Membron Kumisión Siha (Commission Members)



Hope Alvarez Cristobal, Gé’helo’(Kumitén Historia)


Siñora Hope Alvarez Cristobal is a respected community leader, former senator, educator, and farmer. She is involved in many community issues through her involvement on many local boards, most notably the CHamoru Language Commission where she serves as Chairwoman, Ge’helo’. Former Senator Cristobal earned a Masters degree in Education and a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in Secondary Education (General Science), both from the University of Guam. She also completed Doctoral classes at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. Having been an educator and administrator for over two decades, Former Senator Cristobal has educated thousands of Guåhan’s youth on the importance of Fino’ CHamoru and Guam History. She brings many years of advocacy for CHamoru issues in a wide range of venues, both local, national and international. During her time in the 23rd Guam Legislature, she was a forceful activist who advocated for indigenous rights by creating the Commission on Decolonization, the CHamoru registry, and the CHamoru Land Trust Act with the late Senator Angel Santos.



Dr. Laura Marie Torres Souder, Bisa Gé’helo’ (Kumitén Historia)


Dr. Laura Marie Torres Souder is President and CEO of Souder, Betances and Associates, Inc. in Chicago. Through her visionary leadership, she leads a competent team of professionals to provide cutting edge training services to public and private clients in the areas of leadership development, educational transformation, bridging the student achievement gap, organizational change management, diversity and inclusion for mission and bottom-line success. Dr. Souder earned her BA at Emanuel College in Boston and her MA and PhD in American Studies from the University of Hawaii as a Joint Doctoral Intern at the East West Center. She completed a post-doctoral Ford Foundation Minority Fellowship at De Paul University in Chicago. Laura has presented at Conferences throughout Micronesia, Asia and the South Pacific and has been part of research efforts sponsored by the South Pacific Commission, UNESCO and other entities on the effects of modernization and development on Pacific Island people, language and culture. She served as Curator of the Guam Museum. Dr. Souder also taught at the University of Guam for over a decade. Her courses included History of Guam, Education on Guam, Sociology, Micronesian Studies, Women’s Studies and Ethnic Studies. She has written an historical monograph published by the Micronesian Area Research Center at UOG entitled, Daughters of the Island: Contemporary Chamorro Organizers of Guam.; was co-editor of Chamorro Self-Determination and has also authored numerous research papers and technical reports. She was recently recognized by the Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce as the first CHamoru woman to have published a book. She has published a children’s book entitled, Kiko’s Adventure on the Magic Flying Proa in both English and CHamoru. She also writes a weekly column in the Guam Sunday Post called, Cho’cho’ Saina. Dr. Souder has extensive background as a senior leader, manager and supervisor in government affairs. She served as the youngest member of the Governor’s Cabinet on Guam at the age of 24 and became the Cultural attaché to the Governor representing Guam internationally. She currently serves as a Member of the Kumision I Fino’ CHamoru, the Kosas Board of the Guam Museum, is a Saina advisor to the Huråo Academy and to the Guam Department of Education’s CHamoru Language and Culture Division. She is also a Research Associate at the Micronesian Area Research Center. She has also evaluated programs and provided expert testimonies to government agencies, including the United Nations. As a woman of distinction, she has advocated for greater participation of women alongside men in promoting a more just and inclusive society in many diverse forums. Finally, she is spiritually grounded, is gifted with a sense of humor and a greater sense of purpose.



Rosa Salas Palomo, Sikritåria (Kumitén Fino’ CHamoru)


Siñora Rosa Salas Palomo, is an indigenous CHamoru woman who has studied the CHamoru language since she was 19 years old under the tutelage of the late Donald Topping. At that time, she was hired as a Bilingual Intern in the very first bilingual education program on Guam. Upon graduating from college with a BA in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education, she taught kindergarten, and four years later was hired as a Curriculum Writer for the same program. Prior to returning to school, she served as Project Director of the GDOE’s Bilingual-Bicultural Education Program and Indo-Chinese Refugee Program. Palomo obtained her MA in Education in Reading in 1970 and attended three years at UCLA studying Applied Linguistics to strengthen her knowledge and expertise in language teaching and education. She was appointed Director of Education and served for only a year at which time she took a first full-time position at the University of Guam as a CHamoru language instructor. She developed three courses in CHamoru, CM102, CM201 and CM202, at the onset of her career at the UOG and just recently developed the third-year CHamoru language courses for more advanced students, CM301 and CM302. It is through her teaching of the language in her classes that she discovers changes in language use. For each discovery, she spends a surmountable amount of time trying to understand the situation so she can better teach her students to speak the language. She continually assists the GDOE CHamoru Studies Division in their efforts to train and certify CHamoru language teachers. She began the Inacha’igen Fino’ CHamoru or CHamoru Language Competition for public and private CHamoru language students in Guam schools in 1994 and continues to this day. Palomo has applied and successfully awarded federal funds for projects pertaining to curriculum and teacher certification and English as a Second Language. She has brought in approximately $3.5 million in grants for projects she has successfully directed. Palomo has made numerous presentations in both international, national, regional and local conferences, some of which were invited such as the ones by the University of Bremen and Ateno de Manila University. Her areas of research interest are language shift, the hispanization of CHamoru, and changes in the CHamoru language particularly among younger speakers. Language documentation is a relatively new interest after she attended the Language Documentation Conference in Hawaii two years ago.



Teresita Concepcion Flores (Kumitén Fino’ CHamoru)


Siñora Teresita Flores was born in Aguada Piti, Guam, to Angustia Castro Concepcion and Jose Aguon Concepcion. She grew up in Tamuning with 3 siblings, Frances, Lou and Kin. She now resides in Dededo. Siñora Flores is a retired GDOE teacher. She attended JFK High School and graduated from the University if Guam with a BA degree in CHamoru Language and Culture. She serves as an editor for children’s books and the Official Guam Dictionary. She is also a translator for numerous works and articles for different agencies, both local and federal government. She worked as a Language Specialist for the CHamoru Studies Division, GDOE. She is a professor teaching CHamoru at UOG and assisting in the development of the CHamoru Language Curriculum. Siñora Flores was married to the late Joseph Taitano and has 6 children: Jeff, Mike, Ray, Jen, Jacque and Kim.



Påle’ Felixberto Camacho Leon Guerrero, O.F.M.Cap. (Kumitén Kottura)


Påle’ Felixberto Camacho Leon Guerrero, O.F.M.Cap. is a Capuchin Franciscan Priest. He presently is the Pastor of San Miguel Catholic Church in Talofo’fo’. One of the great advantages assigned to the parish is that it is predominantly CHamoru and the language is frequently spoken. He spent three years in Saipan as Pastor of Kristo Rai Parish in Garapan to include ministry at San Roke Parish and Santa Remedio Parish in Tanapak where he learned and spoke CHamoru on a daily basis. As pastor of other churches, he was able to speak the language including the singing and writing of CHamoru songs and hymns. He also is able to say the Holy Mass in CHamoru. He continues the CHamoru cultural traditions and practices within religious celebrations and events. He presently is working in collaboration with the University of Guam promoting the UmeyakCHamoru website which allows people to listen and learn the words of the Gospels in CHamoru. He hopes to expand the Gospels to include reflections and commentaries in CHamoru.



Rufina Fejeran Mendiola (Kumitén Fino’ CHamoru)


Siñora Rufina Fejeran Mendiola serves as the current administrator for the CHamoru Studies and Special Projects Division at the Guam Department of Education. Siñora Mendiola is a veteran educator with over 30 years of experience. Born in Saipan and raised in Guam, she has been a lifelong advocate of indigenous knowledge. Siñora Mendiola also has a passion for protecting and celebrating the CHamoru community in Guam. Having hosted countless training workshops and conferences on CHamoru curricula and developed four documentaries, she is widely recognized across the Pacific Islands Region for her civic contributions on incorporating indigenous knowledge into contemporary education systems. In 2016, Siñora Mendiola published the book, I Malingu na Påtgon with UOG Press. The story is written fully in CHamoru and weaves together CHamoru values as it follows a young girl, Bella, named after her granddaughter.



Jimmy Såntos Teria(Kumitén Fino’ CHamoru)


Lahen i Difunta as Annie Såntos yan Rogelio V. Teria. Familian Chabok yan Båli Tres. Dumångkolon As Tumbo, Dedidu gui’. Asaguan Doreen Flores Yatar Teria ya guaha kuåttro famagu’on-ñiha. Siñot Jimmy Såntos Teria is a doctoral candidate at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Ka Haka ‘Ula Ke‘elikōlani, College of Hawaiian Language in the Hawaiian and Indigenous Language and Culture Revitalization program. He also sits as the Vice Chairman, Sigundo Ge’Helo’, of the Commission on CHamoru Language and the Teaching of the History and Culture of the Indigenous People of Guam. Siñot Teria currently serves as the School Program Consultant in the CHamoru Studies and Special Projects Division (CHSSPD) with the Guam Department of Education (GDOE). CHSSPD facilitates materials development, in-service training and professional development for GDOE’s 140 CHamoru language and traditional arts teachers. During his tenure at GDOE, Siñot Teria co-produced the first ever animated short film, done entirely in Fino’ CHamoru, entitled, Maisa: The Chamoru Girl who Saves Guåhan, which was 100% Federally Funded by the U.S. Department of Education Title V-A Consolidate Grant. Before moving to the Central Office of the GDOE, Siñot Teria actively taught for 10 years at GW High School, educating thousands of students in Fino’ CHamoru, and continues to do so in a part-time capacity with the Chief Huråo Academy, Guam Community College and the University of Guam. In addition to teaching, Siñot Teria is also actively involved in the community as he is part of the founding team who implemented the first ever CHamoru immersion preschool in the Marianas, Chief Huråo Neni Academy.



Dr. Robert A. Underwood (Kumitén Historia)


Dr. Robert Anacletus Underwood recently retired as the tenth President of the University of Guam and is a former Member of the U.S. Congress. As a lifelong teacher, he has served as a high school teacher, curriculum writer, administrator, Dean of the College of Education and Academic Vice President. He is a distinguished scholar with many publications on education, regional political issues, indigenous concerns and cultural change. He served as the Congressional Delegate from Guam in the 103-107th Congresses (1993-2003) during which he sponsored major legislation for Guam, played an active role in Department of Defense authorization bills and was a forceful advocate for political development for insular areas. He was an original member of the Organization of People for Indigenous Rights, appeared before the United Nations in 1982, led the fight against the Guam Constitution in 1979 and was a community organizer in the 1970s and 1980s by organizing demonstrations, petition drives and raising as much hell as he could legally do. Throughout his professional life, he has pursued his passion as a student of and advocate for the CHamoru language. He served as Chair of the CHamoru Language Commission for a decade.



Melvin B. Won Pat-Borja (Kumitén Kottura)


Siñot Melvin B. Won Pat-Borja currently serves as the Executive Director of the Commission on Decolonization and the Acting President of the Department of Chamorro Affairs, Dipåttamention i Kaohao Guinahan Chamorro. Before accepting the role as head of the Commission of Decolonization, Siñot Won Pat-Borja was actively involved in the decolonization commission since 2016 where he has also testified before the United Nations Special Political and Decolonization Committee. In addition to his leadership in the Government of Guam, Siñot Won Pat-Borja is also an acclaimed spoken word poet, slam poet, and hip hop artist. When not competing on stage, from 2003- 2011, he dedicated his time to educating students at Southern High School and sharing his love of slam poetry with youth in both Guåhan and Hawai‘i through the non-profit organizations and movements which he co-founded, Sinangån-ta Youth Movement and Youth Speaks Hawai‘i where their youth poets competed and ranked in national competitions. While in Hawai‘i, Siñot Won Pat-Borja also earned his BA in Secondary Education and MA in Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.