Kutturan Chamoru Foundation (KCF) sprang into existence in 1993 with support from community organizations and leaders in the Long Beach/Los Angeles and Orange County area. The objective was to create an organization that would fulfill the needs to address the underrepresented Chamoru people and culture. This group of volunteers knew that through dance and music, they would provide a way to perpetuate the Chamoru culture thru language and movement.
Kutturan Chamoru Foundation was originally established under the name “Håle’ta” meaning “Roots”. Under the direction of the Founder, Regina Atoigue Quenga and the late Glenn Taitano Bernardo, the group was re-named “Kutturan Chamoru Performers” in 1995 and is still the name for KCF’s Dance and Music program. This program has since had an influential part in the lives of many Chamoru and non-Chamoru youth in the local community in southern California.
In 1998, after apprenticing for a few years, the group was bestowed under the direction of Heidi Chargualaf-Quenga. As a professional Pacific Island dancer and choreographer, Heidi began focusing her attention on her Chamoru culture and has done extensive research in bringing to life this once forgotten form of dance. Heidi’s knowledge of Chamoru dance has earned her recognition as being one of the few Chamoru “Artist-in-Residence” awarded by the California Arts Council in 2000 through 2002.
With the assistance of Musical Director, Joey Quenga and Co-Director Clarissa Mantanona-Celano, KCP began a journey that ventured from as far east as Washington DC, as far south as Sinaloa, Mexico and reached as far west to Guam in the Mariana Islands. Performing at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, the Guam Visitor’s Bureau at various Travel Conventions, the Congressional Guam Liberation on Capitol Hill and competing and winning in the Diñana Minagof Chamoru dance competition on Guam in 2002 and 2004 are just a few of KCP’s accomplishments.
In 2008, KCP became the first program under the umbrella organization, Kutturan Chamoru Foundation (KCF), a 501(c)3 Nonprofit Public Charitable organization created in order to provide additional programs for the Chamoru community and to seek funding sources in order to reach further out into the community and provide programs that met their needs.
Because we had an influx of young Chamorus ages 3-10, the first of its kind dual-language early childhood education program that assisted families in learning the near to extinct Chamorro language began in 2010. This Chamorro language program is called “Ta Hita – Ta Håtsa I Tinigo’ Åntigu – To uplift the ancient knowledge emerged with guidance and support from Asian Pacific Islanders California Action Network (APIsCAN) and California Community Foundation (CCF). This program is conducted bi-annually from March – May and October – December.
In 2011, KCF officially created a program which provided university tours, career guidance and scholarship/college entrance workshops with help from our fellow Pacific Islander Community partners. This program is called “Mentoring Our Next Achievers” – MO’NA – meaning “to be in front”. Our founders began performing at various University scholarship fundraisers and Pacific Island graduations in the 90’s not realizing the impact they made exposing KCP dancers to higher education. This foresight brought about MO’NA and how KCF could continue to grow with its volunteers and help guide them through the next stage of their lives.
For over 20 years, the Kutturan Chamoru Foundation has relied solely on volunteering efforts to continue to provide “tuition free” education in Chamoru Cultural dance, song, language and career guidance. KCF has developed a 3rd generation of dancers and volunteers in hopes to continue to bridge the thousands of miles between our island home in the Marianas and our home in Long Beach, Southern California.
We hope to continue to grow and give back to our community and represent our Micronesian Chamoru Pacific Island Culture and heritage for many generations to come.
Gi kinalamten-ta ta hågu’i i håleta – In our movements we reach for our roots