CHamoru language revitalization center inaugurated

(Pacific News Center photo)

I Kumision i Fino’ CHamoru held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for I Sagan Fianamata’ on Monday.

I Sagan I Finamta’ is a language revitalization center and is located next to the Guam Academy Charter School in Tiyan.

I Kumision i Fino’ CHamoru’s vision is to ensure the continuity of the CHamoru peoplehood and nationhood by fostering the restoration and revitalization of the language, culture, and history as Guåhan’s Taotao Tåno’.

Anna Marie Arceo, the administrator of I Kumision i Fino’ CHamoru says, with the support of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the legislature, they’ve been able to get enough funding to finally build the revitalization center.

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“We can do it ourselves and not depend on anybody else and so that saves money in the end because we have our own. We have our recording studio and our archives where we can actually collect this information where people are welcome to access and utilize it. We will also be able to archive and save all this information for future generations. Whether it be a CHamoru song, nobena, or historical information that we can record and save for the future, generations can access it even after we are all gone. That gives us a lot of hope and another step to revitalization in the process of doing this,” Arceo said.

Arceo also talked about some of the Kumision’s upcoming projects in the near future.

“So we have had a revitalization study and some of the recommendations are to do a survey of island residents to identify who actually speaks the CHamoru language and to have dictionaries and books of CHamoru phrases that tell what they really mean so we can pass it for the next generation. We have our orthography in place and we’re gonna do a lot of workshops to educate the public more about the standardized spelling of CHamoru by law now. We’ll o more partnerships with institutions that actually lead the teaching of CHamoru,” Arceo said.

She added that one of the projects she is looking forward to is finally restoring the Guam place names.

“We need to get the original maps, go back and do some research of the different maps that existed, and get the place names. And apply the correct orthography to it. Like Hagatna, not Agana and Malesso’ not Merizo. Just some of these place names are so significant because with language and culture come land. Place names are important because they tell who we are and what the area is about,” Arceo said.

Arceo says another project the commission is really excited about is the cultural dictionary.

Meanwhile, Maga’håga Lourdes Leon Guerrero and Sigundo Maga’låhi Josh Tenorio signed a proclamation and Speaker Therese Terlaje presented a resolution for I Ha’ånen Hula’ Nåna or Mother Tongue Day.

Mother Tongue Day is celebrated on February 21, to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world, which was declared by the United Nations in 1999.