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Nihi ta na’hongga mo’na i estoria-ta gi mismo lenguahi-ta

By Michael Lujan Bevacqua, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Chamorro Language

University of Guam

 

Esta kuatro mit na såkkan di ta usa i lenguahen Chamorro para ta sångan i estoria-ta.

I fine’nina biahi na manmåtto hit guini na isla gi sakman yan mañaga’ hit, ta usa i lenguahen Chamorro para ta sångan i ginefpå’go-ña yan i abundansia i guinahå-ña

Annai fine’nina ta få’tinas i latte ginen acho’ siha ya ta kåhat i gima’-ta gi hilo’ i latte, ta usa gui’ lokkue’ para ta tuna i ma’gas na che’cho’-ta.

Annai i fine’nina måtto Si Ferdinand Magellan, ya ha bisita i islå-ta, ti ta Fino’ Españoti gui’. Annai ta chule’ i lilok ginen i batko-ña, i Fino’ Chamorro ta usa. 

Annai måtto Si San Vitores, para u fa’nå’gue hit ni nuebu na hinengge-ña, ha Fino’ Chamoruyi hit ya taiguenao lokkue’ ta oppe gui’.

Gi i tiempon gera kontra i manggilågu, ayu siha i kumontra i Españot, ha usa i Fino’ Chamorro para u na’fangkahulo’ i taotao siha.

Lao i lenguahen Chamorro, mausa lokkue’ ni ayu siha umaksepta i nuebu na hinengge, ya ha difende i Españot.

Annai ta tutuhun manmanaitai gi i nuebu na hinengge ta usa i Fino’ Chamorro. Ta falulon i estråña ni lenguahi-ta ya gi tiempo ta payuni gui’.

Annai manmangguaiya hit, ta kantåyi gi Fino’ Chamorro.

Annai manmacho’cho’ hit gi lancho, manmangånta hit gi i lenguahi-ta lokkue’.

Annai manmatto i Amerikanu ya ha na’keusa hit ni lenguahen-ñiha, ta gu’ot i lenguahi-ta ya ti ta sotta. Ta usa i lenguahen-ñiha gi eskuela, lao Fino’ Chamorro ta usa gi gima’, gi gima’yu’us yan gi fanhuganduyan.

Mangguentos hit put i nuebu na opportunidåt siha gi papa’ i banderan Amerikånu gi Fino’ Chamorro, lao manguentos hit lokkue’ put i pitkadikan-ñiha kontra otro rasan taotao, ko’lo’lo’ña Hita i Manchamorro.

Annai måtto i gera, i Tiempon Chapones guini, manma’åña hit, manmabomba hit, yan manmafuetsas hit para ta fanmacho’cho’, gi todu ayu na ira yan pinadesi, i Fino’ Chamorro ta usa.

Ta usa i lenguahi-ta para ta sångan i fina’pos-ta, ya gi i lenguahi-ta lokkue’ siña ta fakcha’i i estoria-ta.

I lenguahi-ta un kalang un mapan puti’on put ginen månu hit? Giya guiya ta sodda’ i hale’ i tinituhon-ta. I lenguahen Chamorro i irensia-ta ginen ayu siha i fine’nina manmåtto guini na isla åpmam na tiempo tåtte.

Lao i lenguahi lokkue’ ha na’a’annok i paladan i mesngon-ta. Este na paladan ginen ayu siha i manmåtto ya ha fa’iyo-ña este na islå-ta.

Desde i Tiempon Chapones, i taotao-ta ha u’usa otro lenguahi, i Fino’ Ingles, para u sångan i estoria-ta.

Para i manlaåmko’ i Fino’ Chamorro un mafñot pat mångge na ga’chong, hihihot ha’ para siha. Lao para i manachaamko’-hu yan i mas hoben, este na lenguahi-ta chago’go’, kalang un chago’ yan ti un tungo’ na klasen parientes.

Manachago’ hit, i manhoben yan i Fino’ Chamoru. Mappot na ta siente pat ta komprende este na lenguahi ya håfa taimanu na mamparientes hit!

Sen na’triste na despues di manhita yan este na lenguahi para kuatro mit años, ya ta usa este na lenguahi para ta na’oppan i ti tufung’on na minagof yan piniti para i taotao-ta, ti åpmam siña malingu.

Mientras i manlaåmko’ na henerasion ha na’na’i i lahoben na taotao-ta ni’ estoria-ta, este i fine’nina na biahi na ti ha såsangan gui’ gi Fino’ Chamorro. Ha såsangan gui’ gi Fino’ Ingles. Ti åpmam manmaleffa hit taimanu humassao yan taimanu sumångan i estoria-ta gi Fino’ Chamorro.

Este na prublema muna’hangai este na website yan i pråyek. Mas ki 20,000 na Chamorro gi este na mundo ni’ manlå’la’la’ ha’ yan mamfifino’ gi mismo lenguahi-ta. Debi di ta kuentusi siha ya ta hokka i estorian-ñiha gi i mismo lenguahi-ta, antes di manmåtai yan esta ti o’oppan i lenguahen-ñiha. 

Gof impottånte este na punto. Esta kalang taigue i lenguahen Chamorro gi oriyå-ta ya para i meggaiña na Chamorro tinahgue ni’ Fino’ Ingles gi todu kinalamten-ñiha yan inadingan-ñiha. Gi este na pråyek in kekehokka i estorian Chamorro siha, gi Fino’ Chamorro, kosaki siña ta na’hongga mo’na i estoria siha put i uniku na siniseden i taotao-ta, ya kontat ta na’hohongga siha gi i mismo lenguahi-ta, ta na’hahanao mo’na ayu na esta kuatro mit años na hinanao. 

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Yan ginen si Kenneth Gofigan Kuper, M.A., Ph.D. candidate (University of Hawai'i-Manoa):

Annai mafaisen yu' para bai hu saonao gi este hinekka estoria, gof magof yu'.  I hinangai-ña este para u rikohi i estorian i mañaina, yan gof tunåyon ayu na cho'cho' para guåhu.  Put i hemplo, hu interview si Ed Benavente yan si Jose Torres gi må'ps na såkkan gi gima'-ñiha.  Gof bonitu este na sinisedi sa' manmasangåni ham ni estorian-ñiha gi lina'la-ñiha.  Mansinangåni ham as Jose Torres put i sinisedi-ña gi duranten i gera yan mansinangåni ham as Ed Benavente put i kinalåmten i estao pulitikåt-ta yan taimanu ha chonnek este mo'na.  Gi un såkkan, måtai este na dos maga'taotao.  Ginen i matai-ñiha manmafa'nunu'i hit håfa na gof takhilo' este na cho'cho'.  Achokka' esta matai i dos, lalå'la' i hinasson-ñiha yan i bidan-ñiha gi todu i taotao ni umegga' este "Hongga Mo'na."  Gi siento såkkan mo'na, siempre esta manmåtai hit, lao anggen ta fanmamå'tinas hinekka taiguini, ni ngai'an na ta fanmåtai hit magåhet sa' gagaige i fegge-ta gi inai todu i tiempo. 

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And a note from Isa . . . 

I realize more and more now that our vision will be a long time in the making.  I am extremely grateful for all who have come onboard along the way. 

I envision this website as a community and educational resource for the Chamorro people as well as all those who are interested in learning more about Chamorro culture and history.  

This project began for me with an academic presentation by my friend and colleague Leiana S.A. Naholowa’a (University of Guam) on Chamorro women in World War Two and forced Japanese military prostitution at the Second Marianas History Conference in the fall of 2013.  I was very new to this part of the world at the time, straight out of graduate school in Illinois.  I had become aware of some issues here that were of concern to me both personally as a woman and also professionally in my academic career.  Leiana and I have had long discussions and meetings together on this project over the years.  Her inspiration, friendship, and wisdom has shaped this project from the beginning, and I am immeasurably grateful for all that she has contributed and shared.  

She and I talked about combining some of our interests with research into local (Chamorro) women forced into prostitution during World War Two.  We dreamed up a vision together for a web resource that would store video and audio as well as written transcripts and images from a wide range of local, indigenous Chamorro perspectives on marginalized subject matter: queer narratives, indigenous activism, human trafficking, sexual harassment, obscured or lesser-known World War Two narratives, and much more.  

We shortly were able, thanks to a grant from our college, to bring Charlotte Z. Fernandez on board, a local web designer who has also worked in California and is now based in Hong Kong.  Charlotte contributed much professional and technical knowledge and expertise to our production, and graciously met with us over phone, in person, and via email during the course of our work.

Dr. Miget Lujan Bevacqua was an early sponsor and primary advisor on this project.  With his influence and advice, we decided that it would be of central importance to interview Chamorro-speaking people gi Fino’ Chamoru – in the Chamorro language – as, very often, our first and primary language is that in which we speak best, and understand best.  Miget and I also had in mind the importance of promoting and honoring Chamorro cultural preservation by conducting the interviews in Chamorro whenever possible.  I am profoundly grateful for my colleague and dear friend Miget, a professor at the university in Chamorro Studies.  Collaboration with him has been indescribably valuable to this project.  Its name is from his suggestions – Hongga Mo’na.  

I am deeply grateful also for Kenneth Gofigan Kuper, M.A., and Leonard Leon, both of whom are fluent speakers of the Chamorro language, and who very generously contributed in so many ways to this vision, including facilitating the use of Chamorro language throughout our contact process with all our interviewees.  I am so grateful for our artistic contributors as well, including Charlotte, who designed our logo as well as the website, and also Jack Lujan Bevacqua, who designed lively, friendly portraits of the manåmko’.  I also sincerely thank the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency, which believed in our project and offered me a generous grant in order to seed the interviews, transcripts, videorecording, and art.  

I want to add some personal notes on my own attachment to this project.

Speaking from marginalized populations is an academic question of agency and speech.  In some cases, it is also a private question of shame and honor.  It is a political question of trials, tribunals, reparations, and hearings that have spanned over seventy decades now, in 2015, since the end of World War Two.  It is a question of colonialism, militarism, Chamorro nationalism, cultural pride . . . 

For me, as an academic who is both the assistant professor of comparative literature and the head of the Women and Gender Studies program at the University of Guam, and, frankly, very personally, as a woman in a man’s world, I see the value of attending to all these questions and more, tangled together.  There is no solitude in marginalization.  As Audre Lorde has so eloquently written – “I cannot afford the luxury of fighting one form of oppression only.”  Especially in our globalizing world, we must stand in solidarity with others, even if their oppressions look very different from our own.  I am from a very different culture and a very different ethnic background, but I seek in various ways through this project (as well as in other projects) to stand in solidarity with the Chamorro people here and to foreground their voices and their experiences.  

Nothing is to be focused on an outsider voice in this particular project.  I explicitly do not present myself as any kind of an expert on these subjects (with the possible exception of women’s studies).  My goal is simply to work alongside many others who together form a qualified team to present these interviews, these voices, to our shared community. This was a team whose “authority” I deliberately sought to diffuse or share as much as logistically possible.  

I will continue to work toward making real the repository of information, interviews, and linked resources that we have dreamed of from the beginning and through the years.  

I am indescribably grateful for all who have helped and sponsored and contributed to this project, to my teammates Leiana and Miget and Ken and Leonard and Charlotte and Jack, and most of all to the wonderful manåmko’ and their families who gave so generously of their time and memories and lives.  I hope that their voices and stories will be honored and cherished through this ongoing project.  

Hongga mo’na – 
for the future –

Isa

 

Saina må’åse’ to each one of our gracious manåmko’ . . . 

Joe Alvarez
Anita Arriola
Ed Benavente
Francisca Franquez
Martin Manglona
Peter Onedera
Emily Sablan
Candy Taman
Jose Torres
Louis Wabol

 

Saina må’åse’ to our generous sponsors . . . 

Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency
College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (University of Guam)

 

Hamyo må’åse’ to all who contributed to our team . . . 

Jack Lujan Bevacqua, artist and illustrator (California and Guåhan).

Miget Lujan Bevacqua, historical and cultural consultant, interviewer, and producer (Guåhan).

Isa Kelley Bowman, grant writer, interviewer, transcriber, director, and producer (Guåhan).  

Charlotte Z. Fernandez, artist and web designer (Guåhan, California, and Hong Kong). 

Kenneth Gofigan Kuper, interviewer and transcriber (Guåhan and Hawai‘i).

Leonard Leon, videographer and video editor (Saipan).

Leiana S.A. Naholowa’a, grant writer, interviewer, and producer (Guåhan).

  

Get in touch

For more information on the
Hongga Mo'na Project, send an email to
ekelleybowman@gmail.com

This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency, a division of the Department of Chamorro Affairs; the Government of Guam; and the Office of the Governor.