Saturday, October 04, 2008

Tungo' I Estao I Fino'-ta

I've never have much luck writing grants over the years, and so humuyongna na mampos ti ya-hu mamangge' grants. I know amongst Chamorros there is a real need right now for good grants writers who can help get public and private monies for alot of community projects, unfortunately as I tell most people, my voice when I write isn't the one you want when a panel is considering who to fund. I can give you all the information and ideas, but chances are the form that I would put them in would scare people off.

In my academic work I tend to write in a combination of visceral intensity and abstract philosophical waxing. On my blog, I tend to write, well just read some of the post below, with a firm commitment to the truth, but no real commitment to showing "both sides of the issues" or feigning objectivity. My writing on my blog is explicitly political and I make very few attempts to shroud that. If you've ever been to a grant writing workshop, than you'll know that these two ways of writing are the kryponite for grants. The proper way to write grants is like a frustrating bouquet of stupid generalities. "Don't use more words than you really need," "Don't say it with more when you can say it with less," "Show, don't tell." "Be precise" "Avoid using abstract language." "Avoid using jargon."

My problems with these things is that when you collect all the stuff you hear in grant-writing workshops, you end up with a coherent pastiche of such general remarks, that when you think about it, don't really make much sense, it doesn't actually guide you in anyway. I've always wanted to ask people "what is abstract language?" and if you are applying for a grant in a particular field or area, isn't jargon necessary?"

Anyways, it seems my bad luck streak with grant writing ended recently when I large grant I helped write for the organization Chamorro Hands in Education Links Unity (CHELU) Incorporated was accepted by the Administration of Native Americans (ANA). The grant is $100,000 and is being given to create an outreach program to determine the state of the Chamorro language in San Diego County, California. I named the project "Tungo' i Estao i fino'-Ta" or "Know the Status of Our Language."

CHELU is a young non-profit org in Southern California, which was created in 2005 to help provide services and support to the Chamorro community of San Diego, which is the largest diasporic Chamorro population today. I am currently on the board of CHELU and we are excited as this is the biggest grant we've gotten so far, and has the potential to help stimulate the consciousness of Chamorros in San Diego, to work harder to pass on their language, teach it, make sure it doesn't just disappear with new generations. The outreach will last for one year and include phone surveys, paper surveys at Guam parties and online surveys, all of which are meant to capture an image of where Chamorro is being used, how, and by whom. Towards the end of the grant cycle, we'll present our findings to the Chamorro community and help facilitate a discussion about where we go next, and what recommendations we can glean from the data we've analyzed.

Chamorros in Southern California have already been fortunate enough to have Guam Communications Network working for them for more than the past ten years. Hopefully the addition of another Chamorro multi-service non-profit will only help bring more public and private grants into diasporic Chamorro communities, and support them in more way in terms of health, education, and linguistic and cultural revitalization.

Mampos magof hu na put fin ha bisita yu' ni' Sinorita Suette put grants. Esta apmam pine'loku na taibali gi este na banda. Na achokka' kalang machuchuda' i tiningo'-hu ginnen i hinasso-ku, ti hu hulat pumupula' siha gi i lenguahin grants! Esta gi este na sakkan ginagao yu' as i Chamoru Cultural Immergence Center para bai hu ayuda siha gi un dongkalon grant ni' para u ma keaplika. Siempre bai hu kena'famta este na nuebu gi este otro na maolek yan impottante na che'cho'.

Here is the press release with more information below. Also if you'd like to know more about CHELU, head to its website at


September 29, 2008


SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - Chamorro Hands in Education Links Unity, Inc. (CHE'LU, Inc.,) is happy to announce a $100,000.00 grant award for a one-year Chamorro Language Assessment Project from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a federal agency. The project, "Tungo' I Estao Fino'-ta," "Learn the Status of Our Language," is to be conducted for the Chamorro community in San Diego County, the largest Chamorro community off-island.

Chamorro is the dying language of the indigenous people from the Mariana Islands: Guam, Saipan, Rota, and Tinian. The native people of these islands are also called Chamorro.
The one-year language assessment project will consist of conducting 1,150 samples to learn the status of the Chamorro language. The survey’s intent is to measure the fluency level and the percentage rate of speakers, readers, and writers.
The assessment project would not have been possible without the supporting partnerships of the Sons & Daughters of Guam Club, The University of Guam (UOG) and its “Center of Excellence for Chamorro Language and Culture” in conjunction with The Department of Chamorro Affairs (DCA) Board of Trustees, Government of Guam, San Diego fiesta groups, and the general Chamorro community.
The language assessment project is the first of the three phases offered by ANA. The second phase is a pre-plan project interrelated to the third and final phase of the implementation of Chamorro language classes. This assessment is the beginning of the preservation and maintenance of the Chamorro language for the Chamorros in San Diego County.

CHE’LU, Inc. is the first Chamorro multi-service nonprofit organization based in San Diego. It advocates and believes in “Embracing and Uniting Chamorros from Everywhere.”
CHE’LU’s mission statement: CHELU, Inc. is dedicated to educating the Chamorro people and the public in the preservation of our native language, heritage and culture; advocating to improve our population’s health, wellness and well-being; and creating, building and strengthening self-sustainability within the Chamorro community.
Please visit the organization’s website at for more information.
This last image is from Islander Grill, a Chamorro fanochuyan and my favorite place to eat in San Diego.

1 comment:

Rashné Limki said...

Yay! Congratulations! I guess this time the sweating and frustration was more than worth it! What's your cut?


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