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: www.mvariety.com
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.