March was proclaimed as Guam’s Chamorro Month with this year’s theme ‘Know the Language of Our Elders and Use It Every Day.’.
The number of Chamorro speakers on the island has declined over the past 30 years (35,000 in 1990 and 25,000 in 2010), thus it is extremely important for people to cultivate the Chamorro language and traditions.
The Government encourages children and teenagers, as well as adults, to use their native language on everyday basis, as it is something that defines them as members of Guam community. Joseph Artero-Cameron, director of the Department of Chamorro Affairs, said the key to promoting Chamorro was through the school curriculum. If students are not inspired to learn the language at school, it won’t be possible for them to speak, read and understand it properly.
Chamorro was banned on Guam in the early 1920s, when U.S. Government designated English as the only official language of the island. This is why in today’s world people choose to speak English instead of their native Chamorro.
Protecting and preserving local language, as well as local culture and traditions, is vital for every country. Only then will people truly understand where they come from.