Thursday, November 3, 2016


How do English-speaking Americans communicate community news to Chamorro-speaking residents of Saipan right after World War II?

A bilingual bulletin.

It was called Pregonero, a Spanish word adopted by Chamorros. It meant a "herald," as in an "announcer," and it also meant the "town crier" who would go up and down the streets reading out loud announcements from the government so all the citizens would be informed.

Based on existing, dated copies, it seems the bulletin started in early 1947, but even possibly late 1946, if we could only find a copy of the first issue to confirm the date. The left column was in English, and the right column was in Chamorro.

The bulletin was put together every month, or every two weeks, by the people who ran Saipan's public school. At the head of that was a Chamorro from Guam, Adrian Cruz Sanchez. Equally fluent in both Chamorro and English, Sanchez, a member of the US Navy at the time, could be tasked to serve as a bridge between the US administration and the Chamorro/Carolinian communities of Saipan.


Assisting Sanchez was William (Bitlin) Sablan Reyes of Saipan.  Reyes was a prominent community leader in Saipan from after the war till his death. He was always involved in civic and political activities.

Two columns, two languages

It seems that the Pregonero did not last long. We have no copies beyond a few years.

But, the copies we do have remain a good source of some Saipan community news of that short period, plus a nice way to study the Chamorro language.

* Thanks to Greg Sablan of the CNMI Archives for locating copies of Pregonero

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