Monday, July 15, 2013

Minagahet yan Dinagi Siha

I invite you to tune in to Beyond the Fence which airs every Friday at noon on Public Radio Guam-KPRG 89.3 FM, immediately following Democracy Now.  This one hour locally produced program features interviews with diverse individuals and coverage of public events offering analysis and personal perspectives on the local impacts of US global militarism in the Asia-Pacific, especially in Guam and the Northern Marianas.  It provides accounts of different forms of resistance, decolonization and sovereignty  struggles, and the challenges of building community beyond the fence.  Audio podcasts of most episodes are available for free and may be downloaded within five days of the original broadcast by going to and clicking on the link to Beyond the Fence or by going directly to

Ep. 154 “Minagahet yan Dinagi Siha: The Revitalization of the Chamorro Language” (hosted by Rosa Salas Palomo with production assistance of Joy White ) was recorded by Michael Lujan Bevacqua in Okinawa in March 2013 and airs 7/12/13. 

This episode features two presentations from Guahan that were recorded at the March 2013 Island Language Revitalization Conference at Ryukyu University in Okinawa. This conference was organized by the Institute of Island Studies and Institute of Okinawa Studies at Ryukyu University by Professors Yoko Fujita and Masahide Ishihara. Language activists and linguists from Ainu, Chamorro, Maori, Hawaiian, Welsh and Okinawan communities were invited to share the state of their language revitalization efforts and learn new strategies for tackling this increasingly important issue for indigenous peoples.

Two Chamorro representatives, Edward A. Alvarez (, the executive director of the Guam Commission on Decolonization and Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua (, assistant professor of Chamorro Studies at the University of Guam, presented at this conference.  

Mr. Alvarez speaks about the history of Government of Guam efforts since 1964 to revitalize the Chamorro and of the difficult “minagahet”or truth that, despite these efforts, you can live your entire life on Guam and still not learn its native language. He also discusses the impact of the planned military buildup on language revitalization and political self-determination efforts. 

Professor Bevacqua speaks about the “gefpago na dinagi” or the “beautiful lie,” meaning the gap between positive language attitudes and the fact that Chamorros and many other indigenous people are still not passing on their languages to younger generations.  He examines the Guam experience in relation to the four stages of language colonization and decolonization (cultural self-destruction, recognition of loss, celebration; and return to sovereignty). 

Music selection:  “Fanohge Chamorro” or the “Guam Hymn”, written by Dr. Ramon Sablan and translated into Chamorro by Tan Lagrimas Untalan.  Implicit in the phrases, “Para ta onra, para ta gloria” is respect for the indigenous language and culture. 

The 32nd Annual International Pacific Islands  Bilingual Bicultural Association Conference will be held July 21-24, 2103 at Okkodo High School, Guam.  The theme is “Indigenous Rights: Sacred and Secret ---Direchon i Taotao Siha;  Sagrad yan Sikretu.”  For more  information, contact Peter Onedera at 477-4234 or Rosa Salas Palomo at 735-2193. 

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Thank you for listening to and supporting public radio for the Marianas --- and for promoting Beyond the Fence, locally and abroad.

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