After years of immersion in CHamoru’s cultural values through the Chief Hulao Academy, several teenagers and older adults now share Hulao’s legacy of passing on cultural knowledge and beliefs to younger generations. Helping you carry it out.
“I definitely learned to appreciate the place I grew up in and my culture, and really, really, totally learned to see it through the eyes of grown-up older people and see how they learned.” , I was able to immerse myself in myself.” 15-year-old Inina “Mantikiya” Tanaka.
Hulao Chief Academy is a non-profit CHamoru immersion school offering pre-school, after-school and adult programs.
Founded in 2005 by Anna Marie Arceo, known as Saina Ginifi, the program uses the Chamoru language to “maintain (their) identity as people and maintain (their) humanity”. The aim is to pass it on to the next generation, Arceo said. .
According to Arceo, in addition to teaching the language to the students, Frao teaches them “how to live in the land, along with its culture, such as dancing, weaving, and cooking.”
According to their website, Huao’s nine core values are:
- aguaiya, dear.
- agofli’e’, looking at others without judgment.
- a’umitde, to be humble.
- afa’maolek make things better.
- arespeta respect.
- amamahlao Shame on you.
- ageftao, giving.
- a’adahi caring for each other and others.
- a’agradesi, to appreciate each other.
Many of Frao’s early students went on to become practitioners of language and culture.
Tanaka, who has been in the Academy’s program for about six years, said Frao taught her a lot about “self-identity around being CHamoru.”
According to Tanaka, Frao learned CHamoru values such as Aguaia and taught him “about empathy and what it means to truly love and care for everyone.”
Tanaka, who attends the military academy, said he felt somewhat “outcast” as one of the few students who grew up on Guam.
“The more I was around other cultures and slowly moved away from my own, the more I started to lose the part of me that was my culture. I was surrounded by children who grew up the same way, grew up the same way, learned CHamoru, and wanted to learn about their ancestors.
Wanting to give back to the program that helped shape her persona, Tanaka takes on the role of “pineksai” and volunteers to teach her juniors what she learned as a child.
“Overall, it will be the youngest generation we can find to spread our beliefs because they are completely immersed, fluent and know what they are doing. I want to keep that dream alive,” says Tanaka.
Another teenage teacher, 16-year-old Eden-Blaise Cruz, said, “I didn’t realize that language and culture had such an impact on[her]life until[she]started living[there]. I never thought I would,” he says.
Not only did she gain knowledge of her own language, but she also learned to respect others, which was not seen in other school environments.
She said she hopes Frao is “in every other school, including high school, and teaches[her]generation the values [they]teach.”
Another Pinexay, 17-year-old Luca “Sinahi” Flores, says that volunteering has allowed her to not only help teachers but also learn about the culture and language on her own.
“Now I am more passionate about the CHamoru culture,” he said. I can do it.”
fulfill a mission
Hurao founder Arceo says many former students are “in different parts of the community and in one way or another fulfill the same mission.”
“I got to see all the hard work and hard work pay off…finally put in place,” Arceo said.
“There are students who can speak in an environment where they can just sit down and talk, and now we are here. Everyone from teachers to students, janitor and office staff speaks CHamoru, practices all values, learns from each other, and communicates with each other. I understand this one culture of teaching each other.”