Showing posts from August, 2013

Formosa Aboriginal Cultural Village Photos


Jumping the Fence

I'm up late trying to finish my talk for tomorrow at the Marianas History Conference at UOG.

The title of my talk is "Jumping the Fence" and it is an evaluation of the impact that Nasion Chamoru and its first Maga'lahi Angel Santos has had on contemporary Guam. I outline a number of changes that they helped to facilitate in terms of culture and politics.

Jumping the fence is a metaphor for decolonization and it refers to the infamous incident when Angel Santos, Ed Benavente and several others jumped the fence at former Naval Air Station, or what is today known as "Tiyan." They did this right in front of media and military police, and when they were arrested Santos spat in the face of one of his captors. It was a moment that defined Nasion Chamoru for many people in a negative sense, but can also play a big role in helping us understand just how much they changed the island with their activism.

My favorite line thus far in my presentation is as follows:


The Importance of Yokoi

Shoichi Yokoi, a straggler who hid in Guam's jungles for 27 years after World War II is a household name on Guam. His story is interesting and inspiring and made him a celebrity for many years in Japan and keeps him a celebrity up until today on Guam. While many focus on the unique and strange aspects of his tale of survival, it is actually his life after his straggling years that makes him important to Guam's history. In terms of straggling Yokoi was not unique, there were many stragglers before him in Guam, and although he was the last straggler to be discovered on Guam, others still continued to pop up for years after he was captured. As the article below notes he was resolute in his desire to not be captured, but his loyalty was not even as fierce as some of the others.

What makes him important to Guam is the role that he played in helping create the Japanese tourism industry that sustains the island today. His role wasn't intentional and wasn't dire…

Fino' Anghet

I recently had to write an article for the website Guampedia on the late Angel Santos, former Guam Senator and Maga’lahi of the Nasion Chamoru. Angel Santos was a very controversial figure during his lifetime. He was considered one of the most hated and most beloved island figures. After he died however, public opinion over his legacy warmed and even those who had publicly condemned him before came to praise some of his statements and accomplishments.
While writing my article I went through as many of the public statements and writings of Santos that I could find. He was, like any larger than life figure, incredibly complex and full of contradictions. We may want to reduce the life of a person to things that are simple and inspirational, but they are always more complicated than that. I wanted to share today a list of quotes from his life and writings to give you a better sense of Angel Santos and his own journey in life.
As a 10-year-old altar boy in Sinajana, Santos was given the…

Ben's Pen

$18M savings turned down by lieutenant governor and governor:  The elephant in the room
Senator Ben Pangelinan
Published in Marianas Variety
August 22, 2013

WHAT we have seen over the past week during budget discussions is a desperate attempt by the Republican governor and senators to cover up what is truly a travesty of epic proportions, which is the governor’s intent and selection of a non-exclusive health insurance contract for GovGuam employees and retirees that costs all taxpayers $18 million more than an exclusive contract, which the governor just last year said is the best way to go and recommended by health insurance actuarial experts.

The Guam Legislature recently passed the FY2014 budget ahead of the deadline of Aug. 31, which has apparently shaken up the governor to the point of his endorsement of an all out propaganda war to try and draw attention away from the health insurance injustice and to discredit a budget plan that increases the amount of cash set aside…

Knowing Japanese

I participated in a round table discussion earlier this week on education in Guam and its relationship to Chamorro language and culture. We were asked to share our viewpoints on different aspects of this issue, ranging from what we might feel public school education on Guam is doing right and what we feel it is doing poorly. The Chamorro language program in DOE is a very curious institutional animal in terms of analysis. Students are mandated to take Chamorro language in both elementary and middle school and can take it as an elective in high school. Compared to other indigenous groups that are trying to revive and institutionalize their languages this is very impressive and Chamorros can be considered to have a real advantage. But the Chamorro language program in Guam's public schools is impressive in the abstract but in practice it is incredibly ineffective.

I polled my students this week about their experiences in Chamorro language classes in DOE. Most focused on the fun activ…

Sending a Message

Published on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 by The Guardian/UK 'Sending a Message': What the US and UK Are Attempting To Do State-loyal journalists seem to believe in a duty to politely submit to bullying tactics from political officials by Glenn Greenwald The remains of the hard disc and Macbook that held information leaked by Edward Snowden to the Guardian and was destroyed at the behest of the UK government. (Photograph: Roger Tooth)Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger on Monday night disclosed the remarkable news that UK authorities, several weeks ago, threatened the Guardian UK with prior restraint if they did not destroy all of their materials provided by Edward Snowden, and then sent agents to the basement of the paper's offices to oversee the physical destruction of hard drives. The Guardian has more details on that episode today, and MSNBC's Chris Hayes interviewed the Guardian's editor-in-chief about it last night. As Rusbriger explains, th…

Across the Water in Time

This Thursday I'll be on a panel to discuss the new film "Across the Water in Time." It is being screened at the Hyatt at 6 pm on Wednesday and I'll be part of a panel on Thursday 2 pm at the CAHA Gallery in the Terlaje Building in Hagatna. My panel will be discussion history and how it relates to this wonderful and exciting project. The film is about the descendants of a Chamorro man named Juan Perez who left island as a whaler in the 19th century. He settled in Hawai'i and married and his name was subsequently changed to Paris. Eventually while doing genealogical research from both islands, his descendants and his relatives were reunited.

Below is a video interview of Jillette Leon Guerrero the creator of the film with KUAM News Extra. In addition I pasted some info from the website for the film.


Juan D. Perez’s story is an interesting one. He was born in Guam but is believed to have moved to Hawaii sometime between 1854 and the lat…

2nd Marianas History Conference Schedule

On August 30th I'll be presenting at the 2nd Annual Marianas History Conference at UOG. Here is the schedule thus far for those who might be interested in attending. The website to find more information is:

And here is a video of two of the organizers Dr. Anne Hattori (from UOG) and Rita Nauta from Guampedia giving an interview on KUAM News Extra:

Tentative Conference ScheduleThursday, August 29
5:30 pm Welcoming Reception: Paseo, Hagåtña Friday, August 30
8:30-9:30 am Keynote Address, Dr. Keith L. Camacho, CLASS Lecture Hall, UOG 9:30-10 am Break 10 – 11:30 am Session 1 (A and B) Session 1A: Chamorro Agency in the Spanish Marianas David Atienza: The Mariana Islands Militia and the Establishment of the “Pueblos de Indios”: Indigenous Agency in Guam from 1668 to 1758Carlos Madrid: 1800´s in the Marianas: A Nation in the MakingMariana Sanders, Francine Clement and Carla Smith: Social Realities and Legal Regulations – A Snapshot of Guam in 1886 as …

Kin Tataka'

I'm pretty sure that I am the #1 of Jack Reacher on this island.

I never heard of Jack Reacher until late last year when I took my girlfriend to watch the movie. She normally hates most of the movies that Hollywood makes and doesn't like Tom Cruise either, but found herself enjoying the movie. I am a fan of Tom Cruise and I really enjoyed the movie. I am one of the most open person in terms of movies. I even enjoy moves that are terrible or that are just messed up in terms of their politics or representations. I know that Avatar or The Lone Ranger were messed up in terms of their politics, but I still enjoyed them. Yes they reimagined and reinvigorated stupid tropes that have marginalized and twisted the ways that we imagine indigenous people for centuries. But all that said, I still enjoyed them.

It is not difficult for my to enjoy movies or see some possible redeeming dimension in them. I enjoyed Jack Reacher at lot, but I was surprised at the way I enjoyed it. Cerebral and…

Conference Against A and H Bombs Statement

Three years ago I was fortunate enough to travel to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan to represent Guam at the World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. This meeting is held annually at either of the two cities where atomic bombs fell during World War II. The meetings are attended by thousands of peace and anti-nuclear activists across Japan and across the world. Here is the statement below from this year's conference, held last week. 


Declaration of the International Meeting
        Sixty-eight years have passed since Hiroshima and Nagasaki suffered the atomic bombings.  The bombs instantly devastated the two cities and took lives of over 200,000 citizens by the end of 1945.  They created a “hell on earth,” which denied humans either to live or die as humans.  The Hibakusha, who survived the days have continued to suffer from wounds in both mind and body.  The tragedy like this should never be repeated anywhere in the world.
        Nuclear weapons are the wors…


Gaige yu' Palau gi este na simana.

Manaliligao yu' put "self-government" guini ya taimanu ha ayuda Palau nu i inadilanto-na.

Humanao yu' nigap para i "Rock Islands."

Sen gatbo este na isla siha.

Ma fa'na'an este na lugat "paradise" put i ginefpago-na.

Hu gimen i ginefpago guini kalan taya' nai mantana' yu'.

Achokka' hu sen agradedesi i tiempo-ku guini.

Ti nahong este para Guahu.

Mahalang para i nobia-hu.

Achokka' gaige yu' giya para'isu, ti ha tatahgue hao.

Ti ha songsongsong i maddok gi sanhalom-hu put i tinaigue-mu. 

Taiwan Trip Wire

When I teach modern World History, the island of Taiwan makes a couple of cameo appearances. It appears during the resolution of the Chinese Civil War. Chiang Kai-Shek (CKS) flees to Formosa vowing to keep the fight alive from his new island fortress. In the way that I teach the class CKS is not a very sympathetic character. Coming from a Western perspective he is supposed to be the one that we choose as our champion, the one “our” side made deals with as being either the better or two evils or the lesser of two evils. CKS is no saint and is hardly worth much historical sympathy in my opinion and the conduct from the initial purge of communists, to his retreat to Taiwan to the white terror all attest to this.
I don’t shy away from discussing the atrocities of the communists and Mao, but I don’t deny the historical significance and revolutionary nature of some of the communist reforms. As coming from a colony of the “west” I don’t like to take on their heroes, since this is one of th…