Saturday, May 28, 2005

Chamorro Student Conference

Me some cousins and some friends have been discussing possibly putting together a Chamorro college student conference for sometime next year.

Originally it was me and my cousin Alfred who were discussing this after attending the Association of Asian American Studies Conference in April. At the conference I shared with Alfred how invisible Pacific Islanders are, and even when their are moments of potential limited visibility they tend not to take advantage of them. While speaking to other Chamorros in college or younger I never get the sense that to them the Chamorro in their identity is very productive. What I mean by this is it isn't something to organize their politics or their lives around. We see this manifest in the ways that Chamorros come and think together, which tend to be in social settings only. When does Chamorro mean something? At a party usually. And not just any party, but a Chamorro party.

Much of my work recently has dealt with trying to bring out the political potential of being Chamorro. What does decolonization mean? At the most basic level it means assuming the political implications of even the most simple and basic acts or statements. In my master's thesis I tried to retell Guam's history in a way through which the political implications and complications of subscribing to this history would be obvious.

I think a Chamorro college student conference would be important in drawing out for many young Chamorros out there with inklings with goosebumps with uncertain feelings about what being Chamorro means, what it might and can mean. Most importantly, instilling some senses of responbility. Despite being brown, most Chamorros stateside assimilate and acculturate white, and this shows in the why they understand collectivity. Their Chamorro identity is not necessarily forged out of oppression or because of feelings of collective marginality, but instead due to the symbolic coolness of it all. The symbol which can be put onto a t-shirt or be placed in a pocket precisely because it is considered to be innocent or harmless.

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