Dinana Minagof celebrates Guam culture - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Dinana Minagof celebrates Guam culture

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - Tom Fejeran is an apprentice studying under artists like George Franscico and master carver Philip Taitano. "I've been dong this on and off for six years, but it's like a hobby for me because I was teaching at Santa Barbara," he said. "But last year after the school year, that's when I really made this full-time."

He's one of the hundreds that traveled the southern part of the island to Historic Inalahan and Gef Pago to participate in Dinana Minagof, which means "joyful gathering." The former school teacher not only taught the history of Guam to students in the classroom at Santa Barbara, but he lives it everyday.

He explained, "Everybody is busy and the most common thing today if you want to go to Kmart, its easy to get better than learning to make it and not passing it on from one generation to the next. We're not losing our culture - matter of fact, we're gaining it back but we need more people like the artists and all that to actually go out and teach kids to do it and perpetuate the culture."

And down at Gef Pago at Dinana Minagof, that's what they're doing. Youth programs director for Historic Inalahan Tony Mantanona says the festival is geared toward the island's youth because they hold the key to carrying on the island's culture. "We have the Dinana festival going on ever year; Gef Pago Historic Inarajan has been inexistence for 19 years, this is actually we try to focus n our children because they're the ones," he said.

Through workshops teaching many facets of the island culture, like song, dance, chants and even talaya throwing, Mantanona says the kid are catching on. He said, "Once someone told me that we are losing our culture actually our culture is in front of us we just need to grasp and one to hold on to our culture to teach our children. Actually, that's one of the focus here being a youth coordinator and with my colleagues we engage I workshops, songs, dance that's what we're trying to do, to hold on and teach our generations after."

As part of the festival four schools participated in the various workshops they were C.L. Taitano Elementary, Talofofo Elementary, M.U. Lujan and J.Q. San Miguel. As part of the grand finale the students performed what they learned.

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