On Oct. 24 this year the University of Guam introduced its new Chamorro Studies major to the community through a launch event titled, “I Tinituhun: Inestudian Chamorro gi Unibetsedat Guahan.” This program is a historic addition to the University of Guam, and is unique in the world, offering students the chance to become fluent in the Chamorro language and well-versed in Guam’s history.
Panel discussions, musical and dance performances and other types of presentations took place, all focusing on different aspects of the study of Chamorros, whether it be their history, language or culture. The highlight of the day’s proceedings was the premiering of a new lecture series, a Chamorro language lecture series.
The Chamorro Experience gi Fino’ Chamorro, or “the Chamorro Experience in the Chamorro language” is being organized by the Chamorro Studies program and the Office of the University of Guam President and will feature four distinguished speakers. Each speaker will talk about his or her experiences as Chamorros in the Chamorro language. They come from different walks of life, one a blacksmith, one an educator, another a singer and the final speaker, an activist.
The first lecture, “I Lina’lan Herrero” was given by Joaquin Flores Lujan or “Tun Jack Lujan” on Oct. 24. He discussed his life as a Chamorro blacksmith, making the tools that sustained Chamorros and their culture before World War II and in the years since.
The next speaker is Ann Marie Arceo, the founder of the Hurao Academy, a Chamorro language immersion program that offers summer camps and after schools programs where children can be immersed in the Chamorro language. She will be discussing her work in trying to revitalize the Chamorro language and the importance of targeting the group that will truly carry it on into the future, our youth.
Her lecture will be on Nov. 7, at 5:30pm in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Lecture Hall at the University of Guam. The lecture is free and open to the public. A question-and-answer session will take place after the lecture.
The future speakers and dates are Flora Baza Quan (Nov. 14) and Eddie L.G. Benavente (Nov. 20). (UOG)