CNMI to preserve Chamorro and Carolinian languages

By Lori Lyn Lirio

IN A bid to preserve the Chamorro and Carolinian languages, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands will present via the World Wide Web on June 16, ‘KETUNGU Chamorro’(Let’s Learn Chamorro), a 10-part series of educational and cultural show about the people of the Marianas.

Produced by Rivers Pictures, KETUNGU Chamorro will feature instructors from three Public School System’s Chamorro and Carolinian Language and Heritage Studies program – Jennie Magofna, from Gregorio T. Camacho Elementary School; Ana Lizama, William S. Reyes Elementary School; and Jack Camacho, Elsie San Nicolas with Steph Mensah from Garapan Elementary School.

The series will also feature special guests, including First Lady Diann Torres and the Saturday participants in the JoetenKiyu Public Library; 2018 Miss Marianas Celine Cabrera; Kesiil Diaz Camacho from Mount Carmel School; Hilary Agulto, marketing representative of Marianas Visitors Authority and many others.

“We wanted Rivers Pictures to have numerous representatives of the forefront scholars instructing the students in today’s classroom,” said Valentina Rivera, producer and creator of Let’s Learn Chamorro.

‘Ketungu Chamorro’, according to Rivera, was inspired from the Public School System-sponsored ‘Finu Chamorro’ which was shown on ABC 7 in 2012.

‘Finu Chamorro’, which she co-created with the late Lumi Bermudes, was concentrated on language only.

“In Ketungu, we focused on language and cultural aspects,” she said, adding that Finu Chamorro’s airing time was stopped as the PSS could not find any funding for the project.

“What separates ‘Let’s Learn Chamorro’ to ‘Finu Chamorro’ is the addition of something more than just language. We wanted to involve various aspects into the series. We wanted this to be fun and engaging and something similar to how it was in the classroom back when I was being taught in my Chamorro classes in elementary and middle school. It involved history and cultural aspects as well as various school projects,” Rivera said.

‘Ketungu Chamorro’ was first launched in December 2015.

Rivera said they were able to show two episodes only.

“’Ketungu Chamorro’ is finally complete with ten episodes. It’s website driven because we want it to be accessible in the CNMI, Guam, the United States and worldwide. We even have viewers from the United Kingdom with big numbers. We wanted it to be available anytime and anywhere,” Rivera said, adding they will announce the website when it goes live.

Moreover, she said ‘Ketungu Chamorro’ is currently seeking more sponsor.

Posters and a short preview of the series may be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/riverspictures/ The Northern Marianas Humanities Council, Indigenous Affairs Office as well as corporate sponsorships such as IT&E, Marianas Variety News & Views, Bridge Capitol LLC and Rivers Pictures, LLC sponsored the series.

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