Showing posts from May, 2013

Decolonizing Dependencies

My first experience with the UN wasn't very useful or inspiring. Chamorros and representatives of Guam have been going to the United Nations to testify before the 4th Committee for more than 30 years. I became one of them in 2007.

Prior to testifying I already knew quite a bit about the UN process and so I wasn't expecting that my testimony would make much of a difference. Those who come from colonies or non-self-governing territories like Guam don't get representation at the UN, but they do get a few chances to let their concerns be heard. The 4th Committee is the most auspicious of such occasions. You get to testify in a large room in front of delegates from the entire world.

But the potential for the moment means little in terms of its actual effect. The day I testified it was like moving through an assembly line. Names were called. Testimonies given. Thanks given for the testimony. Move on, next name. It went on like that for hours. There were no questions asked while …

Giya Ecuador

Esta gof apmam este na hinanao-hu, lao ti mismo munhayan. Matto di lamita ha'!

Esta munhayan i fine'nina na patte. Lumiliko' yu' giya California ya hu bisita diferentes na inetnon Chamorro guihi. Na'yafai este sa' sumugon yu' gi kareta para 1000 na miles gi tres dihas ha'.

Pa'go mafatto yu' giya Ecuador. Para bei hu fama'nu'i guini gi i UN Regional Seminar. Para bai hu fa'nu'i i kumiti put i estao pa'go giya Guahan, ya bai hu apatte siha ni' inaligao-ku put i "decolonial deadlock."

Estague i inatan ginnen i kuato-ku gi i hotet.

Chamorro Community Building

This week I am in California meeting with Chamorro organizations in Long Beach and San Diego. When I was in graduate school in San Diego, I worked very closely with several of these organizations. It has been nostalgic coming back and catching up with people and learning about what new projects they are working on and what are new ways that diasporic Chamorros are creating community. All of this reminded me of a question that a friend of mine asked me several years ago about what community building is like from a Chamorro perspective. Below is part of my answer tomorrow.
It is important to think of community development not from any neutral or abstract stance, but rather take seriously the context that one intends to develop within, and by context I a huge number of things that must be considered both in the past and present. In conceiving this context, and forming it in a productive way, one must be prepared to bring into the analysis data, concepts and pers…

GMIF gi Fino' Chamoru

Gaige ha' i kettura yan i inafa'maolek gi iya GMIF
Pedro Onedera
Guam PDN

Desdeki i ma babaña astaki i finakpo'ña i Mina'bente sais na Ferian Islan Maikrunisian Guåhan, sigi ha' hålom i finatton i taotao siha.

Guaha inapurao, minannge' prugråma, kulot yan inafa'maolek gi i tres ha'åni na feria ni', sigun gi ma muebi para mes Måyu, bula minagof put i atte, fina'tinas cho'cho' kånnai, tradisiunåt, tinalenti yan finatta ni' prinisenta nu i taotao tåno' ginen Republic of the Marshalls, Republic of Palau, Yap, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Kosrae ginen iya Federated States of Micronesia, yan ta'lo ginen iya

Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas yan islan Nauru. Desde franela, åtten botto, linasguen håyu, todu klåsen inatan åtte taiguihi litråtu siha, tiniffok, finattan agrikottura na tinanom, yan i petlas siha ginen islan Nukuoro, un islan Pålinesia gi iya estådon Pohnpei, bula siha na kosas para todu i taotao, manhoben yan …

Typhoon of Tinane'

The past few weeks have been crazy. You may or may not have noticed this on the lack of posting. The sparse amount of posts in no way means that I haven’t been doing anything. The truth is the opposite, I have been doing way to much lately. Sen tinane’ yu’, ya esta liso yu’ para bei lalango.
I am working on two Administration for Native American Grants. One to standardize Chamorro curriculum at the college level. The other to create a publishing house at the University of Guam that will publish Chamorro children’s books. I’m not writing them alone, but for those familiar with ANA grants, there always seems to be an endless amount of workplans, appendixes and so on to tweak and fine tune.
Another grant that I need to finish by next month is for the Guam Preservation Trust, and is requesting support to hold a mini-conference in the fall on language and culture shifts amongst Chamorros today. I am working with Faye Untalan, who teaches Chamorro at UOG on this project.
I also had to f…


NMI Descent Corp. opposes military use of Pagan

By Haidee V. Eugenio
The Saipan Tribune 5/16/13 A non-profit corporation representing at least 7,000 registered people of Northern Marianas descent has added its voice to the growing opposition to the U.S. military's planned use of Pagan for live-fire training.

The Northern Marianas Descent Corp., led by its president Ana S. Teregeyo, adopted a strongly worded resolution opposing the use of Pagan for military activities.

The 10-page resolution was submitted as the NMD Corp.'s formal comments to the CNMI Joint Training Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas EIS.

“[The] officers and members of Northern Marianas Descent Corp., for and on behalf of the indigenous Chamorro and Carolinian people of Northern Marianas descent, unequivocally oppose and unanimously disapprove the proposed U.S. military development and tactical exercise activities on our culturally, historically, and environmentally rich,…

Where Dissertations Come From

When I left Guam in 2003 to start graduate school in the states I knew I wanted to research and write about Guam and Chamorros, but wasn't sure what angle to take exactly. My tagline for my research while in grad school was "everything Chamorro, anything Guam" and sometimes "everything Guam and anything Chamorro." Decolonization was something I was becoming more and more interested in in scholarly terms, even if it was something I had already been advocating and working on in an activist context. Would I do something more cultural? Something in your typical social movement, social science way? Would I do a historical project and come up with my bounded bundle of time and go from there? I ended up taking a more philosophical route and I'm grateful that my committee was willing to let me engage in that way.

I ended up using my "data" and my evidence in a more philosophical way, or the way that philosophical essays and articles are written. You are …

The Colonizing Frame

When I was in Okinawa last month for a symposium on Okinawan sovereignty and decolonization, there was significant interest amongst the local media in the island. I was interviewed extensively by a reporter from one newspaper. The other newspaper also provided coverage and even organized a large televised panel on the issue. A local media station filmed the symposium I spoke at and is planning to make a documentary about it. The one thing missing however was the mainland Japanese media. They didn't cover much of the sovereignty/decolonization related events. It seemed almost like a blackout, or perhaps a temporary refusal to acknowledge. I can understand why the Japanese media might want to not cover this issue.  Media operates by frames, by easy ways of understanding a story. A story is presented in such a way that all you do is provide some details and the audience can already assume everything else. This is part of the limitations of the media but also the way in w…

Taotao Haya'

Last year local businessman Adrian Cruz proposed the creation of a Chamorro newspaper. It would feature articles and columns in the Chamorro language and focus on issues affecting Chamorros. I and a few others submitted articles to support this newspaper. I was happy to learn earlier this year that Adrian had gotten enough advertising and support to print the first issue.  I wrote a story on the reunification of the Marianas, providing some background on how Guam was taken by the United States, but the other islands in the Marianas in Micronesia were not. My column appeared on the editorial page beside columns by Mario Borja who is heading the Chamorro Sakman project in San Diego and the infamous Robert Underwood, who wrote on the fluidity of Chamorro culture and the need to not only honor our ancient ancestors. Just the intellectual layout of the three columns was pretty cool to look at. Another issue is coming out soon. I'm contributing a piece in Chamorro this time on the threat…

Hurao Summer Camp

For those interested in providing your child with a memorable summer experience and teach them about Chamorro culture and immerse them in the Chamorro language, Hurao Guahan is accepting applications for their Tiempon Somnak, or Summer Camp. I will be enrolling Sumahi this session because she really needs more support for her Chamorro language learning. I speak to her all the time, but no other kids around her speak Chamorro. Very few adults she knows speak Chamorro and so she feels very isolated in the language. I'm hoping this experience will help her become more comfortable in her Chamorro.

Here is the link to the application.

Here is the link to their Facebook page.

I love the theme that Hurao brings to their language revitalization work. You can see it on their t-shirts and on their Facebook page banner. It reads, "Hasso yu'. Fana'gue yu'. Na'i yu' ni' iyo-ku."

That translates to: Remember (think or) me. Teach me. Give me what is mine.

I love …

A Day of Decolonization

On April 28, 1952 the Treaty of San Francisco ending World War II between Japan and the United States went into effect. As part of this treaty Japan would receive its sovereignty again, but the US would get to keep numerous bases in the country. Okinawa, as an island to the south of Japan, that had been forcibly annexed in 1879 was not thought of by most Japanese as being a true part of Japan. As a result it was the ideal “sacrifice” for Japan and was given to the United States in order for Japan to receive its sovereignty back. Bases that had been in mainland Japan were moved to the island, which was placed under US control until 1972. In the minds of the leaders of both Japan and the US, everyone got what they wanted. No one seemed to bother to ask the Okinawans about what they wanted.
In Japan, April 28th is thought of as an important anniversary, the day that Japan became whole again. This year the Japanese government announced that a celebration would take place to commemorate …

2nd Marianas History Conference!

2nd Marianas History Conference
One Archipelago, Many Stories:
Integrating Our Narratives

August 30-31, 2013
University of Guam Campus
Call for Papers

The University of Guam, Guam Preservation Trust, Guampedia, and the Northern Marianas Humanities Council are pleased to announce a call for papers for the 2nd Marianas History Conference. It will be held on the UOG Campus in Mangilao, Guam, from August 30-31.

The conference will cover a full range of topics associated with the Archipelago’s history, and papers may be submitted under the following general categories: Ancient History; Early Colonial (17th-18th centuries); Late Colonial (19th-early 20th centuries); World War II; Recent (post-war); and Oral History and Genealogical Research. The general categories correspond to the 1st Marianas History Conference.

In addition to papers, organizers are also accepting posters that address the conference theme and/or topics. Posters will be exhibited through the 2nd day of the con…

Adventures in Chamorro

Speaking Chamorro to young kids is alot of fun. You end up having to create alot of interesting words in order to describe things both in terms of technology and popular culture. Since I always speak Chamorro to my kids I have to find ways to talk about things in Chamorro, that most Chamorros never imagined they'd ever have to talk about. Superheroes, talking animals, cartoons, robots, and mythical creatures are just some of the things we have to talk about on a daily basis. I enjoy this creative aspect of the language. It is something that Chamorros have sadly lost over time.

I've started writing about some of these interesting things on my Facebook page. I've titled them "Adventures in Chamorro" and I wanted to share some of them below:


Adventures in Chamorro #1: Akli'e' is a big fan of Superman, but how do you say "Superman" gi fino' Chamoru? There are several possibilities but I eventually settled on "Geflah…

An Island of War

I gave several talks while in Okinawa recently. Below is the text for one of them. I was asked to address the topic of Japan's sovereignty. There were several possible ways to address this question. First and foremost, is Japan even a truly sovereign country? With so many US bases there can they ever truly be sovereign? In the case of Okinawa, is it truly sovereign Japanese territory with so many American forces there? Whose interests are truly dominant? What happens if the interests of the US and Japan diverge? Furthermore there is the question of what type of government a sovereign Japan should have? Should it continue to subordinate to the United States? Should it assert its own interests? For example if the US is pushing for war and Japan wants peace, how well can Japan assert its own sovereign interests when the US can still use its bases as it sees fit?

I decided to address the question of Japanese sovereignty with a focus on Okinawa. Is Okinawa just like any other part of …

Threatening Thoughts #7: The Truth Behind the Crisis

I have long advocated that we on Guam stopped looking at the world through the eyes of the United States. It is tragic and pointless sometimes for us to the nations and the islands that are right beside us through the gaze of the United States which literally sits on the other side of the Pacific and the world. We see other islands through our privileged relationship to the United States. We see countries around us through the enemies, allies and interests of the United States. It is hilarious to the point of tragedy that we talk endlessly about how we are "America in Asia" and so close to Asia, but actually know so little about "Asia." What we do know comes imported from the United States and we learn little for ourselves.

In the recent controversy over North Korea and its potential threat to Guam we could perceive this in crystal clear fashion. For all the discussion and concern and worry over North Korea, what did we actually know about it? How much were we actu…