STORYTELLING FESTIVAL ENGAGES YOUTH
IN CULTURE AND COMMUNITY
Gef Pa’go Chamorro Cultural Village in Historic Inalahan has hosted a
storytelling festival every year since 2000. This annual event will take
place from 9am to 4pm on Saturday, November 13. The schedule of events
includes a free narrated trolley ride through the Inalahan Historic
District, stopping at five painted houses where the village youths will
tell stories about the colorful scenes they helped to paint. The painted
history provides a nostalgic look into scenes of the 1950s, depicting
families and relatives of many of today’s youths going about their daily
lives. This on-going project, which began with painting the scenes drawn
by artist Judy Flores from her childhood memories, helps engage the new
generation in learning about their heritage. The storytelling festival
will help them learn to share these stories as junior tour guides for
After the Painted History Tour, village youths and the general public are
invited to performances on stage at Gef Pa’go, featuring storytellers,
dancers, chanters, and poets. While enjoying the stories, the audience
can visit booths and huts in the park to sample delicious Chamorro foods
and see how many of these delicacies are made. While admission to the
stories and tours is free, food tasting tickets are being sold to raise
funds to continue the youth programs in historic Inalahan.
Traditional folkways, arts, and crafts will be demonstrated and sold.
Coconut candy, sea salt, and woven items are produced daily and sold at
the Gef Pa’go Gift Shop. Other traditional and contemporary crafters will
join the Gef Pa’go staff with their demonstrations for this special day.
Local authors will be on hand to tell stories and sell their books just in
time for Christmas gifts.
Stories will be the focus of the day – funny skits, thought-provoking
speeches in prose, poetry-slam, and chants. The day would not be complete
without a few stories of taotaomo’na and other spiritual experiences.
Captivating storytellers include Guam’s premier storytelling group, GINEN
I HILA’ I MAGA’ TAOTAO SIHA (FROM THE TONGUES OF THE NOBLE PEOPLE), and local storyteller Maggie Jackson who tells personal stories of her
struggle to finish school after an arranged marriage at age 15. The
attached schedule of events lists times for each type of activity. More
participants are welcome to call the Historic Inalahan Office to be
included in the event.
Many youths and other volunteers have helped to make this annual event
possible, including service-learning students from the University of Guam
and the Guam Community College. Pa’a Taotaotano’ Coalition of Chamorro
dance groups, Inarajan Middle School dancers, and Hurao Academy have all
contributed time and talent. Funding was provided by a grant from the
Administration for Native Americans (ANA), with local assistance from the
Guam Council on the Arts & Humanities Agency and the Guam Visitor’s
Bureau, the Guam Legislature and the Office of the Governor. Mark your
calendars and bring the whole family for a day of fun in Historic