- 1 of 2
A PHOTO essay book, primarily written in Chamorro with translations in English and Japanese, will be produced by a group of students and faculty from the University of Guam.
The pioneering publication intends to present an introduction to the Chamorro alphabet but with a topic for each letter and beautiful photos to accompany each letter.
Cyrus Segawa Konstantinakos, a specialist in curriculum design and intercultural language education, is coordinating the production of the book. Assisting him in the process are UOG students Jathan Muna-Barnes and Jonathan Perez.
“Our culture has been battling occupation, wars ... and today we are facing westernization and globalization. And with this book, we hope to try and preserve and perpetuate our Chamorro culture and identity so it can live on,” Perez stated.
“This book will be created on Guam for our island. Through this book, we can look through it and see our family and our people, things that we can comprehend, things that we know. So through this book, we hope that kids can gain a sense of pride about where they came from,” Perez added.
Konstantinakos and the production team are hoping to catch the attention of local leaders and schools to provide an effective teaching tool that would help students learn and understand Chamorro language and culture by using localized items, words, and personal stories.
The proposed publication will have 220 pages and will be designed according to the Social Studies Standard. In terms of promoting the book on Guam and the CNMI, Konstantinakos said the book will feature local artists, writers, photographers, and designers.
The team said most of the transcripts are already written by Chamorro language teachers and undergraduate students. Once the material has been completed, cultural experts will review it to make sure the content is accurate and fair.
Muna-Barnes said the project needs financial and community support in order to continue production.
“Until this year, the project has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education through a grant. Unfortunately, it was not renewed,” Muna-Barnes said.
Aside from financial support, they are also searching for more photos and artworks, local entities to help promote and distribute the book throughout the Marianas region, and more cultural experts to join the editorial advisory board.