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 diabet 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.
Heidi Chargualaf-Quenga, Fafanague, Board Preseident
Paternal Clan: Concepcion Chargualaf of Piti, familian Carabao
Maternal Clan: Perez Mandell-Chargualaf of Perezville-Tamuning, familian Goyo
A native Chamorro raised as a U.S. military dependent, Heidi lived all over the world, but frequent visits to Guam ensured her family that she called the Marianas her home. A graduate of San Francisco State University (SFSU), CA with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Management, Heidi taught Pacific Island cultural dance workshops on campus while elected to SFSU’s Student Center Governing Board and Finance Chair. In 1998, Heidi and Joey Quenga, were bestowed the honor as Directors of the Kutturan Chamoru Performers (KCP), a Chamorro cultural volunteered based group founded by her mother-in-law, Regina Quenga in 1993. Heidi continued her artistic work and was established as a California Arts Council, Artist-in-Residence 2000-2002, the first for the Chamorro Community. Heidi continued her passion for her culture, fused her business sense and led the establishment of the Kutturan Chamoru Foundation (KCF) in 2008, a 501c(3) Non-profit which houses tuition-free Chamorro song/dance, language, careering/college guidance and scholarship workshops to the community. She expanded her volunteer work as Tribal Council Member Guma’ Tao Tao Tano’, Guam, Cultural Advisor for Uno Hit in San Diego, CA, Hale Para Agupa’ in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Vice President of the Pacific Islander Health Partnership and Community Engagement Lead for the Southern California Pacific Islander COVID-19 Response Team.
Angelica Quintanilla-Trinidad, Vice President, Board Member
Maternal Clan: Perez-Quintanilla of Sinajana, familian Tetang
Paternal Clan: Cruz Quintanilla of Santa Rita, familian Tokcha
With nearly 30 years of Chamorro dance experience, Angel began as a young child learning Chamorro dance with KCP’s founder, Regina Mantanona-Quenga, and is known as “one of the original 4“. As a Quality Control Coordinator and Admissions Auditor in the Medical field, Angel’s passion is Chamorro song and dance and passing it on the future generations. She attributes her passion to KCP’s first dance instructor, Glen Bernardo who had an impact on her. Glen taught her that music was not only to dance to, but to realize the cultural meanings, traditions and the legacy of our ancestors. Through the years, Angel has learned countless dances and cultural songs and helped passed her knowledge on to now 4 generations of KCP dancers. Angel’s inspiration to continuing dancing are her parents Fidel and Teri Quintanilla whose influences helped her appreciate her Chamorro culture of the Marianas Islands. She continues to be a vital part of Kutturan Chamoru Foundation to be able to pass on the knowledge of the Chamoru culture to her children and one day to their children.
Robert B. Gurion, Treasurer and Board Member
Maternal Grandmother Clan: San Nicolas of Inarajan, familian Kamudo
Maternal Grandfather Clan: Punzalan of Tamuning, familian Pancy
With over 20 years of experience, Robert is a Business Management Leader with business acumen and aptitude in the disciplines of accounting, finance, business operations and strategic management. He of Chamoru and Filipino descent and is a graduate from San Francisco State University (SFSU) with a double major in Business Administration (Emphasis: Accounting and Finance). He was a student leader with organizations including Tau Omega Alpha (TOA), the Pacific Islanders Club (PIC) on campus and Chair of the Student Center Governing Board (SCGB). As a Community Leader, Band member and Cultural Advocate, Robert has been afforded the opportunity to assist various Boards of Directors to accomplish the financial goals and objectives of various non-profit organizations he has been affiliated with. Professionally, Robert has worked in various industries including; automotive, entertainment, wireless, tech and medical.
Tricia R. Yamasta-McDermott, Secretary, Board Member
Maternal Clan: Doris Fejaran Yamasta of Malesso, familian Kupa
Paternal Clan: Albert John Yamasta, of Dededo, familian Chubic
Tricia is a mother to Kai and Kali. Tricia has worked with her local school district and has been involved in various outreach programs. Her involvement with KCF has taken her to Washington DC along with her son. She has been a apart of the KCF family for over thirteen years.
Joey Atoigue Quenga, Board Member
Maternal Clan: Atoigue-Quenga of Talofofo, familian Bebang
Paternal Clan: Ferjeran Quenga of Piti
Joey is first generation Chamorro born in Long Beach, CA and appreciates being raised in a deep-rooted Chamorro household. As a student/athlete, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from San Francisco State University, CA and established the first Pacific Islander Club on campus as well as the first Pacific Islander Fraternity in the country. He has perfected his business acumen in Corporate America, served as an Executive Director in the Non-Profit sector, and currently works in local government and continues to wear many different hats as a businessman, musician, author, inspirational speaker, cultural practitioner and husband. In 2012, Joey created and produced one of the first radio shows dedicated to highlighting community-based organizations, artists and business owners from the Pacific Island community called “The BBQ Show”. The newly expanded “Island City Media Group” has a worldwide audience with over 1+ million listeners and can be heard on a mainstream platform called, Dash Radio 24/7. In addition to being the Musical Director for Kutturan Chamoru Foundation for the past 20 years, Joey can be seen performing as a musician and/or emcee for concerts around the country. These professional skills and experiences combined with the natural ability to entertain and passion for his culture makes Joey a unique advocate for his native Chamorro people.
Tarra Van Meter, Board Member
Maternal Clan: Castro-Van Meter of Talofofo, Guam familian Manok
Paternal Clan: Salas-Van Meter of Agat, Guam familian Budoki
Tarra Van Meter is currently employed at ILWU 63 OCU Union office as an Administrative Assistant. Having danced for 24+ years, Tarra has been involved with the Kutturan CHamoru Foundation since the age of 8. Tarra started dancing in 1993 under the direction of Glen Bernardo and Regina Atoigue-Quenga (Auntie Ning) as a Neni, moving up to Suttera and finally as a Fama’laoan learning under the direction of Heidi Quenga. Tarra has always been passionate about the Chamorro culture, that passion brought upon by her strong-willed grandparents. In 2008, Tarra relocated to Guam to help take care of her grandparents and spend time with her extended family. It was there that she ran and won the 2010 Guam Liberation Queen, representing the village of Talofofo. In 2011, Tarra gave birth to her daughter Teiya, and relocated back to California to win the fight against Medulloblastoma cancer for Teiya. Tarra wanted to ensure that Teiya stayed connected to her island roots and culture as the entire family continuous to be actively involved in Kutturan CHamoru Foundation as well as various CHamorro events. KCF provided countless opportunities for Tarra growing up and is grateful for the amazing trips and being able to share the stage with her family and friends doing what she loves. Now she is able to teach and be part of Teiya’s journey with KCF to witness the passion Teiya has for learning her culture as well as the language which makes Tarra’s heart beam with pride.
Mirranda Quinata Salas, Board Member
Paternal Clan: Cruz-Quinata of Malesso, Guam
Maternal Clan: Cruz-Garrido of Malesso, Guam
Born and raised in the beautiful village of Malesso, Mirranda graduated from Southern High School in 2001 and moved from Guam to Portland, Oregon to attend the University of Portland, graduating with Honors with a B.A. in Psychology. While at school in Portland, Mirranda helped to produce the first-ever “Guam Night” on campus, a joint effort by students from Guam to help share their island culturewith new friends they were making from the Pacific Northwest and she is listed as a founding member of the Guam Club. After college, Mirranda volunteered for a full-time AmeriCorps program called Holy Cross Associates, and lived in South Bend, Indiana for a year working on a violence-prevention program for youth in the area. Even in the Midwest, Mirranda was able to find fellow Guamanians attending the University of Notre Dame, and hosted them for Guam favorites such as estufao and latiya. Mirranda has lived in Los Angeles since 2006 and along the way she has earned an M.A. in Psychology from California State University, Northridge, where she currently works on an NIH-funded grant that aims to increase the diversity of researchers in biomedical fields. Mirranda is married to Teddy Salas, another product of southern Guam (Santa Rita and Agat). Together, they have 2 children, Felicity and Lucas, and the entire family enjoys being active participants in Kutturan Chamoru Foundation.
Jahnay Luna, Board Member
Maternal Grandmother: Afaisen-Fejeran of Inarajan, Guam familian Undu
Maternal Grandfather: Cruz-Taitingfong of Sinajana, Guam familian Siboyas
Paternal Clan: Benavente-Perez of Dededo, Guam
Born and raised in Long Beach, California with deep Chamorro roots, Jahnay earned her Associates Degree in Communications from Cerritos College. As an Admitting Representative at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, her passion is Chamorro song and dance. Jahnay began her cultural journey with KCF back in 2008 and continues her volunteer cultural work through KCF’s many programs. 12+ years with KCF, Jahnay has represented the Chamorro culture through various events including: 2016 Festival of the Pacific Arts on Guam, Guam Society of America (GSA) Liberation Celebration on Capitol Hill and San Diego’s Pacific Islander Festival Association annually. She has accepted the role of understudy/apprentice to Fafa’na’gue Heidi Quenga for Guma’ Kutturan Chamoru with humility and pride. Kutturan Chamoru has been a enormous part of Jahnay’s formidable years and continues on paying it forward as a Board member to help see through the mission of KCF.