Friday, May 11, 2012


Lee Webber recently wrote about the time, in the 1970s, that the PDN was under fire for its English-only policy.  Not a single line in the Chamorro language was allowed in the PDN by then-publisher Bob Udick.  He recalls a protest staged right outside the PDN building, on the Academy side of the street.  I was there.

I was all of 15 or 16 years old, and not a participant, but a spectator.  Though, of course, my sympathies were with the Chamorro language advocates.

Monsignor Oscar Lujan Calvo
Chamorro Advocate

There were speeches made by several people, in Chamorro and English, from a make-shift platform.  There were placards and the shouting of slogans.

But what really stirred the emotions was watching someone pick up a copy of the PDN and light a fire underneath it.  With my own eyes, I saw Monsignor Oscar Calvo, still holding the mic, stand next to the guy holding the burning newspaper.  I don't know if I heard these words said, or not, but it seemed to me that the protesters were saying, "This is what we think of your newspaper, if that's what you think of our language."

Even then, as a teenager, I was a bit shaken by what I saw.  I had never seen a priest make such an assertive act. 

Webber points out that, soon after, the PDN modified its policy and allowed things to be printed in other languages, provided there be an English translation.  Webber also says that another good thing resulted from this bit of history; the PDN Chamorro cartoon series Juan Malimanga was born, with the help of some of the protesters themselves, like Clotilde Gould.   Now, we have Peter Onedera's entirely CHamoru column in the PDN.


This would be better one day.  For Chamorro-speakers, that is.

Kabåles na infotmasion pot todo i man ma susesede gi islå-ta yan entero et mundo

Mietkoles, Måyo dia 11, 2045 na såkkan

An entire newspaper in Chamorro.  We could have things printed in English and other languages, provided there be a Chamorro translation.

This is just a flight of fancy unless Chamorros teach the language, learn the language, speak the language.

Hita ha'  Tåya' otro.

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