Showing posts from November, 2013

Chamorro Nationalism Revisited

Dipotsi sa' este i kustrumbre-ku.  In all my classes I teach at the University of Guam, whether it be English, Chamorro or History the issue of decolonization and independence for Guam always arises. Part of this is because of who I am and what I believe in. This affects how I teach and what I teach. Part of it is also how students see me and how many of them know that if you google Guam and Decolonization or Guam and a wide range of other topics you will end up with something involving me or written by me. I do not necessarily force this issue on students, but always remind them of the importance of this topic as they live on this island and in this world.
Part of the difficulty though in discussing these two topics is that while Guam is a colony and has been such for more than a century, the Chamorro experience of colonialism has changed so much since 1898, 1941, even 1968. The colonial difference between Guam and the United States is not as wide or as daunting or as disgusting …

Stranger than Fiction

Si Yu'us Ma'ase to Mar-Vic Cagurangan for her mention of my column "When the Moon Waxes" and NaNoWriMo in her column earlier this month in The Marianas Variety.
For those who want to know more about NaNoWriMo from a Chamorro perspective or ChaNoWriMo, please check out the Chamorro Studies Facebook page. 


Stranger than Fiction
Mar-Vic Cagurangan
The Marianas Variety

THE hardest part of writing is coming up with the opening sentence.
With every new piece, you are a virgin – even if you have had this job all your adult life.

You embark on the process with nothing but a blank screen and frequent but unnecessary trips to the bathroom, hoping for the first atom of an idea to emerge. Writer’s block can be crippling.

For news writers, the challenge is to write a catchy lead with an interesting angle, coupled with the difficulty of digesting a 100-page document, a one-hour interview or a two-hour forum into a 500-word (or less) articl…


In the writing world, November is a special month, although a generally crazy month.
It is known as NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. During this month all of those who have a passion for writing are encouraged to cast caution into the wind and blitz out the novel they have always dreamed of writing. It is something anyone, from any walk of life can participate in. All it takes is commitment and time management. The link for the website where you can sign up is (
For those who take on the NaNoWriMo challenge, the number 50,000 signifies both a hated overseer and a inspiring target. As this process is about getting those who want to write, to write, everyone is given a target, 50,000 words, that they are to reach by the end of the month. Over the course of November you are to type out 50,000 words of your chosen story.
Since the target is all that matters you are not encouraged to edit and rewrite as you write, but simply charge forward until you finally sc…

The Spear of the Nasion

“The Spear of the Nasion” Michael Lujan Bevacqua Marianas Variety 11/20/13
When I first began attending the University of Guam as an undergraduate, I had been off island for several years and so in a way, I was remembering and re-discovering Guam. When I had left Guam in middle school, I had never heard of Nasion Chamoru, but when I returned it was something that everyone seemed to have opinions about, mostly negative.
Byt this point, the first Maga’lahi of Nasion Chamoru, Angel Santos had already successfully transitioned from activist to politician and was running for governor under the Hita banner. The height of Nasion Chamoru’s notoriety, when they were camping in front of Adelup and blocking access to disputed properties and getting arrested had passed several years before. Despite these changes in the group, there was still plenty of hate and vitriol left in how people talked about them.
That first year I was at UOG, from parties, to the media, to classes, I heard Nasion Cha…

The Battle of Dragons and Eagles

The second installment of The Hobbit trilogy The Desolation of Smaug will be out soon. Manggof excited ham yan i famagu'on-hu. Hu konne' i dos-hu para in egga' i fine'nina na mubi gi i ma'pos na sakkan. Sen yan-mami! 

Esta kana un sakkan in nanaggan i nuebu. Gof magof Si Sumahi put este na nuebu sa' siempre u annok Si Smaug. Gi i fine'nina na mubi kalang nina'desganao i dos-hu nu i ti mismo umannok-na Si Smaug. Ilek-na Si Sumahi, ti ayugue Si Smaug ayu i anineng-na ha'!" pat "Ti ayugue Si Smaug, ayu i atadok-na!"

Para Si Akli'e' mas magof gui' sa' u taigue Si Gollum gi i nuebu na Hobbit na mobi. Sen ti ya-na Si Akli'e' Si Gollum. Kada ha hungok gui', kada ha li'e' gui', nina'fugu ya guaha nai malagu gui' lokkue'. Anai in egga' i fine'nina na mubi gi i fanegga'an, gigon ha ripara Si Gollum malagu para un otro luchan ta'chong yan umattok. Anai hu kombida gui' tatte, i…

Final Lecture

Maga'lahi Ed Benavente is our last speaker for the Chamorro Experience gi Fino' Chamorro series!

I am excited and honored to have him be our final presenter. I've been posting pictures of Nasion Chamoru and their actions all week on Facebook to help prepare people. Although Nasion Chamoru were reviled by many on Guam for years, their group nonetheless had a profound impact on Guam. I wrote extended essays on the impact of both Angel Santos and Nasion Chamoru for the website Guampedia this year.

His talk will be tonight at 5:30 at the CLASS Lecture Hall.

NaNoWriMo Halfway Point

I haven't been posting as much on my blog this month because so much of my writing energy has been going into NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. I reached the halfpoint point of my novel of 50,000 words two days ago and so I feel glad to have made it that far, but bad that I haven't been giving much word love to my blog.

This month, I am pushing a variation of NaNoWriMo called ChaNoWriMo, or Chamorro Novel Writing Month, I'll be writing more about it later, although I did mention it in my Marianas Variety column a few weeks back. For those who want to know more about NaNoWriMo or want to participate check out and sign up. Come and join the rest of us writers in Elsewhere: Micronesia if you are looking for a small but dedicated community to write with.

As part of NaNoWriMo, each region gets a municipal liaison. It is her job to give people info, keep them motivated and organize write-ins. Below is a message about reaching the halfway point from Micr…

The Queen of Chamorro Music

This past Thursday, the Chamorro Studies Program was proud to feature a lecture by the Queen of Chamorro Music, Flora Baza Quan. She provided the second lecture for the Chamorro Experience gi Fino' Chamorro series. She spoke on topics ranging from her mentors, the stories behind some of her famous songs, what it takes to be a musician on Guam and how Chamorros need to take a stand and start to truly value their own cultural and creative artists in order to sustain them.

It was such an incredible honor to have someone like her who has done so much for the Chamorro community to come and share her experience gi Fino' Chamorro. 

Below is a short bio about her and her accomplishments. Photos and excerpts from her talk will be shared on the Chamorro Studies Facebook page. Head there to see them.


Flora Baza Quan is a renowned Chamorro singer and songwriter who has been performing and recording for more than thirty years. Known affectionately as the “Queen of Ch…

Protest Cycles

Social movements, protest movements, radical change movements always work in cycles. They can be difficult to sustain, especially when they operate primarily at an organic, grassroots level. There will be periods of great activity and then periods where nothing much seems to happen. Depending on how you see things, it can sometimes appear as if too much protesting is going on, because you don't perceive the gaps, or it can appear as if not enough is happening and something, some opportunity is being lost in the process. You can list the factors involved in order to better understand how this works, but part of it will always elude you. As they say in Chamorro, "Si Yu'us, Yu'us. I taotao, taotao ha'."

Each in their own way is a mystery. Si Yu'us and his/her mysterious ways, structurally incomprehensible to everyone. The impossibility of it is meant to be a test of faith, the ultimate pledge of loyalty without any guarantee that anything you do really mat…

MITT Public Hearing

Tomorrow, the Department of Defense will be holding a public hearing in the LG Multipurpose Room in the SBPA Building at UOG, from 5 - 8 pm. The hearing is about the MITT or Marianas Islands Training and Testing Area, which is the largest training area the United States military has in the world. If you would like to make your voice heard please come out and testify or at least collect some information.  *************************** Mariana Islands Training and Testing Area From Draft EIS/OEIS Executive Summary “The purpose of the Proposed Action is to conduct training and testing activities to ensure that the Navy meets its mission, which is to maintain, train, and equip combat-ready naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression, and maintaining freedom of the seas. This mission is achieved in part by conducting training and testing within the Study Area.” The No Action Alternative is required by regulations of the CEQ as a baseline against which the impacts of the Proposed A…

LAX Shooting

Published on Friday, November 8, 2013 by TruthDig.comThe LAX Shooting, Domestic Terrorism, and the NRA by Sonali Kolhatkar

Gun violence in the U.S. has claimed more than a million lives over the past 50 years, and the problem is only getting worse. (Image: time a horrific shooting takes place, the nation pauses, politicians pay lip service and the country’s biggest gun lobby—the National Rifle Association—remains silent. After a suitable period has passed and public rage has receded, the NRA makes cynical pronouncements about activists abusing the memory of victims of the violence by calling for gun control. Americans, replete with lethal weaponry, move on without making any connections between the the cold metal in their holsters and the dead.

We tend to see gun violence not as a pattern that needs a strong and immediate response, but as a series of disconnected incidents that simply cannot be helped. But perhaps it is a matter of perspective.


Mensahi Ginnen i Gehilo' #8: Dos na Haligi

It is unfortunate that the formal movement for decolonization has stalled in recent years. At the formal level there is little to do and little to work towards. Informally the work continues. Independence for Guam is a notion that has been around for centuries, but it has taken different forms and been articulated in different ways. It is at some points been something direct and strong, at other times more a feeling of autonomy than political sovereignty. Independence in the modern era is a political status option for Guam that brings out alot of passion amongst people, but also fears. It is something which people speak about but often times through a bitterness that makes it seem unattractive or that supporting independence would mean living in the past.

Here is my take on independence for Guam. The movement here is small, but passionate.

The way I see it, the movement should be built around two basic principles.

#1 Chamorros were once an independent people, who sustained themselves…