Sunday, October 02, 2005

Call for Papers!

Well, it looks like the Chamorro conference idea that I've been yuyute' around has finally become concrete. It looks like it'll happen next April, at the Sons and Daughters of Guam Club in San Diego. I had lazily been planning and organizing it, until I spoke to i kayu-hu Si Miget Tuncap last week and he told me that he's probably got about eight people lined up to go and present. Needless to say, nina'kahulo' yu' ni' este na tiningo' and so I'm not planning like a maniac.

So this is a general call for papers/interest/adivce from anyone who would be interested in attending a conference such as this. At present, I've got a number of people who want to put paper or discussion panels together around different topics such as increasing Pacific Islander enrollment in colleges and retention in high school and beyond, as well as Chamorro history, Chamorros and Native Americans, and Mental health issues on Guam. If you have a topic that you've written on, would want to discuss before others please let me know that you are interested. Either you can form your own panel, or you can let the organizers (hehehe) find a panel for you.

Obviously, this is catering to academics and Chamorros already in college or getting their master's and higher, but one of saddest things about life today (giya Guahan yan gi lagu lokkue) is how intellectual capital and authority is often invested too arbitrarily in only certain classes or groups, such as me, academics, professors, people with letters after their name. A more organic view of intelligence and intellectual ability is very necessary in Guam, to get past the white professor stage and back to a level where intelligence is also understood as something deriving from the community itself, as opposed to something only awarded to those who spend a certain amount of time in school. So anyone can participate, and not just listen, but present their ideas as well. Whether you are a working professional, a high school student, or un amko', anyone who is willing to speak and share their ideas and critiques and solutions is welcomed.

One more thing, this conference is for Chamorros, but that doesn't mean that non-Chamorros cannot attend. Non-Chamorros who are doing work on Guam can submit papers and participate. Non-Chamorros who are interested in the future of Guam can come and listen and share as well.

But, as one of the main organizers I cannot stress this enough, this is not a Guam conference, this is a Chamorro conference. So there should be no delusions about multicultural unity and beauty, that we are all just different beautiful ethnic groups on Guam working to fix its problems. That is not the case at all, and such mentality re-colonizes the island, this time without a sneer, but with a Care Bear's style smile. This is a conference will hopefully make it clear to all that part of Guam's problems have been the way that Chamorros have eagerly participated in the erasing of themselves and the hocking of their rights to Guam in exchange for some cheap Americaness, which gets you a flag to wave, but not even a pretend vote for president. An ethics between ethnic groups on Guam, can only happen when people recognize this fact and do not just deny it, through platitudes about how we are all down, we're brown, or worse yet, we are all down because we are all red, white and blue. Only when Chamorros are respected as the indigenous group on Guam, and not demonized as troublemakers or maladjusted creatures when they attempt to assert that point, will Guam ever be in a place where problems at the level of government, economy and education can be fixed. Because like all problems on Guam, this one, and everything else, has so much more to do with the United States and the way its imagined in Guam than anyone seems willing to admit.

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