Posts

Decolonizing the Nativity

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  Every week I get sometimes a few, sometimes quite a few requests for information, for interviews, for assistance. I am not a very well-organized person and so sometimes these requests fall through the cracks, and I miss them. But for the most part I try to accommodate as many people as I can. I recall that if I can help someone in their research, finish a paper, gain some perspective for their thesis or even provide a key quote or insight for their article, it could help put Guam or Chamoru issues in a more critical light, and it may push someone, tied to the island, to be more engaged about things important to me (and hopefully to them).  It is always nice to look back and see if I did have an impact, albeit even a small one on someone's perspective or even the course of their intellectual journey. A few months ago, I was a guest speaker for a college course focusing on cultural diversity in psychology. I talked about my experiences growing up Chamoru, but also not very stereoty

Liberate Liberation from Liberation Day

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The one the reasons why so many scholars, activists and often times community members feel the need to rethink or rearticulate or reimagine "Liberation Day" is because of a recognition of hope integral it is or has been to our relationship to the US. World War II changed dramatically the relationship between the Chamorus of Guam and the US. It changed it somewhat from the US perspective, but it was dramatically altered from the Chamoru side of the equation. Chamorus who felt a clear distance to their colonizer, even if some were eager to be patriotic, prior to the war, emerged from the war eager to find whatever way possible to express their loyalty, their newfound attachment to America. But as I've written many times before, what Liberation Day does as the basis for Chamoru identity in an American context, is create the Chamoru as a subordinate subject, a minor footnote, that must always be superpatriotic for fear that America will withdraw funds, support, recognition an

I Gualo-mu ni Gefpågo

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Kada diha mamomokkat yu’ gi este na tåno’ Nina’homhom ni’ malamaña na halomtåno’ Bula trongko guini, lao labula triniste Labula chinatpågo, labula pinadesi   Sesso sinekkai yu’ ni todu este Kulang råmas, kalaktos kånnai Ginen i mantaklalu na trongko siha   Tåya’ deskånsa, tåya’ fanliheng’an   Lao kada diha anai tumunok ta’lo i atdao Ya mahuchom i ha’åni Linemlem yu’ ni oriyå-hu Sa’ kada nai i tai’ase na somnak Ha dingu i tano’ Ha na’lå’la’la’ lokkue’ i flores gi hatdin-mu   Ya ginen i hinemhom na halomtåno’ Hu tattitiyi ayu Esta ki humuyong yu’ Gi halom i hatdin-mu Bula flores Mannina’dokko’ nu i puti’on siha gi hilo’-hu   Ya guihi lokkue’ guaha såddok Ya i hanom-ña kulang bino Ya kada hu galamok, nina’malulok yu’ Ya nina’maigo’ yu’ lokkue’ Gi mañaña yan maipeñaihon na chå’guan

Ancient Chamoru Gender Dynamics

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 I recently gave a lecture talking about the Maga'håga spirit and the matrilineal strain that runs through Chamoru culture. In putting it together, I had to scrounge for different quotes from the early accounts of the Spanish, when they encountered Chamorus in the 16th and 17th centuries. It provides a stark contrast in most ways we see gender relations today, but it must have felt nightmarish at times for a Catholic priest of the time. To see women with this much authority over life and over their husbands, I imagine it would have given San Vitores and others plenty a panic attack.  Here are some of the quotes I used in my presentation: *******************   In each family, the head is the father or older relative, but with limited influence. A son, as he grows up, neither fears or respects his father. In the home it is the woman who rules, and her husband does not dare give an order contrary to her wishes, nor punish the children, for she will turn upon him and beat him. If the w

Glass Kiss

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"Glass Kiss"   I can taste the ocean between us As I step towards you, it wades against me, salt stinging to my skin Your eyes are set, chained to the horizon Reminding me that I find it hard to breathe when you are not looking at me You are whispering something But it is lost in the wind, as if drowned quietly in the spiral corridors of a seashell As you turn and see my approach The ocean sighs, waters parting, revealing the heart of the world As I pull you to me, I gasp, as if searching for the land’s last breath When our lips meet, the ocean pours into the earth’s core Cooling every heat filled moment I have shared with you The sky trembles, lightning piercing all And you are forever mine in a sea of newborn glass

Blue

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"Blue" I’m trying to find something she left, A kiss that has long been taped to my mind It was left there long ago, by someone who had no business inside my skull But found her way there, during a sweaty afternoon, complete with grass stains and sword cuts that stretched like clues on puzzle pieces from her limbs to mine At one point that kiss was an itch, a scar carved upon my memories, that blocked the flow of daily traffic, always taking my thoughts through detours towards that afternoon, when without a moment’s notice, she planted that kiss upon my life I would spend days taping, rock hammer rapping at the side of my skull, splintering bone and feeding air to that starving scar. Desperate to keep it alive, to force feed nourishment into the scar, to keep it crisp, to keep it breathing, humming, dancing between life and death.  But I simply write around that kiss. As I reach into my skull, digging for that scarred memory, as my own irritated bone tears into my finger fles

No Statehood for You!

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Everytime Trump mentions Guam, it is like we get to walk on to some national reality TV show. It is always interesting, sometimes funny, sometimes scary, sometimes saddening. Here are some articles around our most recent mention, when Trump talked about statehood being off the table and not an option for Guam and other US territories.  *******************   Decolonization Commission: Trump comments superficial and selfish Steve Limtiaco Pacific Daily News USA TODAY NETWORK Oct 19, 2020  The government of Guam’s Commission on Decolonization on Monday responded to recent comments by President Donald Trump about the political status of Guam and other U.S. territories.   Trump, during an Oct. 1 phone interview with Sean Hannity on the Fox News Channel, accused Democrats of trying to add three new states to the union, including Guam, in an effort to get more power in the House and Senate.   “That would give them six automatic Senate seats,” Trump said. “It would be very unfair, and 20-somet