Showing posts from December, 2013

American Health Care

Pumara yu' manainaitai put i inadiskuti put "Health Care" giya i Estados Unidos. Para Guahu esta gof na'o'sun, sa' hunggan guaha dos na banda gi este na inadiskuti lao ti chumilong i dos banda. Unu na banda ha kuentusisiyi i meggaina na taotao gi i nasion, i otro banda ha kuentusisiyi un dikike' na patte yan didide' na pinat manakhilo' na taotao.

Lao giya Guahan, sa' achokka' chechetton iya Guahan gi i Estados Unidos, ti mismo un kabales na patte i isla-ta, este na inadiskuti taibali. I fina'tinas i Federalas ha afefekta hit, ha hohokse' hit maskeseha ti ta aprepreba hafa ma fa'titinas. Taigue i magahet na bos-ta gi i diniskuti yan gi i fina'lai.

Lao ya-hu este na video ginnen John Green. Malate' gui'. Ti ha na'lebok i kuentos, ha kena'klaru. Ya i atmas-na inestudia yan ti puniyon na fakto.

Magellan's Entrails

Senator Tommy Morrison recently introduced Bill 238, which would reinstate Discovery Day as a local Government of Guam holiday. For those who aren’t familiar with the Discovery Day festivities, its highlight is a reenactment of the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in order to commemorate the “discovery” of Guam in 1521. If you have not been to a Discovery Day before I suggest you go just to witness the surreal nature of this reenactment where Chamorro huts are burnt and Chamorros are killed by a guy in Spanish armor who usually arrives in Umatac Bay via a motorboat.
Morison’s bill does not state that we should reinstate the holiday as a celebration of Magellan, but more so as a venue for the celebration of Chamorro culture, heritage and history. As the community discusses this possibility and await a public hearing on the bill, I thought it might be good to recall the history of Magellan’s short, but memorable visit to Guam.
Magellan’s mission was to circumnavigate the globe, to take t…

Mina'kuatro na Lisayu: Matai Si Ukudu gi Kamyo

Mina'kuatro na Lisayu 12/18/13
My grandfather has a memory that would put elephants to shame. I imagine that he must have spent his youth eating elephant brains in order to develop his uncanny ability to remember what seems like every negative thing that has happened in his life. Good things fade and fizzle in his mind, they drip down his frame and never sink in, but a mistake, a slight, an insult, a lie, when someone has wronged him, those things become etched in his mind.
My grandfather can recall people who didn’t pay their fares when he drove a cab for a short period after World War II. He can remember people who cheated playing volleyball before the war. His memory is filled with family scandals over land, gifts that were never reciprocated and loans that were never paid back. Part of the reason grandpa has this personality is because he was the oldest of his siblings and has felt like he has given so much to his family over the years and not given his due respect. In a cu…

Mina'tres na Lisayu: The Ga'kariso

Mina'tres na Lisayu for Elizabeth Flores Lujan 12/17/13
My grandmother would cut out anything in the newspapers related to Chamorro language. She gave me several reasons over the years for why she did this (other than her being a hoarder/collector), but once she said to me, that she was worried that the language would disappear from this island just as the songs of our birds had. This statement struck me because I had grown up in an island where the only birds I’d seem to hear were planes and helicopters flying overhead. For most my age the lack of birds is a piece of Guam trivia, a metaphor to use to talk about how fragile the state of the Chamorro people, or how we should be vigilante about what comes into our community, or a footnote to discussing the brown tree snake issue.
For my grandmother and her generation the native birds of Guam were half of the soundtrack of life. If you imagine the singing that Chamorros did being the social opera, the birds were the orchestra, th…

Waiting to Die

We Are Going to Wait for These People to Die"
by Giff Johnson
Pacific Politics

With the exception of two public hearings in the U.S. Congress eight years ago, a petition from the Marshall Islands seeking additional compensation for nuclear weapons testing damages has languished for 13 years. The lack of a formal response from the U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration prompted a Congressman from New York State, Gary Ackerman, to comment angrily during a 2010 public hearing: The Marshall Islands ‘claim we owe (them) US$2 billion and so what? We’re going to just wait for these people to die, right? We’ve given cancer to them, taken away their property…They’ve put a value on it, and it seems to me that if we know that this is about dignity, then there has to be something besides ‘good luck fellows’ with whatever few years you might have left…You can’t unscrew them is the point. But we…

Mina'dos na Lisayu: The Luckiest Guy

Mina'dos na Lisayu 

My grandmother’s aunties were notorious in their day as “The De Leon Sisters” They were famous as teachers, nurses, opera singers and one of them even dated the boxer Jack Dempsey while he was on island. Grandma and her two sisters Ruth and Tonette became the next generation “De Leon Sisters.” Their mother would dress them in matching outfits and have them stroll around Hagatna. People would see them and remark that they were like ducks walking to the pond. 

The De Leon girls were known for being beautiful, but my grandmother, at least to me, always insisted that she was unattractive and ugly. She was a shy girl and was only asked to dance once at her school social events, although she was so nervous she was worried she would soak the hands of the boy she was dancing with. She said that people always talked about her sisters Ruth and Tonette as being beautiful, but didn’t feel like anyone saw her as beautiful.

I’ve spent years interviewing Cham…

Lisayun Grandma #1: My Grandmother's Mother

This week I will be writing daily lisayus in honor of my grandmother. She was not Catholic and neither am I, so these are meant to be expressions of my love for her and gratitude that I got to know her and learn from her. 


Fine'nina na Lisayu for Elizabeth De Leon Flores Lujan
December 15, 2013

You cannot understand who my grandmother was without knowing her mother. So many of the stories that I was told by my grandmother came from this woman, my great-grandmother Rita Pangelinan De Leon who married Guillermo Sablan Flores. My grandmother’s eyes would sparkle when she would share the stories of her mother’s life. For years she would narrate the story of her mother like it was a daily soap opera. The stories usually began with my great-great-great grandfather who was in charge of the kitchen in the Spanish Governor’s palace. 

After those in the palace had been fed leftovers would be scraped from huge metal pots onto plates, wrapped and placed into baskets and…

Manmesngon hit na Taotao

--> Anai manmakolonisa hit gi fine’nina biahi, meggai giya Hita manohge para u fanmumu, ya maseha manmapede’ hit gi gera, gi minagahet sigi ha’ hit manresiste lao gi otro manera. 
I anten i Maga’haga-ta lala’la’ ha’ gi hagan haga’, I haga’ Famalao’an. Ya maseha meggai na famalao’an Chamorro manasagua yan otro rasa, ma na’siguru na ma kontinuha mafa’na’gue i famagu’on ni’ i fino’-ta yan hayi siha. (komo Chamorro)
I ine’son-ta nu i Espanot annok gi che’cho’ Juan Malo, gos petbetso kontra i Espanot. Sesso di ha usa i inutguyosu kontra siha. Sesso di ha fa’chada’ I Espanot yan ha fa’baba nu i salape’-niha. 
Gi duranten i 19th century, dos Chamorro, Si Jose Salas yan Si Luis Baza, mausa diferentes na manera para u ha tachuyi i direcho i taotao-ta. Si Baza matungo’ put anai ha konne’ i Gubietno Espanot para kotte put todu i malabida-na kontra i taotao-ta. Gi 1884 Si Jose Salas, un Chamorro gi i militat Espanot, mamuno’ Gubietno Espanot put i estao i taotao-ta. 
Anai manmatto i Amerik…

I Kannai ni' Pumoksai

Este i kannai i dos ni' pumoksai yu.

Para i manmofo'na na Chamorro siha, i kannai un gof impottante na simbolu put i guinaiya i saina-mu, ko'lo'lo'na i famalao'an na manaina-mu. Anggen matai un sen presisu yan ti tulaikayon na palao'an put hemplo Si Nana'-mu pat i Nanan Biha-mu, siempre para un chule' i te'lang i kannai-na. Para todu i manmatai un chule' i ha'i'guas, sa' ayu i ankla, ayu muna'chechetton i anten-niha para i tano' i familai. Lao para un sen mangge' na palao'an ni' gumu'ot yan fuma'maolek i meggai na patte gi i familia, i mas takhilo' na simbulo i tel'ang kannai.

Pacific Islanders

Pacific Islanders: A Misclassified People By Kawika Riley June 3, 2013 The Chronicle of Higher Education
Imagine that you're a parent, teacher, or counselor who helped a promising student apply for financial aid. She's an underrepresented minority, so you encouraged her to apply to several scholarships for minority students. A few weeks later, she receives a wave of responses from them, all saying the same thing: She's not eligible to apply. Why? Because the colleges have misclassified her; even though she's an underrepresented minority student, they've decided to treat her as if she's not.

Now imagine that instead of one student's being misclassified, this is happening to every student who belongs to one of the fastest-growing minority groups in America. Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders don't need to imagine any of this. This is their reality.

For more than 20 years, U.S. Census data have shown that Pacific Islanders are far l…

Guinaiya yan Chinatli'e'

--> --> It is an old story. There are many different versions in many different cultures. One version goes like this:
There is a family, mother, father and son. The mother is loving and caring while the father is angry and abusive. As the son grows older he comes to hate the dynamic in his family where his father is overbearing and monstrous and demeans and treats his mother (as well as the boy himself) terribly. He grows closer to his mother, loving her dearly and wishing that she could be spared this miserable life. He grows to hate his father. As soon as he is of age he moves out, unable to stand his father’s abuse any longer. From then on he tries to have as little contact with his home as possible. He still keeps in touch with his mother and wishes desperately she would leave her husband. In secret he hopes that his father’s anger will get the better of him and the world will be a better, more peaceful place if he would just pass away.
Eventually the moth…

Zizek on Mandela

Published on Monday, December 9, 2013 by The Guardian If Nelson Mandela Really Had Won, He Wouldn't Be Seen as a Universal Hero Mandela must have died a bitter man. To honor his legacy, we should focus on the unfulfilled promises his leadership gave rise to by Slavoj Žižek

‘It is all too simple to criticize Mandela for abandoning the socialist perspective after the end of apartheid: did he really have a choice? Was the move towards socialism a real option?’ (Photograph: Media24/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

In the last two decades of his life, Nelson Mandela was celebrated as a model of how to liberate a country from the colonial yoke without succumbing to the temptation of dictatorial power and anti-capitalist posturing. In short, Mandela was not Robert Mugabe, and South Africa remained a multiparty democracy with a free press and a vibrant economy well-integrated into the global market and immune to hasty socialist experiments. Now, with his death, his stature a…

Iya Belen

Tonight the Chamorro Studies Program through the wonderful work of the Chamorro language instructors at UOG held Puengen Minagof Nochebuena, a night for celebrating Chamorro language and culture in the context of Christmas. The event was a great success, with over 250 community members showing up to see the bilens made by Chamorro classes, to sing along to Chamorro Christmas songs and to taste a dozen different kinds of bonelos.

Chamorro language is the most popular language course at the University of Guam. Far more students take it than take Japanese a language that everyone feels has more economic value. But even though it is the most popular language and so many students and community members expect that UOG be a place where the language can be learned and preserved, there is currently no tenured full time faculty who teaches Chamorro. The same goes for the new Chamorro Studies program, which is already doing great work both on campus and off, but has no faculty actually d…

Puengen Minagof 2013

CHamoru Language Classes Host Puengen Minagof 2013 A Christmas Celebration of CHamoru Language and Culture
On December 6 from 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm, the University of Guam CHamoru language students will be hosting Puengen Minagof Nochebuena, in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Building. Puengen Minagof is an annual celebration of CHamoru language and culture organized by CHamoru language instructors at the University of Guam. CHamoru language students in classes ranging from beginner to advanced will performing in CHamoru Christmas themed activities.
Students will perform a nativity play, recite slam poetry and will sing a variety of CHamoru Christmas carols. Refreshments will be available, most importantly boñelos. This Puengen Minagof will feature many types of boñelos that people may be familiar with, and many new flavors one might not expect.
The making of a bilen, or a nativity scene is an important part of CHamoru culture during this time of year. Groups of students will …

Three Massacres

Chamorro Studies has only existed as a program for a short while, but its existence is questioned all the time. During the Chamorro Experience gi Fino' Chamorro lecture series one elderly Chamorro man asked me flat out, why people should learn to speak Chamorro when the language is clearly on its way out? During the Chamorro Studies launch event, a middle aged Chamorro women asked why a degree in Chamorro Studies should exist when it cannot help you in life. this despite the fact that she had just sat through a panel presentation explaining how it can help you through life. It is interesting because very few students have made these sorts of comments, in fact despite the short existence of the Chamorro Studies program it already has more than 20 majors and minors. On the launch event we held in October of this year, we signed up 7 majors and 7 minors in a single day.

But for the older generation it is difficult for them to get by the barriers of the past. Those barriers were crea…

The First Thanksgiving

What Really Happened at the First Thanksgiving? The Wampanoag Side of the Tale Gale Courey Toensing 11/23/12
When you hear about the Pilgrims and “the Indians” harmoniously sharing the “first Thanksgiving” meal in 1621, the Indians referred to so generically are the ancestors of the contemporary members of the Wampanoag Nation. As the story commonly goes, the Pilgrims who sailed from England on the Mayflower and landed at what became Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620 had a good harvest the next year. So Plymouth Gov. William Bradford organized a feast to celebrate the harvest and invited a group of “Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit” to the party. The feast lasted three days and, according to chronicler Edward Winslow, Bradford sent four men on a “fowling mission” to prepare for the feast and the Wampanoag guests brought five deer to the party. And ever since then, the story goes, Americans have celebrated Thanksgiving on the fourth Thur…