April was proclaimed as the Chamorro Carolinian Cultural and Indigenous Heritage Month on Monday at Kagman High School.
Jonas Barcinas, the newly appointed head of the Public School System Chamorro Carolinian Language and Heritage Studies, led the proclamation signing. Others in attendance were acting Board of Education chair Janice Tenorio, other board members, and Saipan Mayor David Apatang.
The proclamation recognizes the importance of the Chamorro and Carolinian languages and their preservation and continued use throughout the CNMI.
“We don’t want to be like Hawaii or Guam, where we don’t speak our [native tongue] to later find out, 20 or 30 years down the line, that we need to protect [our language]. By then, it is too late,” said Barcinas. “Our culture is our daily life. If we teach our kids all of this, no matter where they go, they would carry the culture.”
Barcinas used to be principal of Dandan Elementary School before being assigned to Hopwood Middle School. Barcinas was appointed as the new program manager of the CCLHS early this year.
“We need to continue our traditions. We need to continue speaking Chamorro and Carolinian and keep our culture alive,” Apatang said.
Tenorio agreed. “I am for the cultural promotion of Chamorro and Carolinian in education,” she said.