Michael Lujan Bevacqua
December 3, 2014
The Marianas Variety

THE Chamorro Studies Program at the University of Guam organizes numerous events and programs each year. We host or co-host forums, such as the female candidate forums and sexual harassment forums held earlier this year. We offer Chamorro language classes and over the past year Chamorro dance and weaving courses. We hold regular colloquia where people speak on issues important in a contemporary or historical sense to the Chamorro people, including last year’s “The Chamorro Experience gi Fino’ Chamorro” a lecture series in the Chamorro language. But amidst all these activities there are two primary events that the program organizes each year, I Inachaigen Fino’ CHamoru or the Chamorro Language Competition, each March on Charter Day and Puengen Minagof Noche Buena, a Chamorro Christmas celebration each December.

This year’s Puengen Minagof Noche Buena will be taking place this Friday, Dec. 5 starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Humanities and Social Sciences building atrium at UOG. It is a collaborative effort of the instructors and students for all the Chamorro languages classes at UOG in the Fanuchan’an (fall) semester.

Normally, the evening features a bilen-making competition, however this year is different. A bilen is a Nativity scene, usually featuring a baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, some shepherds and the Three Kings (Wise Men). Nowadays many people buy a set or use a set bought in previous years, but in the past a family would collect moss and wood from the jungle and build the scene themselves. In the past, classes would use found objects and natural or recyclable materials to build their bilens and they would be pitted against each other to see whose was the best. The competitive aspect will still be present this year, but instead students will be constructing latte stones. They will still have to use natural and recyclable materials. Judges will be scoring the latte stones in the following categories: Most Beautiful, Most Relevant to the Theme and Most Creative. There is an additional category where those attending Puengen Minagof will be able to vote for their favorite in the People’s Choice Award.

A must for each Puengen Minagof is the enjoying of Chamorro Christmas songs. Students will be singing a wide variety of songs both traditional and more contemporary. Come and join UOG students and sing along to old favorites such as “Dandan i Pandaretas” or “Kantåyi gui’” or “Ta Falågue Sahyao.” You can also hear contemporary Christmas songs such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” or “Jingle Bells” and “Silver Bells” translated into Chamorro. Here’s an excerpt of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or “Rudof” translated into Chamorro:

Rudof agaga' i gui'eng-mu/ lålamlam kada puengi,/ ya kada ma attan i gui'eng-mu,/ sigi hao di ma kasse,/ todu i mangga'chong-mu,/ sigi hao di ma kasse,/ sa' hågu ha' nai na binådu,/ sasahnge yan na'ma'se'.

I am proud to present that for this year’s Puengen Minagof, we will also be featuring Chamorro weaving demonstrations. This semester the Chamorro Studies program has been working with the group Pa’a Taotao Tano’ to offer a class in Chamorro weaving. For the past few months, students in the course have been learning how to weave items such as the gueha (fan), katupat (rice pouch), guafak (woven mat), piña (pineapple), puti’on (stars), ala (basket) and tuhong sakman (canoe hat). The instructor is Art Pangelinan from Pa’a Taotao Tano’, who has been teaching the students to weave with both hågon niyok (coconut fibers) and akgak (pandanus fibers). The students will be presenting the items they have learned to weave this semester and also be offering some demonstrations for those interested in trying their hand at a kaputat, a puti’on or a apacha’ (grasshopper).

There will be other displays and demonstrations, including the screening of Chamorro language film projects by students and the introducing of a new virtual dictionary website. Professors Gerhardt Schwab and Rosa Palomo of UOG have been working on developing a virtual database and learning resource for the Chamorro language. Students in CM301, or Advanced Chamorro, have been working this semester to add words, dialogues, grammatical lessons to the website which will hopefully be launched sometime next year. Rosa Palomo has been teaching Chamorro at UOG for many years. Gerhardt Schwab is actually a social work professor at UOG, but recently declared himself a Chamorro Studies major and has since returned to school to learn the Chamorro language.

Finally, what is perhaps the most exciting aspect of Puengen Minagof for people is the food. This year’s table will feature a variety of exciting types of buñelos, or donuts. According to the students coordinating the table, there will be buñelos dågu, buñelos aga’, buñelos månglo, buñelos kalamasa, buñelos kamuti, buñelos manha and perhaps several other surprises. 

I want to thank Dean James Sellmann of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences for hosting the event. I also want to congratulate the fafa’na’guen Chamorro at UOG for all their hard work in making this event happen: Sinora Palomo, Sinora Flores, Sinora Mendiola, Sinot Franquez and Sinot Benavente. They are all part-time faculty who are dedicated to the promotion and protection of the Chamorro language and each year organize wonderful events like this to that end.

Biba Puengen Minagof! Biba Chamorro! Biba UOG!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Maisa, the Chamoru Girl Who Saved Guam

Friday, 27 November 2015

GDOE Presents "Maisa The Chamoru Girl Who Saves Guåhan"

Written by 
The Pacific News Center 

The film is produced by the GDOE Chamorro Studies and Special Projects Division, and Twiddle Production and is 100% federally funded by US Department of Education Consolidated Grant,Title V.
Guam - The Guam Department of Education is excited to announce that "Maisa The Chamoru Girl Who Saves Guåhan", an animated film in the Chamorro language will have its premiere to the general public on Dec 12, 2015 at the UOG Lecture Hall.

The film is produced by the GDOE Chamorro Studies and Special Projects Division.

You can view the trailer at the following link:

Videos to Boost Interest in Pacific Languages

Saturday, October 24, 2015
Item: 9463
AUCKLAND (Pacific Media Watch): Loss of language is still a major concern for Pacific communities. With another year of language week celebrations almost over, the Auckland University of Technology has produced a series of videos to promote the languages.
Community engagement manager at AUT’s Manukau campus Jody Jackson-Becerra said the series urged young people to get involved.
“In the past lots of different cultural activities have been done, which doesn’t necessarily reach many people. And so doing the videos and encouraging our Pacific students to attempt to speak a language, even if they were not confident, was a great way to promote the language.”
The project also gave way for topical issues other than languages to be addressed, like in the Tuvalu language story.

The issue of climate change was highlighted, which has sparked interest in other Pacific youth.
One of these youngsters was AUT student Cythia Patali, who featured in the video.
'Good for us'

“I’m also a Pasifika student and I understand what they’re coming through and also it’s good for us to understand their background as well,” she said.

“For me, I’m Samoan and I like to understand other cultures and backgrounds.”
Tongan student Mabel Muller also understands the value of language.
“Language is a precious commodity for any culture and in order to break down barriers between generations and different cultures we’ve got to know the language,” she said.
“For a language to die out, that’s basically the most important element of a culture, so once the language dies out everything else is going to follow.”

The last of the language weeks puts Tokelau in the spotlight starting tomorrow.

Community engagement manager at AUT's Manukau campus Jody Jackson-Becerra ... youth engagement vital. Video: Pacific Media Watch

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Dictionary for a Dying Language

This 81-Year Old Wrote a Dictionary to Save Her Tribe's Dying Language
Anna Culaba

Even though it seems like the English language has pretty much given up on life, it’s more alive than ever as we add more and more words like “selfie” and “YOLO” to our vocabularies. But do you know that we are losing about one language spoken around the world to oblivion every two weeks?
According to the United Nations, there are almost 7,000 spoken languages in the world and, by the year 2100, we will have said goodbye to more than half of them. Here in America, the New York Times reports that more than 130 Native American languages are currently at risk and 74 of those languages are “critically endangered.”

One likely language to die out is that used by the Wukchumni tribe. Today, there are only about 200 Wukchumni members left, and only one of them can speak their language fluently — Marie Wilcox.
Fortunately, Marie is doing all she can to preserve her tribe’s language. She learned to use a computer so she can create a Wukchumni dictionary. Pecking away at her keyboard day and night, Marie worked for seven years to ensure that her culture will live on.

In the year 2100, when almost half of the languages in the world are lost, we will still have the Wukchumni language thanks to Marie Wilcox’s dedication.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

ChaNoWriMo 2013

by Michael Lujan Bevacqua
Marianas Variety

IN THE writing world, November is a special month, although a generally crazy one.

It is known as NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. During this month all of those who have a passion for writing are encouraged to cast caution into the wind and blitz out the novel they have always dreamed of writing. It is something anyone, from any walk of life can participate in. All it takes is commitment and time management. The link for the website where you can sign up is

For those who take on the NaNoWriMo challenge, the number 50,000 signifies both a hated overseer and a inspiring target. As this process is about getting those who want to write, to write, everyone is given a target – 50,000 words – they are to reach by the end of the month. Over the course of November you are to type out 50,000 words of your chosen story.

Since the target is all that matters you are not encouraged to edit and rewrite as you write, but simply charge forward until you finally scale that 50,000 word tall peak. The rest of the year can be spent tweaking and rethinking, but November is purely for writing. So you take your idea and see whether it can take you to 50,000 words or not.

I participated last year and used November as a chance to start a story I had always imagined but never gotten around to really fleshing out. My story was titled “The Legend of the Chamurai” and takes place over 600 years after a great warrior makahna, or spiritual fighter, receives a vision foretelling the doom of her people. Along the way, conquistadors and Japanese samurai make appearances. Ferdinand Magellan appears in a cameo at one point.

As Ancient Chamorros believed in ancestral worship as their religion, they saw the world around them as filled with the spirits of their ancestors. These spirits give guidance and good fortune, and so my story tries to give life to this possibility, placing the worlds of the living and the dead side by side. Makahnas (today known as suruhanus) have the ability to harness the power of the spiritual world and cast spells, summon monsters and create shields of protection.

Famous taotaomo’na figures such as the white lady and Gadao are there, as are lesser known spirits such as Anufat and Gamson. Even the infamous trickster spirit Ukudu plays a role in the story.

I reached my goal of 50,000 words and have been eagerly awaiting November so that I can continue my story.

This year is different however, because I am currently the program coordinator for the Chamorro Studies major program at the University of Guam. The purpose of the program is to preserve, study and promote the knowledge, language and culture of Chamorros. So this year’s NaNoWriMo has a visibly local twist for me, and I am encouraging people to join me and participate in ChaNoWriMo, or “Chamorro Novel Writing Month.”

Participating in ChaNoWriMo is just as easy as NaNoWriMo, with one expected difference. For NaNoWriMo you can write about anything, for ChaNoWriMo, you have to take special care to weave throughout your story things that are representative of Chamorros. In other words, write a story that will use the Chamorro language, history and culture as core parts of how the plot unfolds.

This can mean that you write a story entirely in Chamorro, or it can mean just the dialogue is in Chamorro. Or it can just be a promise to use Chamorro words as much as possible in the dialogue or the text.

But these sorts of things can be incidental; the inclusion of a minor character from Guam, the use of “Hafa Adai? here or there, or as most films and novels do it, just the mention of Guam randomly at some point. For those who want to participate in ChaNoWriMO, you have to go a bit further. You have to really find a way to creatively represent Chamorros. This means finding a part of the Chamorro story or the Chamorro experience that doesn’t receive as much attention and highlighting it. Or it can mean taking something that people are already familiar with and writing about it in a completely new light.

For example, I am looking forward to someone updating the traditional “suruhanu/suruhana” figure. Suruhanus can help people in many ways. They have natural remedies, sometimes offer midwife service, can be experts at massage, and can also be our link to the spiritual world. When you are at a point where an illness seems to have no cure or where some supernatural mystery cannot be answered, you turn to a suruhanu to help you.

I can’t wait till someone writes a series titled, “CSI: Suruhanu.” In it, families and the police when faced with crimes or mysteries that cannot be solved or have some unfathomable dimension, they’ll call in the services of CSI: Suruhanu, who can use his mental fortitude to analyze clues, but also his connections to his “ga’chong” in the taotaomo’na world for finding the truth. If this concept doesn't interest you, take some other aspect and write a similar transformation for it.

The Chamorro Studies Program Facebook page will be offering more information on how to participate in ChaNoWriMo. To receive these updates please like it on Facebook.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Speak Chamorro Mobile app

Young Men’s League of Guam launches ‘Speak Chamorro’ mobile app
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, February 24, 2015 

(Hagatna, Guam) Today, the Young Men’s League of Guam (YMLG) is pleased to announce the release of the ‘Speak Chamorro’ mobile app. 

The Speak Chamorro app is free and available on Google Play for Andriod phones and the iPhone version of the same will be available next Friday, March 06, 2015. 

The features of the app include:
a. Chamorro word of the day
b. Definition of the Chamorro word
c. English translation of that word, and
d. The use of the Chamorro word in a sentence and its translation in English. 

The genesis of developing a mobile app came about in a recruitment meeting between Brother Bob Pelkey, President of the YMLG, Brother Dr. Wilfred P. Leon Guerrero, Member of the Board of Directors, Brother Wil Castro, Public Affairs Officer, YMLG, and Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio. Lt. Governor Ray Tenorio stated “that I too have made it a goal to become proficient in my language and if there was a way we may help others like me, that would be great.” 

The Guam Department of Education Chamorro Studies Division is a development partner for the app. Brother Ron Laguana is the administrator of that division and a member of the Board of Director for the YMLG. He assists the league by providing the content used in the app. 

The YMLG prioritized the development of the app in consideration of Mes Chamorro and upon the start of its ‘Drive to 100,’ a 24 month campaign leading up to the league’s centennial anniversary. The league was founded in March of 1917. 

According to YMLG President Bob Pelkey, “for many years we have served our community by providing scholarships, sponsoring events, participating in clean-ups, caroling during the holidays for the young at the hospital, man’amko, and for those who are sick or needy, and in other ways. This year we want to do something that would reach as many people in a way that was meaningful to the league but relevant to those who share our love for the Chamorro language and culture, so we developed the Speak Chamorro app.” 

The Young Men’s League of Guam is the oldest Chamorro fraternal organization.
For additional information about the app you may contact Brother Wil Castro, at 929-6209 or or visit us on Facebook at

Monday, October 12, 2015

Kantan i Taotao Tano'

The Guam Symphony Society will be hosting its 49th season opener Kåntan I Taotao Tåno  on Saturday, October 17 at 6 p.m. and again on Sunday, October 18 at 3 p.m. at the Lotte Hotel Guam.

The concert will highlight Chamorro favorites such as Nihi Ta Fanhånao Ta Fampiknik, Nobia Kahulo’, Pues Adios, Torroro Meresa, Atan Jesu Kristo and many more!  Kåntan I Taotao Tåno will also feature special performances by internationally acclaimed Inetnon Gefpå'go.

"We are so proud and very pleased to continue with our Chamorro series featuring some of the most beloved songs and music that we all grew up with as Chamorros," says Clifford Guzman, President of the Symphony.  "We invite everyone to come out and enjoy this special evening with the Guam Symphony Orchestra and Community Chorale and Inetnon Gefpå'go!" 

Saturday tickets are $65 and includes a Chamorro inspired dinner buffet. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the show starting promptly at 7 p.m. The Sunday matinee show tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students.   Tickets are available at Faith Bookstore in Maite.

For more information, contact 687-2696 or at or visit

Young Navajos Studying to Save their Language

Voice of America 
Young Navajos Study to Save Their Language 

For part of her life, Sylvia Jackson stopped speaking her native language, Navajo. Like many Native American children, she had little chance to speak her language.

“We had to speak English. So I lost a lot of just speaking the Navajo language.”

More than 100 years ago, the U.S. government began sending Native American children to boarding schools. All the instruction was in English. The native cultures and languages of the children were discouraged.

In the last 20 to 30 years, tribal governments have started to promote the teaching of Native American languages in schools. The U.S. Department of Education now also supports Native American language programs.

Today, Sylvia Jackson is a Navajo language instructor in the small town of Holbrook, Arizona. She teaches Navajo to students at Holbrook High School. Her class is taught entirely in Diné, the Navajo language.

Ms. Jackson said both she and her students have an important part in keeping their language alive.
“My parents are actually, they grew up speaking the Navajo language; they’re fluent speakers. They’re like a dictionary. If I ask them, “How do you say this?” they translate. But me, I’m learning as I’m going.”

Navajo Nation
​​The town of Holbrook is an hour by car from the Navajo Nation. The 69,000-square-kilometer territory is the largest of the 326 Indian reservations in the United States. The Navajo Nation covers parts of four states in the American Southwest. It is about the same size as the country of Ireland.
During the 1800s, increasing numbers of European settlers in America moved west. In 1864, the federal government began a campaign to deport Navajos from their lands. The natives were moved to the northwest in a series of marches called the "Long Walk." The marches took place under the threat of death.

Navajo leaders and the U.S. government reached a peace treaty in 1868. It established the Navajo Indian Reservation.

Today, more than 250,000 people live in the Navajo Nation. They have their own laws, fly their own flag, and elect their own president.

The 2010 United States Census showed that about 170,000 Navajos speak Navajo at home. It is one of the most robust Native American languages today.

A right to speak Navajo
But there is a growing worry that the Navajo language could disappear. Seventy years ago, nearly everyone on the Navajo reservation spoke Navajo as their first language. But today, few young Navajos can speak the language of their grandparents.

A study in 1998 found that only 30 percent of Navajos entering school spoke Navajo as their mother tongue. Just 30 years earlier, that was true of 90 percent of first-grade Navajo students.

Richard Epstein is a linguist and professor at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. He said a language’s survival depends on one generation passing down knowledge to the next generation.
“In order to keep a language alive, the adults of the community have to be able to transmit it to the young folks.”

Dr. Epstein calls teaching and transmitting your native language to your children a right that should be better protected.

“Everybody should have the right to speak their own language, just as much as they should have the right to practice their religion. Because their language is as good as everybody else’s language…So if you take that away, you’ve taken away a massive resource for knowing something about a part of human life.

"And you’ve taken away a part of who those people are. Is that right? Everybody should have the right to speak their language and to transmit their language to their children and to keep their culture alive.”

​​On the reservation itself, Navajo language instruction in schools starts at a young age. At Indian Wells Elementary School, 3rd graders are learning how to read, write, and speak Navajo. The school opened in 2001.

Dr. Robbie Koerperich was Indian Wells’ first principal. Now, he is the superintendent of the Holbrook Unified School District. He said his district is concerned with preserving the Navajo language.

“The Navajo language itself, I believe, is a major concern on the reservation and in our district, pertaining to the preservation of the language. So the preservation of the Navajo language is part of our mission.”

Hortensia is a third-grader at Indian Wells Elementary. She said Navajo language is her favorite class.
“So we could learn it and teach it to other people.”

The role of older generations
Hortensia said she often visits her grandmother, or naali in Navajo. Grandparents on the reservation play an important part in passing down both the language and culture to their grandchildren.
Morgan is a Navajo language student at Holbrook High School. She is one of Sylvia Jackson’s students. She visits her grandparents’ home with her cousins, nieces and nephews. She said she sometimes feels like an outcast.

“With my nieces and nephews and my cousins, they’re about my age or a bit older and they don’t speak Navajo. And so it’s a bit hard when we go out to my grandparents’ place and they try to talk to us. And it feels like — when my grandparents and my parents talk together — I feel like, kind of like an outcast, like I don’t know what they’re saying, but it's like, I want to learn the language so I can carry it on and then teach my kids. And so we won’t lose the language.”

​​Some of these students’ grandparents and great-grandparents may also have played an important part in U.S. history. During World War II, the U.S. military recruited Navajo speakers. Together, they developed a code to send secret information past Japanese and German code-breakers.

The code was never broken.

Dr. Epstein credits the Navajo language’s complex structure for it being such a successful code.
“It was so unbelievably complicated that the enemy couldn’t figure out how it worked. And yet we took the children of these people away from their families to train them to speak English only on the grounds that this language was inferior.”

Sylvia Jackson was once one of those children. Today, she finds herself at the forefront of keeping her language alive.

“If you just think about it, my parents, if they go, then that’s going to be me right there who has to carry that on. If I don’t have the knowledge that they had, that’s going to be it right there. So, I’m glad that we have students who want to learn the language, who want to keep that language.”

I’m Ashley Thompson.
And I’m Caty Weaver.

Ashley Thompson and Adam Brock wrote this story. Caty Weaver and Jill Robbins were the editors.

Words in This Story

promote - v. to help (something) happen, develop, or increase
robust - adj. strong and healthy
transmit - v. to give or pass (information, values, etc.) from one person to another
folks - n. people in general
principal - n. the person in charge of a public school
outcast - n. someone who is not accepted by other people
code - n. a set of letters, numbers, symbols, etc., that is used to secretly send messages to someone
inferior - adj. of little or less importance or value
forefront - n. the most important part or position

Sunday, September 20, 2015

How Hawaiian Language Almost Died

How Hawaiian Language Almost Died
by Jade Moon
March 4, 2014

The first time Annie Mokiao spoke Hawaiian in school, her teacher did something shocking.
“When we used to go school, the kids – you speak Hawaiian, they slap you on the mouth. Teacher slap ’em.”

That was in the 1930s. Annie learned quickly that what was normal at home was considered shameful in the rest of the world.

“In our house,” she remembers, “my mother only speak Hawaiian, she don’t speak English.”
So Annie grew up with a severe case of cultural schizophrenia.

Namaka Rawlins is director of Strategic Partnerships and Collaboration for Aha Punana Leo, which, since 1983, has fought for the revitalization of the Hawaiian language. She says Aunty Annie’s story is all too common among kupuna.

“They were born at a time when we still had a law that said the Department of Education would only have English in the classrooms. Children were reprimanded and punished for using Hawaiian in schools. We’ve heard this from many of our kupuna.”

Hawaiian children were scolded, slapped and rapped with rulers for speaking in their native tongue.
In fact, the language of Hawaii almost died. From the Aha Punana Leo web-site:

“In 1896, education through the Hawaiian language in both public and private schools was outlawed on the model of U.S. policy towards the use of American Indian languages in education. Teachers are told that speaking Hawaiian with children will result in termination of employment. Children are harshly punished for speaking Hawaiian in school”

The lowest point, according to Rawlins, was a 1982 survey that identified fewer than 50 children who could speak Hawaiian fluently. Again from the website:

“By 1984, the community of fluent speakers had dwindled to a few elders and a tiny geographically isolated population on the island of Ni’ihau. Hawaiian language speaking children under the age of 18 numbered less than fifty. The demise of Hawaiian language was imminent.”
But the language did not die.

Initially the push for revitalization came from a handful of educators at the University of Hawaii, native speakers from Niihau, and parents. In 1983, in an effort to raise a new generation of native speakers, they created Punana Leo (which means “nest of voices”) and the first Hawaiian language preschool in Kekaha, Kauai.

Just how far has the movement come from that very modest beginning? A couple of weeks ago, the Hawaii Board of Education reaffirmed and strengthened its commitment to Hawaiian education and immersion programs in public schools. Its 2014 policy states, “Hawaii’s public education system should embody Hawaiian values, language, culture and history as a foundation to prepare students in grades K-12 for success in college, career and communities, locally and globally.”

The U.S. Census for the year 2000 shows the number of people who say they speak Hawaiian is roughly 26,000. That number is probably inflated, as the census does not ask level of fluency. Still, considering where we were in 1983, the growth is remarkable and heartening.

The ‘Olelo Hawai’i movement has become unstoppable. Today, thousands of children are exposed to the language and culture of Hawaii in public and private schools. We have access to Hawaiian language on the Internet, radio and on television.

Aunty Annie accepted the harsh lessons taught her in school, until, “When I grew up, I thought, gee, how come cannot speak our language?”

So she started speaking Hawaiian again to anyone who would listen. And that got her noticed. She was asked to become a kupuna at Maunawili Intermediate and at Ala Moana Elementary, teaching Olelo Hawaii to new generations of kids.

Aunty Annie is retired now. She may be a bit tired after raising nine children. She has more than 28 grandchildren and eight great-grandkids that she knows of. None of her own kids speak Hawaiian. But to her great joy, she can converse in ‘Olelo Hawai’i to a great-granddaughter and great-grandson who both went to immersion schools. How times have changed.

And Aunty Annie says she will never tire of sharing her knowledge.

“I want to teach anybody,” she says. “Anybody who want to learn, I’ll teach ’em. As long as I’m living, I teach.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Local Indigenous Authors to Publish Books

Indigenous authors excited to publish children's books
by Jojo Santo Tomas
Pacific Daily News
August 18, 2015

Five years ago, Jessica Iglesias used to take her twins to the library every Saturday. She sought local publications in Chamorro, to teach her 18-month-olds, Tano and Tasi, more about their language and culture.

"What I found was very limited, only a few books. I would have to go to outer branches to find material and they would let you see it, but you can't check it out," she says. "It became a constant search for material. I'd go to island fairs and things like that to look for material but there's not a lot out there."

Now that Tano and Tasi are 7, Iglesias is taking a direct approach to a solution. Along with technical adviser Rudy Villaverde, she is writing a book herself.

Iglesias is one of two dozen prospective authors who hope to get local children's books published in time for the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts, which is being held on Guam from May 22 to June 4 next year.

The authors have been meeting every Saturday since Aug. 1 for an Indigenous Children's Book Workshop, presented by the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency and the Forums, Workshops and Seminars Committee for FestPac. It is part of the "Connect Me, Create Me, Promote Me" Workshop Series sponsored by the Guam Visitors Bureau.

The weekend work is a stark contrast to Iglesias' daily grind as a customs officer and tax preparer. She has zero experience in writing and publishing, yet she feels comfortable and excited about the process.

That's due in large part to facilitator Rosa Salas Palomo, who put out a call for prospective authors in July. She was expecting 15 people to respond but almost double that showed interest. She managed to fit everyone in the workshop and has spent four hours each Saturday walking her fledgling authors through the basics of creating a story, working with local illustrators and designing a finished product.

Iglesias' story is about a young man going through a rite of passage, mastering the navigational skills necessary to travel from island to island in the Marianas. With Villaverde's wealth of knowledge, Iglesias is confident she will not only publish this book, she will develop future books in a series.
Another children's book author prospect, Arlene TaitagueTaitingfong, says she's going through an amazing time in her life. Using characters Téadora, a cat, and Bishop, a dog, she tells the story of a 'blended' family that learns how to accept their differences and learn how to respect each other.
"It's for elementary schoolchildren, and what kid doesn't like animals," she says. "Rosa Palomo has been very helpful, and makes the process sound so easy even though I know it's not. She's able to break it down to a step-by-step process that is easy to follow."

Taitingfong says attending the classes and being surrounded by so many like-minded people has helped her reconnect with her culture. She's starting Chamorro Language classes next week, for one, and is thinking even further ahead: she'd like to co-author a book with her brother David Shawn Taitague, who's an illustrator.

"All these good things are coming about since I started this workshop," she says. "I feel like I've hit the lottery."

Iglesias echoed her sentiments.

"I'm so excited, and I think it's great," she says. "All of us will be able to put out something that will be passed on for future generations. God bless Rosa Palomo for not turning anyone away."

Use of Hawaiian Leads to Tension on Legislative Floor

'I Don't Want to Translate': Rep, Hanohano's Use of Hawaiian Leads to Tension on the House Floor.
by Anita Hofschneider
March 4, 2014
Honolulu Civil Beat

Hawaii lawmakers were discussing a relatively innocuous bill to protect lifeguards from liability during Tuesday’s House session. But tensions quickly escalated when Rep. Faye Hanohano from the Big Island gave her comments in Hawaiian and Rep. John Mizuno, who was presiding over the session, asked her to translate.

She replied in Hawaiian. And then added, “I don’t want to translate.”

Mizuno quickly called a recess and conferred with the rest of the Democratic House leadership. When he called the House back into session, Mizuno recited from the House rules.
“Members should conduct themselves in a respectful manner,” he said.

Rep. Gene Ward, a Republican, rose to come to Hanohano’s defense, explaining that the issue of translating Hawaiian had come up on the House floor a couple of years ago.

“The legal prevailing authority was that there was no need for a translation,” said Ward, emphasizing that Hawaiian and English are both the state’s official languages.

Mizuno quickly moved on to the next bill, but the moment marked yet another episode in Hanohano’s ongoing conflict with House leadership over her conduct in session and hearings.

The Native Hawaiian representative has been under fire from critics who say she made racist remarks while presiding as chairwoman of the Committee on Oceans, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Guahan or Guam?

Island’s native name should replace ‘Guam’
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Marianas Variety, Feb. 17, 2010) – Governor Felix P. Camacho on Monday sought the adoption of "Guahan" as the territory’s official name, highlighting the newfound cultural activism sparked by the islanders’ resistance to the influx of American troops.

"‘Guahan’ means ‘we have’ and we have the right to do so," the governor said in his final state of the island address yesterday.

In an executive order signed after delivering his last annual address, the governor ordered that all "Guam" references in official documents be replaced with "Guahan," the island’s indigenous name.
Camacho also asked the Legislature to enact the pertinent measure to adopt the official name-change.
The governor’s deputy chief of staff, Shawn Gumataotao, said the executive order was the first step toward the lengthy process of officially renaming the territory.

"It requires a change in the Guam Code Annotated and the Organic Act. It also requires national international recognition and congressional action," Gumataotao said. 

The governor’s bid for reversion to the island’s indigenous name came as "We Are Guahan," a new movement that seeks to educate the community about the impact of the military buildup, became a household word overnight.

"Reclaiming the name ‘Guahan’ enhances the practice of Chamorro language and promotes the historic and cultural connection to the island," the executive order states.

The island has always been known as "Guahan" to its natives. 

The American started referring to the island as "Guam" when they came over in 1898. It had since become the official reference to the island.

On February 23, 1900, the first naval governor, Richard Leary, requested that the island be officially designated as "Isle of Guam."

"As a native son, and as the elected governor of our people, I hereby request that we reclaim our indigenous name of Guahan," Camacho said in his address. 

"As we quickly move in to this time of rapid growth and development that may forever change our island, our sense of identity, family and place, it is important that we reaffirm our identity as a people," the governor added.

Micheal Lujan Bevacqua, a cultural activist and an instructor of Guam History at the University of Guam, described the governor’s executive order as "a step toward keeping the heritage and language of the Chamorro people."

Marianas Variety:
Copyright © 2010 Marianas Variety. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Importance of Being Bilingual

The Importance of Being Bilingual
Michael Lujan Bevacqua
May 19, 2015
No Rest for the Awake - Minagahet Chamorro

For the Importance of Second Language Learning Forum that I helped organize a few weeks ago, we were honored to have a very diverse and exciting panel. Coming at it from different angles, they covered a number of way, some more philosophical and others more practical, as to how learning a second language can be important and as a result, something that should be required at UOG. 
The panel featured the following guests:
Kenneth Gofigan Kuper, a Ph.D. student in Political Science at UH Manoa and former student of mine. He is a young activist who has taken up both the banner of decolonization and language revitalization. I've been working with him on a number of projects such as Ha'anen Fino' Chamoru Ha' and the upcoming Lalahen Sinahi project. He took Chamorro as his second language requirement at UOG and it changed the course of his life. 

Ronald T. Laguana, the current director of the Division of Chamorro Studies in the Guam Department of Education. He is a founding member of the group Nasion Chamoru and is also one of the people behind the popularization of the Inefrei written by Dr. Bernadita Camacho Dungca. He is a proud and active member of the Inetnon Lalahin Guahan, YMLG. 

Toyoko Kang and Clarisa Quan are both professors at UOG. Kang is a Japanese language professor and Quan is a Linguistics and English professor. Both of them have been critics of the dropping of the second language requirement at UOG. 

Dr. Laura Souder Betances is a pioneering Chamorro scholar. She was the one who first connected the academic ideas of feminism into Chamorro scholarship. She is the author of Daughters of the Island and the co-editor of the volume Chamorro Self-Determination with Robert Underwood. She and her husband are consultants for diversity and education.
With the help i nobia-hu Elizabeth Kelley Bowman, we gathered together some of the main quotes by the panelists. I'm sharing them below for people to see. As you can see, it was a very interesting discussion. This may have been part of the reason why the overwhelming majority of people who attended the event and who completed a survey, supported keeping the language requirement in place. 
I took Chamorro 101 to fulfill the language requirement.  I didn’t really care about the Chamorro language.  There was nothing in it for me.  . . . There was so much evidence of internalized racism and internalized colonialism, but what happened was that I ended up taking a few courses, with Chamorro language being a pivotal one, with Siñora Teresita Flores . . . and I learned a lot.  We would come to class and I would learn words that I used to remember hearing my grandmother speak when I grew up.  . . . You have just given me the gift, siñora, of understanding something that I never understood my entire life.  I got more and more involved with this, based off of taking a random class, because it was a GE requirement. 
I really had no interest in the Chamorro language four years ago, when I was twenty.  I’m twenty-four now.  And so, it was so important that I took that course, because sometimes the best things in life tend to hit you over the head when you least expect it.  And that’s why I support having second-language requirements as a GE, because we should not take away the opportunity for another person to have the story that I have.  To have the story of reconnecting with their roots as a Chamorro, no matter if you’re taking Tagalog classes, you’re taking Chinese, there’s so much reconnection to who you are, because through language, you can see the worldview, hear the worldview, the epistemology of your ancestors.  And there’s nothing that should take that away from you.
Kenneth Gofigan Kuper, M.A.
Yanggen para taiguini pa’go, na mafunas ya para mungga machule’ I Chamorro guini, pat maseha hafa na suhetu, Chapones, Tagalog pat maseha hafa, insuttu enao! Para guini gi tano’-ta gi este i eskuela-ta. I Unibetsedat Guahan i mas takhilo’ na unibetsedat guini gi Pasifiku.
Ronald T. Laguana
Language learning, teaching, shares some category of the learning process of critical thinking.  For example, . . . in [Japanese] 101 they are really completely beginners.  So they can’t analyze each word vocabulary particle, or prepositions; they have to analyze, and then, to get the meaning, they have to synthesize.  . . . Students have to learn how to analyze the information and to synthesize and then find out, evaluate, those information . . . Those kinds of learning process occur in second-language learners.  For example, each language has different concepts or realizations. . . .
To learn culture, to just read about Japanese culture in English, I don’t agree.  I don’t agree. Learn through the language, and learn to use it.  Otherwise they cannot use it. Learning should be used.  . . .  So that means students got deeper perspective. 
Toyoko Kang, Ph.D.
When I heard that they wanted to take away the second language requirement, I said, “Huh?”  We live in an island that’s multilingual, that’s multiethnic, that’s multicultural, and they want to take it away?  And Guam, I think, reflects the world as it is today.  We’re living in an increasingly multilingual, global world where multilingualism, multiculturalism, are the norm, rather than the exception.  And for you to take it away is ridiculous.  Or even to kind of reduce the requirement for it.  Second-language learning is cultural learning as well; learning modern languages is to learn the cultures as well.  . . . It promotes cultural awareness, it promotes criticism of ethnocentrism, believing that yours is the only correct one, superior one, it promotes acceptance of other people, other cultures, and I think it is very, very important. 
Clarisa Quan, Ph.D.
To the members of the faculty senate, who may be listening, who may be eavesdropping: it’s important that these voices, our voices, be heard.  . . . As Dr. Underwood said, “Siña mantulaika este na recommendation,” no?  And that’s the thing to remember.  Sometimes we make logical decisions, and they lead us to wrong destinations.  And we have the opportunity here to change course.  And to defy logic, because sometimes things are simply not logical, especially when they belong to matters of the heart. . . .
Universities exist to universalize students.  And how do we universalize students?  We universalize them by providing them with different universes in which to learn, to make decisions, and to operate, and to be successful.  One of the things that Sammy [Betances] and I have been doing lately, in the Marianas, in the Northern Marianas, and in Palau, is that we have been talking about the global-island divide, and how do we bridge that divide?  . . . If we’re going to operate and be successful in the global reality, we need to know more than one language.  Fortunately, many – most – of us are bilingual.  But we need to know many languages, because in order to be successful, you have to negotiate in many parts of the world.  In order to have an economic future, we need to be able to speak the languages of the people that we are trading with.  . . .
So that’s very important, from a language perspective, from a global perspective, from a university perspective.  Diminishing the capacity of students to learn more than one language, than the lingua franca which is English, is diminishing the capacities of universities to fully function as universalizing places for students. . . .
So that’s one aspect of language.  And I’d like you to think about another aspect of language, and that is language as the umbilical cord of culture.  Language connects us with culture.  And ladies and gentlemen, we don’t need to be reminded of this.  The Chamorro language and culture exists here, on this island, and these islands, of the Marianas.  Nowhere else on earth, nowhere else on earth, do we have the sovereign right to speak and live as Chamorros except in the Marianas.  So we have another responsibility.  This is not just about making available languages.  We’re not talking about just any language.  We’re talking about our indigenous language.  We’re talking about the responsibility that we have to protect the sovereignty of our language and our culture.  Nowhere else will anybody do this for us. 
This is our game.  These are our decisions.  . . . It is our responsibility to stand up, and that is why this kind of gathering is so important, because we need to make our voices heard.
Laura Torres Souder Betances, Ph.D.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Saving the Chamorro Language

Saving the Chamorro language
Monday, 3/11/13
by Joy White
Marianas Variety New Staff

OVER the past 30 years, the number of Chamorro speakers on Guam has declined steadily – from 35,000 in 1990 to 25,000 as of the last census in 2010.

Such decline, according to scholars and cultural activists, underscores the need to preserve the language that has been pushed to the periphery due to the pre-war ban on the language, coupled with Western influence and the influx of immigrants.

Saving the Chamorro language from the brink of death is the focus of this year’s Chamorro Month celebration with the theme “Learn the Language of Your Elders and Practice It Every Day.”

“It’s all about getting the language taught,” said Joseph Artero-Cameron, director of the Department of Chamorro Affairs. “The theme this year is to get that language to our children in any shape or form.”

The theme, according to Artero-Cameron, seeks to encourage the daily use of the Chamorro language, “whether it’s in the school system or at home.”

Language ban

According to linguists, Chamorro constitutes a possibly independent branch of the Malayo-Polynesian language family. Unlike on Guam, the language is still common among Chamorro households in the Northern Marianas.

Chamorro language was suppressed on Guam in 1917, when the Naval Government Executive General issued Order No. 243, which banned speaking Chamorro and designated English as the only official language of Guam and ordered that “Chamorro must not be spoken except for official interpreting.”

According to Guampedia, speaking Chamorro was also forbidden on baseball fields, a sport growing in popularity, to encourage English use. “In the early 1920s, ‘No Chamorro’ policies were implemented and enforced within the schools and playgrounds. Public school students were reprimanded or penalized for speaking their native language. This policy continued after World War II.”

In recent years, Guam is seeing a cultural resurgence to learn the language.

School setting

Artero-Cameron believes the key to promoting the language is through the Department of Education’s Chamorro Language Curriculum.

“Students need to be able to use the Chamorro language for real communication by speaking; understanding what others are saying; reading; and interpreting written materials – all in the Chamorro language,” Artero-Cameron said.

“For too long, Chamorro language students in Guam have been judged by the number of years they have spent in the classroom rather than by their actual performance in the Chamorro language,” he said, adding elementary, middle, high school, and higher education instruction programs must be better articulated.

In 2011, Public Law 31-45 introduced by former Sen. Mana Silva Taijeron expanded previous legislation requiring Chamorro language instruction for elementary schools and one year at each level of education, to all grade levels in elementary and middle school and two years in high school. The law also mandates a reformation of the curriculum to incorporate a new curriculum for Beginning Chamorro (Introduction to Chamorro Language), Intermediate Chamorro (Basic Usage and Application of the Chamorro Language), and Advanced Chamorro (Conversational Chamorro).

By the new school year, 2013 to 2014 course work in the 7th grade should start and by the following school year, 2014 to 2015, the course will be included in the 8th grade. High schools should start the required course work by 9th grade, with the 10th grade mandated program starting in school year 2014 to 2015.

In addition, the law requires a Chamorro Language Department and department chair for all programs to be created at all schools to develop and implement the curriculum.


Rosa Salas Palomo, educator and coordinator of the University of Guam’s Chamorro language competition, stresses that oral competency must come hand-in-hand with social or cultural literacy.

The competition, themed “The Chamorro Language: Learn, Use, and Show,” starts at 3 p.m. today

“Aside from the language, we also have the linguistic competency, where they can speak the language but we also need to focus on the cultural or social competence, because sometimes we have someone who is using Chamorro but behaving like a mainlander and they contradict each other. Sometimes it’s difficult for children to grasp this, but there are mannerisms associated with individual languages. You need to make sure they are intact, that they match,” Palomo said.

“It’s our obligation as teachers to teach this, as well as the language because they go together. Why teach a language if you're not going to teach how to use it competently?” Palomo added.

Private efforts

Private individuals are also trying to create venues to learning the language more accessible.

For example, Troy Aguon created the Learn Chamorru! DVD and website for children.

Born and raised on Guam, Aguon worked in Las Vegas for about 13 years. When he returned with his two young children, he found there were no kid-friendly learning tools for Chamorro.

After being away for so long, he promised he would learn to be more fluent in the language and teach his children.

“My desire is to put as much Chamorro lessons, games, trivia and challenges on the website for mom and dad to learn with their children in a fun and interactive new media resource tool (Internet audio/video, SMS, email, and smart phone). We believe teaching the language must start in the home and reinforced at home. Without language, there is no culture,” said Aguon, who is also partnering with Pay-Less Supermarkets to promote the Chamorro language.

The partnership promotes the language by identifying grocery items in the store and providing interactive activities, such as a scavenger hunter promotion that will be tied in with the website.

In addition, Aguon is working on volume two of the Learn Chamorro DVD and other technological tools, such as mobile friendly website software that will help children learn the language.

Monday, July 13, 2015

New Testament in the Chamorro Language


By Haidee V. Eugenio
Marianas Variety

The Northern Marianas marks a cultural and religious milestone with the publication of the first complete New Testament Bible in the Chamorro language, 100 years since the arrival of two priests on the islands who translated biblical texts from German to Chamorro.

Bishop Tomas A. Camacho of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa yesterday presented copies of the "Nuebu Testament" (The Chamorro New Testament), which he dedicates in honor of Father Callistus Lopinot and Father Corbiniano Madre who arrived on Saipan and Rota in 1907 and 1908, respectively.

The bishop initiated his own translations of the readings for the Holy Mass when he was appointed in 1976 as the first native pastor in the then Bithen de Carmen parish in Chalan Kanoa.

He moved on to translate other religious materials in the Chamorro language with the help of other individuals.

"It was 31 years in the making," the bishop told Variety.

What also makes the 486-page Bible special is its use of the contemporary Chamorro language, making it a tool for the preservation of the local culture, according to Father Isaac M. Ayuyu and Rita C. Guerrero, who helped in the review of the translation, along with Carmen S. Taimanao and others.
"This is the newly sanctioned way of writing the Chamorro language. This is how children at school are being taught now," Guerrero said, adding that those who are 35 years old and younger are the focus of teaching the language.

While there have been recent religious publications that included a Chamorro translation of some gospels in the Bible, none of them included a complete translation of the 27 books in the New Testament.

Copies of the new Chamorro language Bible are available at the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa for US$15 each.

The bishop said they also provided copies to the Joeten-Kiyu Public Library.
Besides the publication of the new Bible in Chamorro, the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa has also completed translating the New Testament’s Gospels of St. Mark and St. John in the Carolinian language.

In yesterday’s presentation, the bishop said during the Spanish administration of the Marianas, prayers were said in Latin except the homily. When the Germans came, they translated some of the religious texts in Chamorro.

He said Father Callistus translated Dr. D.I. Schuster’s writing of the Bible history into Chamorro. He also gave the Northern Marianas a Chamorro-German dictionary, a copy of which is still intact.
About a hundred years ago, Father Corbiano also taught the local people Christmas songs in Chamorro, and some of them are still sung on Rota each year.

The bishop also acknowledged the help of the following in correcting and reviewing the translations: the late Father Roger T. Tenorio, Father Isaac M. Ayuyu, and Dr. Anthony Abela, as well as Dr. Anicia del Corro, Carmen Fruit, Lolita Babauta, Carmen S. Taimanao, Rita C. Guerrero, the late Dolores I. Marciano, Maria C. Deleon Guerrero, Ina S. Taimanao, Emilia C. Sablan, Lorenzo DLG. Cabrera, the late Rita C. Cabrera, and the United Bible Society.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Learning Chamorro Outside of a Classroom

“Learning Chamorro Outside of a Classroom”
by Sandy Uslander
February 24, 2013
Guam PDN

In the previous weeks I have shared current efforts to teach the Chamorro language outside of the islands.  While it has been inspiring to learn about these opportunities, obviously many aspiring Chamorro speakers do not have access to study in this type of formal setting.  This sent me on a quest to find the best resources for learning the language on your own.

The start of this investigation was where many of us go when we want to make connections across the miles: Facebook.  I asked the question, “What is the best resource you have found to learn or brush up on your Chamorro language”? I also did my own online searches and inquired from knowledgeable individuals.

The Facebook discussion did not provide any help at first, mostly one guy I’ll call “J” who said I would never learn the real Chamorro because it was essentially gone.   That was not what I wanted to hear.

From my individual inquiries I did get recommendations for two sites,, and  (you need to look for “Chamorro” under “Lesson Plans”).

Later, Facebook came back with a recommendation for, which is helpful and widely used.  There was also mention of a closed Facebook group dedicated to the use of the Chamorro language.  The discussion here included many of the news and resources that I had seen in other places, including, and

There was also another post from “J” who said my best hope of learning the language was to find a group of old Chamorro speakers at a barbecue and ask them to teach me.  Again, he wasn’t encouraging.

In my own research, I came upon lessons on  There is also a government site at that provides an almost overwhelming number of Chamorro cultural resources.  Scrolling down the home page you can find a link to “Learn the Chamorro Language”, which takes you to lists of vocabulary and phrases at

Some of my favorite video resources are the Word of the Day and Chagi Chamorro produced by the Hurao Academy on Guam and available on their YouTube channel,  I must also mention the most useful dictionary that I have found, the Chamorro-English Dictionary by Topping, Ogo and Dungca, a standard, first published in 1975.
As great as all these resources are, I have to wonder if they alone can really teach you the language.  You have to learn so much about pronunciation and what is common usage, and you just have to get into the habit of speaking it.  Recently, Dr. Robert Underwood wrote an opinion in the PDN entitled, “Preserve the Chamorro language by using it,” and in it he says, “If we are going to create a Chamorro-speaking community, we must have Chamorro language immersion programs…” This is a prominent educator involved in the Chamorro language discussion for three decades.  It occurs to me that these language tools need to work together with actual use of the language.

Back to Facebook, I find a message from a kind stranger I’ll call “D”: “Sandy, I’ll teach you.  Where do you live? Or better yet, am just a phone call away”.   Then “J” again chimes in. As I get ready for another of his discouraging posts, I’m pleased to read his response:  “And THAT is how you learn Chamorro”, he says.  Maybe he has a point after all.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Garrido Manuscript

Mirconesian Area Research Center Presents Findings on over 200-Year-Old Garrido Manuscript

Research offers unique glimpse of Chamorro Language in 1798

A one-of-a-kind document written in the Chamorro language of the 18th Century is being brought to light as a result of research recently conducted at the University of Guam Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC). The UOG Chamorro Studies Program and MARC are presenting a translation of this document to the community and offering a rare look into what the Chamorro language looked and sounded like more than 200 years ago.

The presentation will be held at the CLASS Lecture Hall on the University of Guam Campus from 6 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, 2014.
About the Manuscript
In 1798, Manuel Garrido, a Chamorro and official of the Spanish Government of the Mariana Islands was asked to translate into Chamorro news received from Manila regarding the victory of Spanish and Filipino soldiers against a British ship attacking Zamboanga, in Mindanao. In the translation of this document, Dr. Calos Madrid (MARC Researcher) and Jeremy Cepeda (Chamorro instructor, Simon Sanchez High School) have uncovered a sizable amount of Ancient Chamorro words now in complete disuse or completely unknown to Chamorros today.

The translation process required working simultaneously in three languages, Spanish, Chamorro and English, but by the end of this one year research project, theories regarding many of these unknown words have been formed. Working side by side and providing input and guidance in this endeavor was Leonard Iriarte (I Fanlalai'an Oral History Project), Fr. Eric Forbes (Capuchin Friary), Rosa Salas Palomo (UOG) and Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua (Chamorro Studies Program).

At A Glance
UOG MARC Presentation
The Garrido Manuscript: A Unique Glimpse of the Chamorro Language in 1798
by Dr. Carlos Madrid and Jeremy Cepeda.
6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, 2014
University of Guam, CLASS Lecture Hall

This presentation is free and open to the public and anyone with an interest in Chamorro language or Marianas History is encouraged to attend.

For more information, please contact Dr. Carlos Madrid at or 735-2154/2153.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Peter Onedera: Ti malago' yu bai hu li'e' i finatai i Fino' Chamoru

Ti malago' yu' bai hu li'e' i finatai i fino' Chamoru
by Peter Onedera
Pacific Daily News
June 2, 2015

Annai ma empleha yu' para direktot prugråma gi i Kumision I Fino' CHamoru, hu pega na unu este na petsonåt milågru para guåhu. Gi tinituhon ayu na tiempo, hu eyak dinuebu i fino' CHamoru ni' hagas hu honño gi maloffan na såkkan siha. Ayu i hagas tiningo' siha ha na'baya' yu' gotpe ya måtto di ha na' apurao siñente-ku.

Sigun ginen i kumisina siha para ayu na ahensia, taiguihi as Doktora Bernadita Camacho-Dungca, si Rosa Salas Palomo, si Josefina Perez Barcinas, si Sister Bernadette Quintanilla, si Juanita Toves Peredo, si Bill Paulino, si Tan Ana Borja Garcia, si Frank San Nicolas yan i difunto as Doktot Jeff D. Tainatongo, ma baba nuebu na mundo para guåhu ya hu tutuhon kinahulo'-hu para bai hu gacha' nuebu na tiningo' siha put i lengguahi-hu.

Ma tåla' yu' ni' i hestorian i fino' CHamoru ya gi magåhet sentåya' tiningo'-hu put ayu ni' håfafa ha'. Ma sangåni yu' put i rilasion-ña yan otro lengguåhi siha gi i uriya ya pumoddong gi i familian Austronesian. Ti hu tungo' put utugrafiha ya hu espiha este na palåbra gi i deksenårion Webster's put para bai hu tungo' håfa kumeke'ilekña. Sumaonao ha' lokkue' i atfabeton CHamoru ya ha yåma atension-hu sa' put i ma fa'nåna'gue esta gi i sesteman eskuelan pupbleko.

Put mås, ayu gof takhilo' na hinekkå-ku na magåhet na lengguåhi i fino' CHamoru. Enfin eraki håfa hu hongge ni' kulan parehu yan noskuåntos taotao siha, ti påtte gi i fino' Españot i fino' CHamoru sa' put i finedda' palåbra siha ginen ayu na lengguåhi. Hu eyak nuebu na finiho', Chamorrocization ni' ineksplikåyi as difunto Doktot Donald Topping gi i tinige'-ña lepblo Spoken Chamorro.

Kumeke'ilekña este na i inadåpta yan inayao palåbra siha ginen otro na lengguåhi. Ma fa'nå'gue yu' na i manaotao tåno' manma fuetsa para u faneyak pumalu lengguåhi taiguihi i fino' CHapanes gi i tiempon gera, yan lokkue' enfin, kontodu fino' Españot ni' dinira kåsi nomås di tres siklo na tiempo.
Pues måtto i fino' Engles Amerikånu ya, lokkue', nuebu na areklo, na u ma chomma' i tinaotao na u famfino' CHamoru putmås espesiåt gi lugåt pupbleko yan eskuela siha. Ma månda este ni' i Estådos Militåt Navy, ya este na aksion inekstendi yan chumenglong dekådu na tiempo siha ya ha afekta lameggai na hinirasion CHamoru.

Ya estague' tumutuhon estao pineddong ni' mumåtka i tiempo. Na'triste lokkue', i ma chomma' uson lengguåhi ni' tumåddong gi kurason yan titanos Mañamoru, espesiåtmente, mañaina ni' ma siente na dañuyan fumino' CHamoru sa' ti u maolek mo'na hinanao-ñiha i famagu'on-ñiha. Måtto di ha sohyo' este na siñente gi sanhalom mañaina ya ha afekta hinirasion siha na famagu'on sa' siempre ti ma fakcha'i i guinifen Amerikånu para lina'la' ni' kabåles kollat åpaka' gi uriyan guma', minaolek lina'la', yan ginesa yan minalago' nuebu yan takhilo' na estao ni' chumilong siempre. Este lokkue' tumutuhon tumunok-ña i hinasso put minantienen lengguåhi.

Bula, kontåtki todu, na taotao Guåhan humokka este na hinasso ya ti åpmam na ha palala'i i mayuriha na familia este na siñente. Estague' tumutuhon i finakpo' asunto. På'go, na'dañu estao-ña i lengguahi-ta ni' nina'i ginen mismo as Yu'os ya gaige gi iya kadenan Mari'ånas gi, sigun ginen rekot siha, nomåsdi kuåtro mit na såkkan siha.

Bula malingu-ta put este. Yanggen hu atan tåtte i lina'lå'-hu ni' hu na'chetton siñenten minamåhlao put håyi yu' sa' put i eksperensiå-hu ni' ti maolek ya ha dirihi despues i aksion-hu siha, isao yu'. Ti hu tungo' lamaolek ya hu diseha na siña ha' mohon hu pañot ha' enlugåt di hu ketulaikan-maisa yu' put para bai hu maolek gi i lengguåhi ni' ti iyo-ku put fin. Mistet, hu fokos yu' kulan dipendiente yu' sigun put lina'lå'-hu na dinirecho.

Hu hasso na hu eyak i tiningo' manå'paka', put kuentos, na hu hongge este sigun ginen tinaitai-hu put sichu'asion Amerikånon Natibu osino Manmo'nan Tinaotao Estådos Unidos. Mumaolek yu' ya kulan prubecho-ku pues menos på'go i isao hu kåkatga. På'go sa' åmko' yu', hu dirihi yu' mo'na para i fino'-hu put rason na bai hu fangontrebuyi gi i inadahi-ña. Satisfecho yu' na hu giha i lina'lå'-hu gi este na direksion.

Hu chalåni todu gi i nina'siñå-hu. Hu li'e' inengkebukao sinhostisia gi i lengguahi-hu ya hu pañot lokkue' i insutto put i kinalamten inadahi-ña yan gine'te-ña piot ginen i mismo CHamoru siha. Hu sungon ma faisen-hu put håyi yu' noskuåntos biåhi piot yanggen sesso di ma sangåni' yu' na sentåya' CHamoru esta på'go na tiempo, fino' yan tinaotao parehu. Hu kåtga yan hu pañot i piniti-hu ginen pumalu siha, piot ginen kumetsiånte yan inetnon sibit gi iya Guåhan, ni' manma pega tapbleru gi i sagan humotnat ya ma månda na para fino' Engles ha' u ma na'setbe entre manemplehao.

Tinakka' dekådu siha para bai hu fångge' fino' CHamoru gi lucha gi iya PDN ya ha senhongang yu' si David Crisostomo annai ha fåna' yu' ya ha faisen yu' bai hu tutuhon. Ti siguru yu' kao ha tungo' si David, na iya PDN, gi tåtte na tiempo gi otro na påpblisha, sumaonao iya PDN mamega tapbleru lokkue' ya ha månda i nina'setben fino' Engles. Sumaonao yu' gi ayu na prinotesta kontra siha ya put fin ma håtsa i minanda. Annai guaha un editot siudåt ni' hagan CNMI ya maskeseha nå'an åpaka' apeyidu-ña lao annok na guaha hagå-ña CHamoru ya ha dulalak yu' huyong ginen ufisinå-ña ya ha botleha yu' ni' sinangånña, "mumanengheng Sasalåguan yanggen u annok i fino' CHamoru gi i pappet di'årion PDN…" ya atan ha' på'go na guaha alos uttemo, humålom yu' håfa mohon?

En fin, ha guaife gotpe i titanos-hu ya hu habao i chansa maskeseha guaha presiu ni' debidi bai hu apåsi. Yanggen mångge' yu' debidi u saonao i pinilå'-ña gi fino' Engles ya ma sangåni yu' na para u annok i fino' Engles gi iyon-ñiha uepsait ya i fino' CHamoru gi i pappet di'åriu. Ti hu kuestiona este na opottunidåt ni' mandådakdak guihi na mumento ya ti malago' yu' na bai hu chånda.

Guaha ta'lo.

Imel Peter R. Onedera giya