Bolstered by the twin pillars of culture and identity, the very first celebration of the Chamorro-Carolinian Mother Language Day in the CNMI kicked off yesterday with a proclamation signing at the Pedro P. Tenorio Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe.
Advocates of both the indigenous Chamorro and Carolinian (Refaluwasch) were the focus of attention in yesterday’s occasion, which also celebrates 2020 as the Year of the Indigenous Language.
“Gov. [Ralph DLG] Torres and I strongly encourage our NMI family to band together and raise awareness about the importance of supporting the goals and ideals of Mother Language Day and to bring attention to the importance of preserving linguistic and cultural heritage throughout the Commonwealth,” said Lt. Gov. Arnold I. Palacios at the proclamation.
Palacios also urged everyone to support the movement through the display of exhibits, posters, signs, and through music and dance, to promote the mother languages.
“In these days of rapid communications through the internet and other types of communication, it is very important to reflect and put all efforts we have to preserve who we are, at least through our language,” he said.
The lieutenant governor also expressed appreciation to everyone who has worked tirelessly to ensure that programs are put in place to preserve “who we are.”
Chamorro-Carolinian Language Policy Commission executive director Melvin LO. Faisao said that the declaration of 2020 as the Year of the Indigenous Languages is meant to raise awareness of them, not only for the people who speak the languages, but for others to appreciate the role languages play in the Commonwealth’s rich cultural diversity.
“Languages play a crucial role in the daily lives of people, not only as a tool for communication, education, social integration and development, but also as a repository for each person’s unique identity, cultural history, traditions and memory,” Faisao added.
Jackie Quitugua, Public School System associate commissioner for Instructional Services, encouraged the youth to learn the languages and appealed to the community, especially parents, to follow suit.
Representing the new generation of language advocates are students from Hopwood Middle School, with Yerma Camacho and Tinalyn Litulumar, who read the proclamation in Chamorro and Carolinian.