Planning for the upcoming gathering Guma'Famoksaiyan: Gathering Strength for the Journey Ahead, to take place May 24-25 in San Diego, California, is going well. Email me or head to Guma'Famoksaiyan if you'd like to know more about Famoksaiyan, or attend the gathering. We are hoping for more new faces this year, and are also hoping to focus on building our infrastructure as an organization.
I also have a few presentations coming up in Riverside and Davis. I'll be speaking in my friend Setsu Shigematu's class on Tuesday about Chamorro soldiers, decolonization and the film Utu. The week after I'll be presenting at UC Davis, at the conference Discursive Practices: The Formation of a Transnational Indigenous Poetics.
Other than this, however the most important news is Barack Obama's goffffff na didide' na victory over Hillary Clinton in the Guam Caucus/Primary over the weekend. It was a literal nail bitter, as people waited until early the next morning, to learn that Obama won by only seven votes.
Pine'lo-ku na siempre mangganna' Si Hillary. Lao magof hu gi este na biahi, na lachi yu'.
The Chamorro and Guam networks on the internet has been busy over this issue for a number reasons. Most notably is the fact that Guam is getting plenty of "attention" because of its participation in the Presidential primary and nominating process. Far more attention than its used to most from Guam are saying, and for many in the news media, far more than it deserves.
Amid all this excitement that Guam is being "represented" and that it for once is counting as "part of America" and not just a rock where America sends its Marines or its nuclear missiles and subs, there is a bit is disgust, anger, and resentment. Representations of Guam in the American media, have been, in my opinion, as someone who collects all mentions of Guam I can get my hands on, can be rated on a scale from blatantly incorrect, to terrible, to tolerable.
Most horrible and inaccurate is of course this CNN newstory:
Naturally, people from Guam are upset, over the representations of their island and themselves as "backward" or "primitive" and amazed and excited as the sight of a plane flying overhead. Personally, I think that this sort of outrage is dangerous, because the issue is never how accurate the representation is, but rather, how less American does this representation make us? Since, modern technology, television, stores, and identities are what help us feel more American than we are politically, when media takes these things out of Guam when they represent us, it is not that we become enraged simply because they portray us as being non-modern, pre-modern or just plain backwards. It is that they make us feel, non-American, othered, they push us even further away from the United States, then we already are. They seem to push us back in time, back in history, and all of the effort that we on Guam put into feeling so American, and organizing our lives to be as American as we can, seems to go unrecognized, and wasted.
This stuff, as we all know, happens all the time. In this instance however, I'm calling attention to it, not because, as many from Guam have surmised, that the images of Guam shown are outdated or from a long time ago, but because they are actually not of Guam. It was clear as soon as I saw the images, that they were from another island in Micronesia. The fact that it wasn't Guam and was in reality another Micronesian island, makes the whole issue alot more complex, since it brings up issues of Guam racism and feelings of superiority in relation to the supposed "backwardness" and distance from modernity of other islands and islanders in Micronesia.
But enough of that, I could complain about this for pages and pages, but esta chumatangmak guini, ya maolekna na bei maigo'.
Before I go though, just wanted to share a photo of my precious hagga-hu Sumahi. I'm back in the states now, and she's still on Guam. Atan i gof dongkalu na ulu-na. Este na fina'mata'-na, hu fa'na'an "Mata' Manga" sa' kulang petsona gi manga i mata'-na.