Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Typhoon of Tinane'


The past few weeks have been crazy. You may or may not have noticed this on the lack of posting. The sparse amount of posts in no way means that I haven’t been doing anything. The truth is the opposite, I have been doing way to much lately. Sen tinane’ yu’, ya esta liso yu’ para bei lalango.

I am working on two Administration for Native American Grants. One to standardize Chamorro curriculum at the college level. The other to create a publishing house at the University of Guam that will publish Chamorro children’s books. I’m not writing them alone, but for those familiar with ANA grants, there always seems to be an endless amount of workplans, appendixes and so on to tweak and fine tune.

Another grant that I need to finish by next month is for the Guam Preservation Trust, and is requesting support to hold a mini-conference in the fall on language and culture shifts amongst Chamorros today. I am working with Faye Untalan, who teaches Chamorro at UOG on this project.

I also had to finish up the semester in terms of providing grades for close to 200 students, with no teaching assistant help. I ended up staying up for two days to finish up all the grading for my 6 English, World History and Guam History classes. Achokka’ munhayan yu’, para bai hu finatoiggue nu ayu siha gi chatguinife-hu siempre.

A project I finished up a couple months ago is coming to epic fruition. I was asked by Stephen Benardyk, a professor in music at UOG and the director for the Guam Symphony Society to translate the choral section for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony into Chamorro. This ended up being lots of fun to do. I got to write in very expansive ways in Chamorro, something few people realize the language is capable of. Here’s a section of what I translated.

Afañe’lus gi hilo’ i ma’lak na långhet / Nai u såga’ i guaiyayon na tåta / Kao manekken hamyo, miyones? / Kao un siente i nana’huyong, mundo?

The performances will take place next week, with the main show being on May 29th at the Sand Castle in Tumon.

Unfortunately I won’t be here for the performance as I am typing this while I am flying over the Pacific on my way to California. For the next week I’ll be doing two things. First I’ll be visiting Chamorro organizations and clubs in Southern California in order to find out more about what sort of outreach they are doing and ways that we might be able to work together on projects. Several years ago I helped write a ANA language grant for the organization CHELU based in San Diego. It was accepted and CHELU was given funding to study the state of Chamorro language in San Diego county. Now years later, they have received funding to create language classes to help perpetuate the language amongst the largest diasporic concentration of Chamorros.

The second half of the week I’ll be in Ecuador participating in a UN Seminar on Decolonization. I’ve never been to Ecuador, but this is a trip that others such as Hope Cristobal, Julian Aguon and Lisa Natividad have taken before and so I’m honored to follow in their footsteps. One thing that I should be doing right now is finalizing my testimony for the seminar. They have asked me to discuss my research on “the decolonial deadlock” in Guam that I studied in my Masters Thesis in Ethnic Studies at UCSD.

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