Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sinangan Chamoru ni' Inspirational

Several years ago I made for the Guam Communications Network and their publication The Galaide, a Chamorro Activist Quiz. In it, I provided a number of infamous Chamorro sayings throughout the past few centuries, with the list of the speakers randomly assigned along the left side of the page. The object of course, to read the quotes and then match them to their author.

Naturally the task was incredibly difficult for most people, especially since The Galaide is primarily for the Chamorro community in the United States. Yanggen sumasaga hao giya Guahan, siempre un hungok put este na taotao, achokka' ti un tungo' put i sinangan. Lao yanggen taotao Amerika hao, siempre taya' tiningo'-mu put este siha. Although most people were impressed with it, and learned something from it, former Congressman Robert Underwood was the only person I know of who was actually able to complete it.

Its funny, There were 18 quotes and 18 Chamorros, and I had two scales on which you could calculate i tiningo'-mu yan i minalate'-mu. The rankings went as follows,

Guam Chamorro Activist Scale
18: Was in Robert Underwood's Guam History Class
17-15: Testified before the UN
14-10: Testified before the US Congress
9-7: Protested something
6-2: Wrote a letter to the PDN editor
1-0: Talked bad about your cousin cause she didn't help with the matai

California Chamorro Po'asu Scale
18: Children Speak Chamorro
17-15: Donne' in the backyard
14-10: Nobenas in the backyard
9-7: Has wooden spoons and forks on the walls
6-2: Says "Guamanians"
1-0: Says "Chamorrans"

Yanggen dinanche i hinasso-ku, 15 i score-na Si Underwood. Pues an un atan i lista, magahet gui'! Sa' hunggan tumestigu Si Underwood gi me'nan i Kengresun I United States.

Since the last couple posts have been accused of being Chamorro free (or at least Chamorro free in any intelligable way), I thought that this might be a good transition post. Beneath you'll find a wide array of quotes some of which I used for the Activist Quiz I mentioned above. They display a wide array of Chamorro critiques of colonization, whether it be Spanish or American, and my point in collecting and publicizing them is to show how "activism" is not a recent thing in Chamorro life. Perhaps in some forms we only see it in the past few decades, but the spirit or commitment behind all activism can be found in Chamorro culture and life for centuries.

My reason for taking this stand is in response to varying discourses which create Chamorros as incapable of political action, and the act of doing so stripping them of their Chamorroness and forcing them into the universe of Americaness. The most chilling example of this can be found in the way Angel Santos' legacy has been rewritten following his death. The way his actions in life were thought to be primitively Chamorro, radically foreign to American greatness and harmony, and in fact something which stained and ruined American multiculturalism by emphasizing "indigenous rights," were reformulated into courageous American actions. How the source of the greatness of Santos was suddenly not his Chamorro fidelity, but his American core, his American commitments to activism and social justice. According to one caller I heard on the radio in Guam in 2003, the argument for this reversal was based on that fact that Chamorro culture is non-confrontational, and therefore there is no activism. What Angel Santos did therefore as a courageous activist is because he was a courageous American!


Anyways, here's the quotes:

Jesus Sablan Leon Guerrero
“Whatever our political status may be, we should insist that the U.S. consider the value to the U.S. of the military bases and the hazards inflicted upon us in the past and into the future.”

Michael Phillips
“We are condemned as extremists. Christ was an extremist, a were Martin L. King and Gandhi. Creative extremists are needed to make a change here.”

Elizabeth Perez Arriola
“Our beautiful island culture, language and traditions have to be nurtured and experienced daily and shared among ourselves and others.”

Pale’ Jesus Baza Duenas
“San Jose Patron-mami, Goggue I famagu’on-mu, Atan ya un chachalani, I uma’agang I na’an-mu”

Antonio Yura
"Pa’go nai ta nafunhayen sa’ manmacha’gua I Gilagu…Dalak yu’ ya ta fanmatuna gui’ tai hinekhok sa’ ta na’malulok I tano’-ta."

Vicente Cruz Blaz
"Why are we equal in war, but not in peace?"

Lola Sablan Santos
"The passion I have is to affect change. Our voices have not been heard and our concerns have not been addressed. We have been an underserved and an ignored community. Its up to us to educate and to advocate for the Chamorro people."

Carlos Pangelinan Taitano
"Galaide’ Galaide’ Tunas Mo’na gi hilo’ tasi. Galaide’, Galaide’, Fa’nu’I Hami I guinahan tasi."

"They dare to take away our liberty, which should be dearer to us than life itself. They try to persuade us that we will be happier, and some of us had been blinded into believing their words. But can we have such sentiments if we reflect that we have been covered with misery and illness ever since those foreigners have come to disturb our peace?"

Ricardo J. Bordallo
“Guam is not just a piece of real estate to be exploited for its money-making potential. Above all else, Guam is the homeland of the Chamorro people. That is a fundamental, undeniable truth. We are profoundly taotao tano’, people of the land. This land belongs to us, just as surely as we belong to it.”

Concepcion Barrett
“How can one man be the supreme executive, legislative and judicial power? What kind of government is that?"

Laura Torres Souder
“Guam’s story in the 20th century is inextricably linked with the American experiment of colonial empire-building overseas, which began with Hawaii in 1893. To understand the present struggles and circumstance of Guam…we need to take a critical look at this colonial legacy.”

Adrian Cruz Sanchez
Prior to the Japanese invasion, the US Navy evacuated all of the Naval Dependents on the island with a few exceptions. Those exceptions happened to be my wife, daughter, my uncle’s wife…It has haunted me through the years. Time and time again, I keep asking myself why my family was left on Guam?"

Francisco G. Lujan
“The [Naval] Government had 100 percent conviction…In those days you were guilty until proven innocent."

Francisco Baza Leon Guerrero
"The only "ism" on Guam, is Americanism."

Angel Leon Guerrero Santos
“Patience, faith and prayer are our only weapon in reversing the injustice and restoring hope for our people.”

Frank B. Rabon
"Susteni i Kotturan Chamoru siha para i manma'pos, pa'go yan i mamamaila.

Dr. Robert Underwood
"On Liberation Day, when the Chamorros wave the flag and thank the Marines, they are in reality celebrating themselves and their own experiences."

Pale’ Jose Torres Palomo
“This fatal epidemic perhaps might have been avoided had a strict quarantine been enforced [by the Spanish] on a sailing vessel coming from Manilla…(but instead) they were allowed to land and from them the smallpox spread until almost every inhabitant on the island had it.”

Cecelia Taitano Perez
“It is not in words that we have been taught, but in the silent teachings of our manaina. What we have learned is to open ourselves to the collective memory of our People who came before us and help us to move ahead – I Taotaomo’na. They show us how to remain in spiritual love and connectedness with each other in our homelands."

Antonio Manibusan Palomo
“I was never satisfied with what we were and what we still are. I don’t believe that there should be different levels of American – first class, second class, even third class.”

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