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Showing posts from February, 2014

How Guam Was Created

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I am presenting next week on the Chamorro creation story, where Puntan and Fu'una create Guam and Chamorros. There are so many different versions of it, most of which follow the same trajectory but focus and leave out certain elements. San Vitores recorded a version of the story. So did other priests. Freciynet did as well. Today there are different theories as to what it means and what the Chamorro relationship to these great spirits was. In some versions Puntan and Fu'una are depicted as equal, while in others they are not and Puntan is firmly in charge with Fu'una his loyal sidekick. For my presentation I will be discussing the way this story was used in the creation of a mural in the village of Humatak and how it can be essential in the project of decolonization. I need to get back to work on it, but I thought I would share real quick one version of the story, written in Chamorro and published by the Department of Education. It is titled "Hafa Taimanu na Mafa'…

Kao Gaige Hamyo?

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It is almost time for Chamorro Month. I'm getting in the mood for it by stretching myself too thin with a sakman-load of projects and presentations. I've also spent the day listening to Chamorro music. Not the usual cha cha style, which has its own merits, but the more conscious Chamorro music. There are so many songs out there that for me have a far greater and deeper message than most Chamorros allows themselves to think about. Those are the songs that fill my soul and keep me going. Johnny Sablan has so many of them. The group Chamorro had half an album filled with them. J.D. Crutch has a couple. K.C. Leon Guerrero one or two. One group which isn't as well known as a group, but is comprised of many famous local musicians is Native Sun, which released the CD "New Horizons." Although most of the songs on the CD are in English it has a definite island feel to it. 
The song that stuck out the most for me was "Ko Gaige Hamyo?" or "Are you there?&quo…

Mata'pang gui'

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Sesso nina'triste yu' ni i estorian Maga'lahi Mata'pang. Matatnga na gerreru gui'. Ha kontra i Espanot ko'lo'lo'na i mamale' anai ti meggai na Chamorro kumokontra. Guihi na tiempo meggai mano'sun nu i inentalo', lao i meggaina manma'a'nao nu i atmas i sindalun Espanot. Tumachu Si Hurao kontra siha gi 1671, lao manguahlo'. Kana' ma ikak i Espanot, lao manggineggue siha ni un pakyo'. Mandinestrosa i gima'Chamorro siha, lao tumotohgue ha' sin danu i gima'yu'us Katoliko. Gi 1672 anai umannok Si Mata'pang gi i estoria-ta, ha na'hasso i taotao na debi di u mana'suha i taotao sanhiyong. Ha puno' Si San Vitores yan i ayudante-na, i halacha na mafa'santo na Tagalog as Pedro Calusnor. Si Mata'pang ha fa'nu'i i tiguang-na siha na ti manyu'us i gilagu, sina mehagga'. Gi minagahet esta i Chamorro ma tungo' este, lao manmaleffanaihon.

Gof na'ma'a'se na i hiniyong …

Solidarity Networks

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I have been working for the past week on answering some questions for an antibase group in Italy. Through David Vine, best known for his book Islands of Shame about Diego Garcia, they held a virtual meeting amongst demilitarization activists from around the Pacific and Europe. A physical gathering of antibase activists in Italy coordinated virtual presentations from speakers representing struggles in Guam, Okinawa, South Korea, Hawai'i, Diego Garcia and elsewhere. It was an inspiring and invigorating moment even though because of time differences I was hunched over my computer at 2 in the morning. The group found the exchange of information so interesting they decided to produce a book that would give a road map to the struggles that are happening around the world, to help us better see how we are connected.

Here is the text for the short presentation that I made during last year's demilitarization network solidarity meeting. 

*****************

--> I apologize tha…

O Guinaiya

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O Tano'
Gof triste hao pa'go
Sa' i mas gefpago na diamante
Esta gaige giya Guahu

O Mapagahes,
Triste hao,
Sa' taya' mas "fluffy"
Kinu i guinaiya-ku

O Uchan,
Un na'matmos i tano'
Lao esta masmai i korason-hu ni guinaiya

O Isa,
Manayao hao kulot
Ginen i mitkilot na guinaiya-ku

O Atdao,
Hosguan hao
Nu i minaipen i guinaiya-ku

O Pulan,
Gof hosguan
Nu i mina'lak i nobia-hu

Kao toninos hao?
Sa' toninos yu'
Kao toninos hit gi i tasin guinaiya?

The National Postman

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I have a weird fascination with movies that people generally don't like. I've never found anyone else for example who enjoyed the film The Postman directed by Kevin Costner from the book by David Brin. In the spectrum of what makes a movie enjoyable or likeable a film like The Postman, seems to fall inbetween the crack of everything. You can like movies because it connects with something in you, because everyone else likes it, because so many people say it is great. You can hate it because it offends you, bores you, is just plan stupid or terrible. Interestingly enough when something reaches the point where its meaning is too assured, that is precisely when your response may end up on the opposite end of the spectrum. If a movie is too poorly put together, it can become charming, unique, silly, bad in a good way, etc.

The Postman, which tells the story of how certain symbols of daily modern life, such as mail, play an inspiring role in rebuilding communities after …

Ralph Nader's Activist Awards

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Friday, February 14, 2014 by Common Dreams
Now Presenting.... The Activist Awards by Ralph Nader

The Kodak Theater in Los Angeles where the Academy Award ceremonies are held. (File)

The annual Academy Awards GALA, viewed by one billion people worldwide, is scheduled for the evening of March 2, 2014. Motion pictures and the people who act in and produce them are center stage. Apart from the documentaries, this is a glittering evening of “make-believe” and “make business.”

Now suppose our country had another Academy Awards GALA for citizen heroes – those tiny numbers of Americans who are working successfully full-time in nonprofit groups to advance access to justice, general operations of our faltering democratic society, and the health, safety, and economic well-being of all citizens.

This must sound unexciting in comparison with the intensity of the world of film. Until you see what these unsung people do in your local communities, your state, and your country. Then l…

Estorian Inachaigen Fino' CHamoru

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The Inachaigen Fino' CHamoru or "Chamorro Language Competition" is just a month away. This year I have the honor of helping organize the event, whereas in the past I only got to participate as a judge or as a spectator. I have written quite a bit about the Inachaigen Fino' CHamoru in the past, about what it represents in terms of decolonizing the community and setting the foundation for the reversal of negative language attitudes. What is holding Chamorros back today in terms of revitalizing their language has nothing to do with resources, but everything to do with attitudes. There are still tens of thousands of Chamorro speakers out there. No one is punishing anyone for speaking Chamorro anymore. What continues to kill the language is the attitudes that people have that makes them feel like they shouldn't speak Chamorro to their kids or to others. These same ideologies make them blame others for the decline of the language when in truth, every speaker of the la…

Ha'anin Guinaiya

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Biba Ha’anin Guinaiya! Michael Lujan Bevacqua Marianas Variety 2/12/14
I Ha’anin Guinaiya or Valentine’s Day is just a few days away. Stores have been stocking up for a while with stuffed animals, special chocolates and scores of imported flowers. Restaurants are offering special deals and reservations are being taken. Surprises are being planned and also some who aren’t great with dates or holidays are letting the week pass completely clueless as to what is coming. People are rushing about trying to find the most ideal way of translating your feelings for someone into an item, an experience, into a series of carefully chosen words.
I know that Chamorro month isn’t for a few more weeks, but as a proponent for the use and revitalize of the Chamorro language, I think that we should incorporate Chamorro language into everything humanly possible. So I respectfully ask that as you are working on the best way to communicate your affection/devotion/love/lust/obsession this month, please c…

Uncharted Waters

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Over the weekend I took the kids to a birthday party where instead or horse rides or karabao rides the family was offering proa rides. The party took place on the beach in Hagatna right across the street from the Federal Court Building. Children and adults could take turns riding in the canoe as it went out to the edge of the reef and back. Sumahi and Akli'e' have ridden in boats before but never a canoe like that crafted and manned by Chamorros and other Micronesians.

The canoe and the rides were provided by Rob Limtiaco, a former apprentice of Tun Segundo Blas, the late Chamorro Master Carver. Limtiaco studied under Tun Segundo when Chamorros were at a different point in terms of their shifting of consciousness and moving towards a more indigenous context. This was when Chamorro dancing as we know it today did not exist. There were Chamorro activist groups but Nasion Chamoru was still a decade away from existence. Criticism of the military in terms of its form and its sense…

America's Favorite Socialist Lesbian

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"America the Beautiful" Author is Rush Limbaugh's Favorite Lesbian Socialist
Peter Dreier – February 5, 2014
 Talking Points Memo

Right-wingers like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, former Congressman Allen West, and others are freaking out about Coca Cola's Super Bowl ad featuring "America the Beautiful" sung in different languages as faces of people of different cultures are shown.

Typical was the reaction of Michael Leahy of the wacko website Breitbart.com:
“The company used such an iconic song, one often sung in churches on the 4th of July that represents the old ‘E Pluribus Unum’ view of how American society is integrated, to push multiculturalism down our throats.”The reliably reactionary Glenn Beck said that the ad will "divide us politically." He added:

“That's all this ad is. It's an in your face -- and if you don't like, if you're offended by it, then you're a racist. If you do like it, well then you're for imm…

BOGO

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The Battle of Guam/Okinawa project took several months but it was well worth it.

After visiting the Sakima Art Museum in Okinawa I was consumed by a painting that is in their permanent collection, "The Battle of Okinawa." This painting was designed to show the horror of World War II in Okinawa, when the island was destroyed in a typhoon of steel. This painting was the height of the Museum and filled with imagery that intrigued, haunted and horrified. I knew I could never match up to the intensity of that image, but felt the need to try to create my own intervention.

After traveling and visiting Okinawa so many times in the past few years and seeing the way our tragic histories have given us similar difficult experiences, I wanted to build upon the intent of the original Battle of Okinawa painting, but also put my own wishful solidarity, in whatever form I could find it. I decided to try to paint an image that could combine the effects and impacts of World War II in both Gua…

Protecting the Waters and the Lands

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Published on Wednesday, February 5, 2014 by Common Dreams
Indigenous Groups: 'No Keystone XL Pipeline Will Cross Our Lands' Native American communities along proposed route vow resistance against 'black snake' pipeline - Sarah Lazare, staff writer  Native American communities are promising fierce resistance to stop TransCanada from building, and President Barack Obama from permitting, the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline."No Keystone XL pipeline will cross Lakota lands," declares a joint statement from Honor the Earth, the Oglala Sioux Nation, Owe Aku, and Protect the Sacred. "We stand with the Lakota Nation, we stand on the side of protecting sacred water, we stand for Indigenous land-based lifeways which will NOT be corrupted by a hazardous, toxic pipeline."

Members of seven Lakota nation tribes, as well as indigenous communities in Idaho, Oklahoma, Montana, Nebraska and Oregon, are preparing to take action to stop Keystone XL.

“It w…