We are almost a week away from Hå’anen Fino’ Chamoru Ha’ and the responses have been amazing so far. So many people have been expressing their desire to join and to make the best of this day. I have had many conversations with people who express that they want to learn Fino’ Chamoru because it will make them feel more complete. When I asked “Why?,” many of them could not explain it in words. They went on to tell me that it’s just this overwhelming feeling that they cannot explain; a feeling so overwhelming that it motivated them to do something about it. This is the power of our language. It is such a huge part of our identity as Chamorros. It allows us to see and hear the thoughts and worldviews of our ancestors. Knowing another language requires one to think a little differently. For example, let’s look at the word “taotaomo’na.” “Mo’na” at its best English equivalent means “forward” or “front” and taotao means “person/people.” This term is used to refer to the ancestors. This begs a question. Why would we call those who lived before us in this world be called “the people in the front.?” From knowing the language, we can understand that Chamorros believed in looking forward to the actions of your ancestors for guidance and for learning important lessons. We do not just turn our back on history, rather we look towards those who have come before us as a way of helping us now. These are the different knowledges and perspectives we gain when we know the language. Our world gets larger and we are able to comprehend our surroundings in a different way.
No matter the different reasons one has for wanting to learn the Chamorro language, a large chunk of it boils down to a feeling. So if you have sense this feeling deep inside, nurture it and start learning the Chamorro language. To quote Boston, sometimes that feeling is way “More Than A Feeling.”
On that note, here is a good place to start! Here is a PDN article written about Ha’ånen Fino’ Chamoru Ha’