02 Oct 2017
- By Lori Lyn C. Lirio – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
THE first Chamorro and Carolinian Identity Conference concluded Friday with the creation of a Revival of Chamorro and Carolinian Identity or RCCI team.
Seventy individuals from the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, the Indigenous Affairs Office, the Carolinian Affairs Office and other non-profit organizations participated in the conference held at the Pacific Islands Club.
According to Indigenous Affairs Office Resident Executive Roman Tudela Jr., the mission of the conference was to promote and save the Chamorro and Carolinian languages and cultures.
In his remarks, Gov. Ralph Torres thanked the participants for their willingness and passion to protect, preserve and promote local languages, customs and cultures.
“Our community has discussed ways to incorporate and strengthen our cultural identity as we move forward in the 21st century. We hope to finally formulate a strategic plan to address our cultural identity for generations to come,” he said.
Tudela said the daylong conference is divided into three sessions in order to identify the symbols, products, experiences and food of Chamorros and Carolinians; to create an authentic experience for tourists as far as language, food, performance arts, and cultural traditions are concerned; and to identify partners, long-term plan and needed policy and funding.
According to CAO Executive Assistant John Tagabuel, they discussed the need to promote the local languages.
He noted that young people get discouraged from speaking Chamorro or Carolinian because “they got laughed at for their wrong pronunciation.”
He added, “This should not stop them. They should be proud and continue speaking the language. They will get better as they strive to continue.”
He said the dwindling number of local language teachers at the Public School System may be another factor why the younger generation no longer speak Chamorro or Carolinian.
In a statement, Hunter emphasized the importance of preserving local culture. “It provides a means for understanding collective values and it shapes our individual and collective identities.”
He added, “As a community whose main economic driver is tourism, we should be capitalizing on this unique cultural identity. The Chamorro and Carolinian identity should define the NMI as a destination.”
He said “this does not mean that we forego celebrating other cultures and contemporary culture. These provide a diversity and richness that add tremendously to a community and its development.”
At the conference, Hunter, Tagabuel and Tudela, with Governor Torres as witness, signed a memorandum of agreement for the creation of a Revival of Chamorro and Carolinian Identity or RCCI team.
They agreed to continue to work together for the next five years to implement or revise recommendations that aim to preserve and protect the unique identifies of the Chamorros and Carolinians.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/98963-70-participate-in-chamorro-and-carolinian-identity-conference