by Krystal Paco
Guam - It was the Spanish who pulled Chamorro people to live closer together in the villages. According to Rlene Steffy, who addressed the Rotary Club of Guam on Thursday, Spanish pushed religion and mass services on Chamorros conditioning them to listen for the church bell towers. If you didn't have the bells in earshot, you had to move closer to the church.
Steffy adds that despite a series of colonizers, our Chamorro language should thrive. Steffy spoke on the top of the history of the Chamorro people, war, immigration and forced relocation during the Spanish Period. "We can't blame anyone for not speaking Chamorro," she explained. "We have to take responsibility for that. Sure there was a policy back during the American administration but they don't go home with you. So the language should really start with the home."
Steffy applauds the Carolinians, Filipinos, and Chuukese for practicing their languages in the home. Steffy is a MARC research associate, ethnographer and oral historian. She's been behind so many projects including Guam's first Chamorro-English Bible and documentaries such as historic sites in Merizo. Her most recent project was Hotnon Ladriyu ("stone oven").
The documentary provides an historical look at how it was used through first hand accounts from the island's man'amko and stories passed on through generations.