Thursday, March 31, 2005


Hanao yan fitma este na petition fan. Achokka' sina taibali, sina gaibali lokkue put i balin "symbolic." Yanggen manmalago hit umunu na taotao ta'lo, debi di ta tutuhun humahasso taiguihi.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

in progress ta'lo

Chule' tatte todu i piniti
Piniti ni' un tanom yan un dingu
Un dingu yu' ya ti un na'triste
Hafa pa'go na bai hu cho'gue?

Este piniti i isao-mu
Ya Hagu ha' bai hu sukne
Hagu ha' sina na'homlo yan na'puti

Chule' tatte i triniste
Yan i lagu' ni' i fina'tinas-mu
Hu nanagga ha' para i respuesta
Sa' hafa un na'taiguini yu'?

Este paladan iyo-mu
Yan i lagu i tinatse
Esta un puni na un siente taiguini nene

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The colonial difference

I submitted this last week to a discussion group on the film The Insular Empire which is about Guam and the Marianas as being colonial possessions of the United States. Most of the discussion I don't participate in because its usually about footage or other documentaries which I haven't really heard of or know much about. Last week though, one of the producers of the film, asked us to comment on the "colonial difference." So here was my response:

Just thought I'd share some thoughts on the colonial difference...

Most people's political interventions are built upon that principle of rectification of a hypocrisy or an error. Even when I speak in the states, I often use that stance, telling people, that "although I don't believe in the promises of American democracy and freedom, if you do, know that your country isn't living up to it, here, in Guam or anywhere else."

But of course what this position disavows is that hypocrisy or inconsistency is inherent to every system, it is what keeps it running and functioning. If you look at all the Enlightenment philosophers whose ideas the modern forms of political rights and governance are built upon, they are all based on some basic "foreclosures" or exclusions, things or people which have to be considered as "pathological" or beyond intervention. In Kant, his ideas about the rational, modern Enlightened subject were all built upon the idea that out there somewhere in places like Tierra del Fuego or New Holland, there were people who could never be modern or civilized. Locke, Hegel, even Marx, they all rooted their ideas on basic foreclosures, peoples or ideas which could never be equal or included in the world of modernity.

Bringing in back to the United States, and Guam, we find the narratives of the United States, built upon very basic foreclosures, Chamorros and Native Americans to name a few. One can call it the colonial difference as Chaterjee does, or you can refer to it as the national difference, or the indigenous sacrifice (my term), but the production of the nation, politically and at the level of discourse and meaning, requires a homo sacer (as Agamben calls it), or someone whose existence is always exceptional who is always explicitly included and excluded (homo sacer refers to Ancient Rome, and the people in a society who could be killed but not sacrificed. They existed and were included within the polity, however, only in as far as they were excluded).

But in this indistinctive existence, you find some of the most powerful justifications for the greatness of a nation. From Windtalkers, to French colonial solders, to Chamorros in World War II being "more American than Americans," these potent discourses emerging from the margins, emerging from the existences of those who "aren't supposed to be so" (because they are different, excluded, obviously outside of the nation). Already mildly present on some patriotic websites, and in a few articles I've scanned from Newsweek and other mainstream American magazines are representations of Micronesians serving and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. These soldiers, as well as other non-U.S. resident or citizens soldiers help maintain these discourses on American greatness and wonderfulness. (the logic always similar to, why would someone without even the full benefits and pivileges of American citizenship or lifestyle risk their lives for this country? Thus, in a very interesting way, the base ideological presuppositions of a nation (we're #1!) are proven)

In terms of conveying this in a film, I don't think it could be done in a concise way, or a way which is not thoroughly depressing. It would mean tearing apart not just the United States as a nation, but an even more difficult conversation about how the nation-state system in general is an extremely violent construction (as expressed pretty well in the film Hero). What one can do (although it would be unsettling for nearly all US and Marianas audiences) is show how the US has since its 'birth" not been a bastion of freedom and democracy. This is not a new position, many liberals take up this slogan, in their fights, but ultimately with the mindset, that it is just a matter of time. women have been included, black people have been included, other immigrant groups are being included, the dream, the fantasy of the Enlightenment is possible. But what is almost always untouched, is that these exclusions were necessarily violent and racist ones (not sad and incidental omissions), and the most racist and violent one of all, that still goes almost completely undiscussed is the one with regards to Native American groups. One of the core principles of the production of the Declaration of Independence, was a racist and violence attack on Native Americans, by accusing King George and the British for taking their side, thus betraying their fidelity to modern, white European traditions.The Native American, the Chamorro, Guam, these are all incredibly productive sites, but dangerous ones as well. While they can enchant the peoples of the nation, with their loyalty and devotion, their existences hold potential disenchantment as well, as they are semi-sovereign, semi-outside, their relationship, their meaning to the nation always unclear, always something which must be controlled, dominated and made into something which is not threatening. Thus, whether it is in Native American tribes, attempting to build solidarity or sovereignty (such as AIM) or Chamorro lepers seeking to escape invasive and opressive Naval health codes which would deport them to the Philippines the United States has always reacted in terrible and terrifying ways.

Sorry to ramble on like that, if you get me started, ai adai, I'll never stop.

Monday, March 28, 2005

crappy poem

I wrote this while struggling not to sleep during a conference in Chicago. I haven't been writing much poetry in English lately so its kinda stupid, fitting in perfectly with my general depressed, brooding mood.

She showed me her smile
And I smiled back through a laugh
She gave me a lotus
And I gave her back my luck
She handed me a yellow flower
And I hander her back a white one
She offered me the desert
And I offered her back the ocean
She shook her head and the sands in her hands flew around becoming the purple and yellow flowers that follow her along the freeway.
It was then that I knew it was true
Love is
The giving of something that one does not have, to someone who doesn't want it.

Sunday, March 27, 2005


Got this today from Sanctuary. Para en tingo':

Hafa adai Friends and Colleagues:

The first regional conference on youth services and banquet is coming up this weekend. I would like to personally invite you to attend both the banquet and the conference. This is the first year in well over a decade that we have been able to put together a forum through this collaborative effort.

The keynoter for the banquet on Sunday, April 3rd (6pm at the Hyatt) is Congresswoman Bordallo. Also, we will be recognizing the top 10 supporters of youth programs in the region. Many recipients will be businesses who have supported Sanctuary, Guam Girl Scouts, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Juvenile Drug Court, Department of Youth Affairs, and many others over the last year.

On Monday, April 4th from 8-5pm also at the Hyatt will be the conference. The keynoter will be Vice Speaker and APIL President Joanne Brown. The film "Juvies" will be debut on Guam - it will be a first and is a highly talked about piece that you would want to see! There will be a reaction panel in the morning (confirmed are University of Guam, Superior Court and DYA) and another in the afternoon on funding (confirmed are Congresswoman Bordallo's office, Chamber of Commerce and Bank of Guam).

Please let us know if we can fax you a registration form with hopes you will attend and respond by Thursday this week. let me know if you have any questions. I can be contacted via email at or phone at 727-4016.

Thanks for your usual support.
Sarah Thomas-Nededog
for Micronesian Youth Services Network


Be on the look out for the PDN's polls. Their biases and agendas in Guam can really be seen in the way they structure their polls. Their impact can be seen in the ways you can pretty much predict how the responses will turn out.

I saw a poll the other day which wanted to know whether or not GovGuam officials should take ethics training. I said more than 80% would say yes, I was actually kinda off, when I voted 87% had said yes.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Sovereignty Matters

I'll be presenting a paper at a conference at Columbia University in New York next month. I was really excited about it since ever since, but my excitement tripled today when I got an email from Frances Negron-Muntaner, the organizer. She pasted the following link below which is the poster for the conference. My excitement stems from the fact that my name is on the poster! BIBA!

Yes, for those paying attention or not easily excited, everyone who is presenting has their name on the poster, but nonetheless, my name has never been on any conference posters before! So this is a big moment for me.

To increase the bigness of this moment, the other people who will be presenting on Guam stuff are two of the biggest names in Chamorro scholarship and studies, my uncle and former Congressman Robert Underwood and Vince Diaz of U Mich. (Tina Taitano Delisle is also presenting, but she's not one of the biggest names yet, just like me).

Anyways, check out the poster, its awesome! Sigi' ha magof hu ya kalang taihinekkok!

Chamorro conservative alert!

I received this email a few days ago from a concerned Chamorro conservative, who worries that I have become under the influence of Liberals out there. It seemed so out of character then the usual hate mail I receive, which focuses on how pathological and beyond help me and those like me are. This one actually seemed concern for me in that I am ignorant and wrong.

Enjoy as best as you can when you read something as insane as this:

Michael, you have the correct idea of involving the Chamorro people in politics to become a “voice of the island”. I, myself am working on getting the Chamorro people to register to vote and get involved.
However, Michael, it is my believe that as a former resident of Los Angeles, you are influenced by the Liberals out there.
The fact of the matter is that Chamorro people resemble the Republican Party more as they are devout Roman Catholics (i.e. pro-lifers, anti gay lifestyle, etc. etc.).
If you would do your research you will find that the Democrats have been lying about the Republican Party for ages! The Democrats are the wealthier people (ask Bill Gates, Donald Trump and Ophra), AND … they are NOT there for the MINORITES! The fact of the matter is that the Republican Party originated under Abraham Lincoln to FREE THE SLAVES and ALLOW WOMEN TO VOTE.
As for President Bush … he’s the first President to put minorities in high power! Ask the Attorney General, Secretary of State, United States Treasurer and the whole bunch in office now!
The Hispanics and a lot of Blacks are coming to support the Republican Party like never before! The proof is in the pudding.
The Democrats want Minorities to remain in a poverty position. It is them who put the Gays and Lesbians in high positions and give them the status of “minorities” like you and me.
I hope you wake up the truth Che’lu.
Si Yuus Maase!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Bai hu taigue

I won't be posting for a few days, as I'll be in Chicago at the National Association of Ethnic Studies Conference, and I'm not sure if I'll survive the weather there or have internet access.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Wisdom fan

Papakyo' i hinasso-ku pa'go ni' triniste put taya' guinaiya-ku. Sigi ha hu aligao pas, lao mappot masodda'.

Nai hu na'gasgasgas i kuato-ku, hu sodda' un kosas, ni' sina umayuda yu'.

Estaba hu go'te este gi todu hinanao-hu, lao mumalingu hagas.

Its called a wisdom fan, and on each rib, I wrote a piece of wisdom.

I just thought I'd write them here. If you notice the languages and the content, you'll definitely see the wisdom of the fan, however you may want to qualify your insights with words like "insane" "psychotic" or "schizophrenic."

1. Ishq samundar mei pahar hota hai
2. Usuni chumagi pumuno' dinagi
3. Because her boyfriend was Japanese
4. Muna'ya-mu i tagalo sa' ya-na manrigalu
5. Any nationalism is just irrationalism
6. Suruhanu means family
7. No Rest for the Awake
8. Para i manma'pos i manpa'go yan i manmamailla
9. Joi hai sama, kal ho na ho
10. Pikas in the clouds with Eevee
11. Khabi Kushi Khabie Gham
12. Mori wa doku deska?
13. Kopbla Amerika esta ki matai hao

Friday, March 18, 2005

betsu (in progress)

Achokka' sigi ha' tinemba yu' (put tinaiga'chong-hu) hu chagi tumuge' un betsun romantiko. Taya' hu chagi mangge' betsu taiguini, pues mamahlao yu' didide' na bai hu na'huyong. Ai adai, fanmagofli'e fan, sa' massa' yu'. Otro fino'-ta, estague gui'...

Esta apmam desde un dingu yu'
Ya un gutos i guinaiya-ta
Un tamtam yu' ya un chagi guinaiya-ku
Lao ti ya-mu, ya pa'go un yute' un foyung yu'

Lao hu hasso ha' nai un toktok yu'
Ya hu pacha i pecho'-mu
Umachiku hit nai u'uchan
Ya hu hoflak i ti'u na lago-mu

Kao un hahasso nai un go'te yu'?
Ya un nangoni yu' na Guahu un guaiya?
Hu gof chiku hao, ya umapalo'po
Umalilek hit gi kinekuyong i tasi

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Can Democracy Survive Bush's Embrace?


Can Democracy Survive Bush's Embrace? by Naomi Klein

It started off as a joke and has now become vaguely serious: the idea that Bono might be named president of the World Bank. US Treasury Secretary John Snow recently described Bono as "a rock star of the development world," adding, "He's somebody I admire."

The job will almost certainly go to a US citizen, one with even weaker credentials, like Paul Wolfowitz. But there is a reason Bono is so admired in the Administration that the White House might just choose an Irishman. As frontman of one of the world's most enduring rock brands, Bono talks to Republicans as they like to see themselves: not as administrators of a diminishing public sphere they despise but as CEOs of a powerful private corporation called America. "Brand USA is in's a problem for business," Bono warned at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The solution is "to re-describe ourselves to a world that is unsure of our values."

The Bush Administration wholeheartedly agrees, as evidenced by the orgy of redescription that now passes for American foreign policy. Faced with an Arab world enraged by its occupation of Iraq and its blind support for Israel, the US solution is not to change these brutal policies; it is, in the pseudo-academic language of corporate branding, to "change the story."

Brand USA's latest story was launched on January 30, the day of the Iraqi elections, complete with a catchy tag line ("purple power"), instantly iconic imagery (purple fingers) and, of course, a new narrative about America's role in the world, helpfully told and retold by the White House's unofficial brand manager, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. "Iraq has been reframed from a story about Iraqi 'insurgents' trying to liberate their country from American occupiers and their Iraqi 'stooges' to a story of the overwhelming Iraqi majority trying to build a democracy, with U.S. help, against the wishes of Iraqi Baathist-fascists and jihadists." This new story is so contagious, we are told, that it has set off a domino effect akin to the fall of the Berlin wall and the collapse of Communism. (Although in the "Arabian Spring," the only wall in sight--Israel's apartheid wall--pointedly stays up.)

As with all branding campaigns, the power is in the repetition, not in the details. Obvious non sequiturs (is Bush taking credit for Arafat's death?) and screeching hypocrisies (occupiers against occupation!) just mean it's time to tell the story again, only louder and more slowly, obnoxious tourist-style. Even so, with Bush now claiming that "Iran and other nations have an example in Iraq," it seems worth focusing at least briefly on the reality of the Iraqi example. The state of emergency was just renewed for its fifth month, and the United Iraqi Alliance, despite winning a clear majority, still can't form a government. The problem is not that Iraqis have lost faith in the democracy for which they risked their lives on January 30; it's that the electoral system imposed on them by Washington is profoundly undemocratic.

Terrified at the prospect of an Iraq ruled by Iraqis, former chief US Envoy Paul Bremer designed elections that gave the US-friendly Kurds 27 percent of the seats in the National Assembly even though they make up as little as 15 percent of the population. And since the US-authored interim constitution requires an absurdly high majority for all major decisions, the Kurds now hold the country hostage. Their central demand is control over Kirkuk; if they get it, and then decide to separate, Iraqi Kurdistan will handily include the massive northern oilfields. Kurdish Iraqis have a legitimate claim to independence, as well as understandable fears of being ethnically targeted. But the US-Kurdish alliance has handed Washington a backdoor veto over Iraq's democracy. And with Kirkuk as part of Iraqi Kurdistan, if Iraq does break apart Washington will still end up with a dependent, oil-rich regime--even if it's somewhat smaller than the one originally envisioned.

This type of bald colonial interference is already threatening to turn Lebanon's "cedar revolution" fairy tale into a nightmare. By all accounts, most Lebanese would like to see Syria withdraw from their country. But as the hundreds of thousands who participated in the March 8 pro-Hezbollah demonstration made clear, they are unwilling to have their desire for independence hijacked by the interests of Washington and Tel Aviv. By linking Lebanon's independence movements to American designs for the region, the Bush Administration is weakening Lebanon's secularists and religious moderates and increasing the power of Hezbollah. Which is precisely what Bremer did in Iraq: Whenever he needed a good news hit, he had his picture taken at a newly opened women's center, a trick that set the feminist movement back decades. (The centers are now mostly closed, and hundreds of secular Iraqis who worked with the coalition in local councils have been murdered.)

The problem is not just guilt by association. It's also that the Bush definition of liberation robs democratic forces of their most potent tools. The only idea that has ever stood up to kings, tyrants and mullahs in the Middle East is the promise of economic justice, brought about through nationalist and socialist policies of agrarian reform and state control over oil. But there is no room for such ideas in the Bush narrative, in which free people are only free to choose so-called free trade. That leaves secularists with little to offer but empty talk of "human rights"--a weedy weapon against the powerful swords of ethnic glory and eternal salvation.

George W. Bush likes to say that democracy has the power to defeat tyranny. He's right, and that's precisely why it is so very dangerous for history's most powerful emancipatory idea to be bundled into an empty marketing exercise. Allowing the Bush Administration to fold the liberation struggles of Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine into its own "story" is a gift to authoritarians and fundamentalists. Freedom and democracy need to be liberated from Bush's deadly embrace and returned to the movements of the Middle East that have been struggling for these goals for decades. They have a story of their own to finish.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Ai adai, tumaya' ta'lo i salape-ku!

Hafa na bai hu cho'gue? Ai adai, mangge' i manriku na Chamorros, ni' pau suppote i artists yan intellectuals siha? Ayugue hafa taigue, yan gof impottante ayu.

Yanggen i mangefsaga' ti ma supoppote i artists siha, yan i taotao ni' fumati'ti'na i kosas i kottura-ta (maseha pepenta, titige', intellectual, a'activist) pues siempre sigi ha' invisible hit na taotao. Yanggen ti esta ma li'e hit i taotao sanhiyong, sigi ha' taiguihi siempre esta ki ta tulaika, ya ta na'li'e siha gi as Hita!

Chamorro International Market

Please try to support the Chamorro International Market here in San Diego. Tell all your friends and relatives to check it out. Si Yu'us Ma'ase.

Dear family and friends,I am writing in an effort to support our chelus, the cepeda family who opened a Chamorro International Market on Highland and Plaza Blvd. The store has much to offer us local folks. Food and other items that are we are particularly fond of and are especially hard to get. The price is very reasonable and more importantly very accessible to us. We don't have to wait for care packages from back home although we would still like to receive them.These are just some of the items available:Lemon powder, Salon Pilot, biscucho, chorizos pakpak (hot and regular); achote, diago, king car tea, asparagus biscuit, coconut milk, and.. many many more. In addition, he is very open to suggestions on what you would like to have made available at the store. (pls forgive the spelling)

Folks, I have been to the store and found it to be a great place to shop. As I know most of you will agree, we want to support our chamorro chelu in their efforts, especially when it always meets our needs. So, it is in this spirit that I write to all of you. Pete shared with me that he is seriously considering closing the store because he has been consistently losing money. This in part due to start up cost. Generally, It takes about a year for a business to begin to see profits. The problem is, this is a small family effort, and they have had to dig deep into their savings. They will not able to sustain the store for another few months. I would hate to see this store closed. You see, I don't believe that it is because of a lack of interest. I believe that a lot of chamorros are not aware about the store, so here goes, I am asking you all to pass this information by email, by phone and by mouth so that the Chamorros can come out in full force to show that we do indeed want a Chamorro Store in San Diego. And.. I am asking you to go and check out the store for yourself.

The directions are:805 south. Exit on Plaza, take a right and go straight (pass Sea Food City) till you get to Highland where you will take a left. Wal-Mart will be on your right, immediately past Wall Mart to your left is the Chamorro Store. The phone number is: (619) 477-9695 Parking is limited but there is addition parking in the rear of the building. The address is:1235 Highland AveNational City, CA 91950 Hope that we can all come out in full force to make this much needed store a welcome reality. Thank you for all your support. Remember, pls. forward this email to as many people as you can. Thank you very much.

Dorothy Tenorio
Doreen San Nicolas
Vince Manibusan

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


The time has finally, almost come.

For more than a year, me and a friend of mine (Josette Quinata) (I call her friend, cause I know she will be, even though up til this point we haven't met in person yet, only across phone lines and through emails) have been talking about doing a CD recording of a discussion about what young Chamorros can do to help their island and their culture.

Even while I've been busy with finishing up my school quarter, what to talk about, how to articulate my ideas has been heavy in my mind.

What can Chamorros do? Especially young Chamorros, what can we do?

For weeks, a thread burned on FANAHGUE'YAN (the link is to the right of this post) about whether or not Chamorro culture can be saved. While for most who posted in that topic, this issue is easy enough resolved. Of course it can!

I wish, desperately that it was that easy, as just saying something like that, and then all your actions and interventions will be protected by your passion and love.

But I know better that these types of interactions can be dangerous, and almost always you are acting without any clear sense of what the consequences will be. A book published, a movie released can mean nothing. Can have no impact whatsoever. Or they can have all the impact in the world. You never now when you are making something, how its existence, its presence will change the coordinates of life.

This recording, while surely small, will hopefully be one which will help change the coordinates arond which Chamorros understand themselves, relate to each other and relate to the United States.


Here you have a simple joke, but one which when interrogated in inventive, creative and sometimes stupid ways, answers alot of questions about human life. The first thing that came to my mind when reading this was love, and the relationship of loving between human beings.

Think about the gap in the joke, and then think about the gaps in our lives, in particular between the self, and those around us. Traversing these gaps are what make us us and life life. It is in our attempts to cross over, to reach out to those around us that we create the memories which we wish so intensely to both hold onto and never let go of.

Before I get too deep into love gaps, here's the joke...

"There were two guys in a lunatic asylum and one night they decide that they don’t like living in an asylum anymore. They decide that they’re going to escape. They get up to the roof, and there just across a narrow gap, they can see the rooftops of the surrounding town, stretching away into the moonlight, stretching away to freedom. The first guy jumps right across with no problems. But the second guy hesitates and doesn’t follow, he’s afraid of falling. The first guy then gets an idea, he says “Hey! I have my flashlight with me! I’ll shine it across the gap between the buildings and you can walk along the beam and join me!” The second guy shakes his head and says, “What do you think I am crazy!? You’d turn it off when I was half-way across!'"

Monday, March 07, 2005

Impossible Cultures

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I've been out of town for the past few days at a conference up in Berkeley. The conference was fairly interesting, discussing decolonization of land, culture, the mind and the academy.

Here's the abstract, for the paper submitted:

Cultures entangled in colonialism are faced with the impossibility of their own existences. Though most often articulated as the control of land and resources, a central part of colonization is the creation and imposition of identities and hegemonies upon the colonized. Therefore the most successful form of colonization means more than just altering the terrain of the colonies, but rather altering of the terrain of the colonized, and changing the terms/limits through which discourse can be made and knowledge or culture be legitimized or de-legitimized. The creation and common acceptance of these hegemonies is what makes the would be performative “postcolonial” in general a difficulty, but in cases such as Guam, it makes the culture of the colonized, namely the Chamorros, an impossibility.

Impossibility in this way should be interpreted as broadly as possible. It refers to the subtle ways in which statements intended to express certain points (in this instance, the existence or vitality of Chamorro culture), tend to unravel themselves and make the thing they describe unattainable, incomplete or unattainable.

This paper will focus on the ways in which this impossibility has been deployed through the island’s media since 1898, with particular focus on Guam’s current primary news outlet today, The Pacific Daily News from 2001-2005. Since the creation of the island’s first newspaper in 1907 up til today, the role of the media in Guam has been to defend and maintain American hegemony in Guam. In pre-World War II Guam, newspapers such as the Guam Newsletter and Guam Recorder were integral to the Navy’s efforts to whiten and civilize Chamorros, often explicitly depicting and referring to them as children who needed to be more like “their dad” Uncle Sam. Following World War II, newspapers such as The Pacific Daily News have continued this task of rearticulating Chamorros as incomplete or inadequate people, albeit in more subtle ways. Through representations of Chamorro culture in the context of diaspora, military service and Chamorro identity the impossibility of Chamorro culture is consistently rearticulated, by reproducing colonizing discourses of Chamorro infantilization, inferiority and dependency on the United States.The goal of this paper is to discuss how these “impossibilities” make impossible efforts to decolonize Guam or to achieve Chamorro political self-determination therefore fulfilling the strategic desires of the United States military to control Guam’s space.

Friday, March 04, 2005

World War II: Is it Over?

Hu fakcha'i este gi nigap-na nai sumurf yu' i internet. Este na litratu ginnen un fina'nu'i-hu gi i ma'pos na sakkan. I Guam Humanities Council spumonser, ya ma na'dana kuatro na "intellectuals" para u pagat (kuentos) put taimanu sigi ha' maninafekta i Chamorro ni' i gera.

Pues Si Tony Palomo annok gi i litratu. Gof malate' gui' na taotao, bula'la'la' i tinigo'-na put i estorian i isla-ta. Si William Jennings Bunn guihi lokkue. Haole gui', ya achokka' guaha na tumungo' gui' put i estorian i isla-ta, ti ya-hu i pission-na hinallom. Pues Si Patricia Taimanglo, ni' Chamorro Psychologist. Bula na ha research put i "trauma" ni' i Chamorro ma susedi gi i gera, yan taimanu umirensia-ta ayu na piniti, para hami ni' manhobenna. I uttimo, Guahu.

Here's some photos from a panel discussion I participated in last year on Guam. We were discussing World War II and its impacts on Chamorros today.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Work in progress

Just a poem I'm still working on. The more I work on it though, the more depressing it gets. Who would have ever thought I'd use lamas, or rotten in a love poem? Ai yu'us!

Lina’la’ esta mafnas
Taiguini sa’ taigue hao
Taya’ esta giya Guahu
Esta annok I mape’

Guahu I hanom I tahtaotao-mu
Taimanu na sina un fa’sahnge
Linachi patten tinaotao
Ti maimaigo Si Yu’us, lao debi di Guahu
Esta hu admite todu

Taya’ pa’go para bai hu tangga’
Sa’ esta lamas todu I guinife

Puerto Rico and Guam

Found this the either day while surfing the net. Very interesting stuff.

San Juan Star
Revising History Won’t Resolve Colonial Status Problem
By: Herbert W. Brown III*
November 15, 2002Copyright © 2002 San Juan Star. All rights reserved.

In a Viewpoint commentary of November 8, Ron Walker argues that Puerto Rico, "…is generally agreed to no longer be a colony" because it was removed from the U.N. list of colonies in 1953 after the local constitution was adopted. The only thing "generally agreed" is that its action on Puerto Rico in 1953 was not the finest hour for the U.N. in upholding self-determination for Puerto Rico.

The historical record reflects that on September 27, 1953, the U.N. General Assembly yielded to U.S. arguments that Puerto Rico should be removed from the list of colonies, and to that effect approved Resolution 748 (VIII) by a vote of 22 to 18, with 19 abstentions. This highly ambiguous measure adopted under pressure from the U.S. (with token support of Puerto Rican leaders who went along) was materially inconsistent with the decolonization standards set forth in Resolution 742, which the U.N. had adopted earlier that same day!

Anyone needing remedial instruction on this point may want to start with Justice Trías Monge’s book on the subject. An even more authoritative analysis of this issue can be found in U.S. House of Representatives Report 105-131, Part 1, June 12, 1997, pp. 14-20. (, "Thomas", Committee Reports, 105th Congress, Resources Committee, H.R. 856).

Instead of dealing with historical facts, Walker simply attempts to change the subject.

Specifically he argues the Virgin Islands would be better off in its relations with Washington if it followed the example of Puerto Rico and territories in the Pacific that adopted local constitutions approved by Congress. In this regard, Walker states, "Congress would have preferred that Virgin Islands voters approve a new constitution to replace the Organic Act, as voters have done in Guam".

This is nonsense. Guam has never adopted a local constitution, and remains under an anachronistic Organic Act of 1950. Guam was authorized by Congress in 1976 to adopt a local constitution, but the voters rejected a draft constitution proposed by Guam’s constitutional convention. Thus, Guam is in the same condition as the V.I. in this regard. This means one of the primary factual premises of Walker’s article is simply false.

More important, the significance of Guam’s status process is the opposite of what Walker asserts. Specifically, the primary argument that defeated the draft Guam constitution in a 1978 referendum was that a locally adopted constitution would not solve the colonial problem.
Leaders of Guam’s pro-commonwealth faction campaigned against the draft constitution for Guam on the grounds its adoption would be used by the U.S. to "trick" the U.N. into removing Guam from its list of colonial territories. Puerto Rico’s removal from the U.N. list of colonies in 1953 was cited by Guam’s autonomists as the scenario Guam must avoid.

After voters rejected the draft constitution, Guam’s leaders established a local commission to develop "consensus" on status. The Guam commonwealth model was submitted to Congress in 1987 as a "consensus" expressing the political will of the people.

It languished for ten years, until Guam’s non-voting delegate in Congress finally convinced the House Resources Committee to have a hearing on Guam’s commonwealth bill in late 1997.
The Clinton Administration’s senior witness stated that the commonwealth formula was "inconsistent with United States sovereignty…and also contrary to Congress’ plenary powers over territories…". The Pacific Daily News reported commonwealth "killed" by Congress and the Clinton Administration. This disappointed Guam’s Governor, who reportedly raised over $900,000.00 for the Clinton-Gore campaign in a vain bid to acquire clout in mainland politics.
The Guam commonwealth proposal shows no sign of life to this day. Even Guam’s delegate, Robert Underwood, distanced himself from commonwealth in his recent campaign for Governor of Guam. In debates before the election, Underwood reportedly proposed "free association" for Guam. "Free Association" is understood by everyone (except the defenders of commonwealth in Puerto Rico) to mean associated republic status under a terminable compact treaty such as that adopted by the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau. Mr. Underwood added that he would ask the U.S. to grant U.S. citizenship to Guam as an associated republic.

Underwood’s opponent, Felix Camacho, responded that only statehood guarantees U.S. citizenship in the future, a fact Guam may want to consider before lurching toward separatism. Apparently voters agreed, because Mr. Camacho was elected Governor on November 5. Mr. Underwood’s term as Guam’s delegate ends when the current Congress adjourns.

Unlike Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands (NMI) has a locally adopted constitution and is referred to as a commonwealth. Because it was a U.N. trust territory integrated into the U.S. without ever being on the U.N. list, the NMI is now recognized legally as an unincorporated territory outside U.N. oversight.

The lesson for Puerto Rico is that a territory is a territory, whether it is listed as a colony by the U.N. or not, with or without a local constitution. If the inhabitants of a territory do not have voting rights and representation in the promulgation of the supreme national law under which they live, their status is colonial.

*Herbert W. Brown III is an attorney in San Juan, President of the Citizens’ Educational Foundation-US, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the decolonization of Puerto Rico based in Washington, D.C. You may access the web site at

Freeways are not indigenous to Guam

I was going through my files on my laptop and I came across this abstract I wrote for a conferenec a couple years back.

Freeways are not Indigenous to Guam: Replacing Complacency with Agency in Chamorro History.

The history of Guam has been for nearly five centuries, the history of those that made landfall there. Unfortunately the indigenous inhabitants, the Chamorros make only token appearances in these histories, even up to recent historiographies. More tragic then their decimation from Spanish conquest seems to be their historical decimation at the hands of explorers, anthropologists and would be-historians.

While efforts are currently being made to remedy the lack of Chamorro agency and participation in Guam’s history (such as the historical and cultural Hale-ta Series, created by the Government of Guam in order to better educate the island about political status issues), the same mistakes may be made. The single greatest gaping hole lies in the lack of the Chamorro people as agents in their history. Current histories of Guam reduplicate the lack of agency, by following the same Interstate Freeway Rest Stop History which has stigmatized Guam since 1521. Chamorros find themselves as abbreviated billboards, waiting flaccid and placid by the roadside, as history speeds down the freeway, stopping every hundred years, at rest stops erected for Magellan, the Spanish American War, and World War II.

Rather than have the Chamorros face another near extinction, this time at the hands of history, what is needed is to refocus Guam’s known history. What exists at present disallows anything save for Chamorros as tragic victims or anthropological ghosts. The bias of dead white male primary sources has turned the Chamorros into helpless, docile and feeble, whereas when rethought, the same sources can paint a mural bled red with agency, full of vitality, perseverance and strength.

This paper will re-examine indigenous metaphors and myths from Chamorro history and re-think how such things are portrayed, and how through shifting the descriptions of such icons, a more dynamic and vital image can be seen


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