Showing posts from June, 2014

Para i Famagu'on

For years Peter Onedera's column gi Fino' Chamoru has been my favorite part of the Pacific Daily News. Many Chamorro speakers are critical of the way that Onedera writes in the Chamorro language and the way that he spells, but often times I feel these criticisms have more to do with people feeling inadequate in terms of their ability to read Chamorro or just feeling plain lazy. Ondera's columns can be difficult to read, and many people simply turn their minds off because they don't like the way he spells certain things. Others make their way through it, but don't like the Chamorro he uses because it is different that the way he speaks or the way most people speak. There is some truth to this, but the far greater truth that people don't want to acknowledge is that while we do have thousands of Chamorro speakers out there, we don't have nearly as many Chamorro readers or writers. Even if there are people who are fluent in the language, it doesn't mean tha…

Guma' Baila Siha

Estague i inetnon baila "Taotao Lagu." Siha manggana' i uttimo na Dinanna' Minagof na Silebrasion gi i ma'pos na simana. Gi este na litratu mambabaila siha giya Saipan para i 2014 na Flame Tree Festival. Ma kombida yu' gi i otro simana para bai hu hues para i este na sakkan na Dinanna' Minagof. Hu aksepta i kinembida, ya sen excited yu'! Meggai na dinanna' taiguihi hu hanaogue, lao taya' taiguini komo hues.

Hu gof sapopote i gima' baila siha giya Guahan, maseha Fanlalai'an, Pa'a pat Inetnon Gefpago. Hu tungo' na manmaolek na lugat siha para i ineduka i manhoben. Guaha dos na patgon-hu, ya guaha na biahi manhasso yu' buente maolek para bai hu na'saonao i patgon-hu siha gi unu pat dos na gurupu. Maolek i sinaonao para i tahtaotao, maolek lokkue' para i hinasso.

Looking at the Tip of the Spear

Looking at the ‘tip of the spear’ How U.S. Military policy in Guam, a proposed “mega build-up” and population displacement are destroying the island and its people. 
by Craig Santos Perez June 6, 2014 The Hawaii Independent
Guåhan (Guam), an unincorporated territory of the United States, is the largest and most populated island in Micronesia. For a local comparison, Guåhan is larger than Lanaʻi yet smaller than Molokaʻi. Similar to Oʻahu, U.S.military bases occupy a third of Guåhan’s landmass.

Kanaka Maoli activist and scholar Kaleikoa Kaʻeo once described the U.S. military as a monstrous heʻe (octopus). Imagine Pacific Command headquarters as its head, the mountaintop telescopes as its eyes, and the supercomputers and fiber optic networks as its brain and nerve system.

Now imagine one of its weaponized tentacles strangling Guåhan: “The Tip of the Spear.”

In 2009, details of a military “mega-buildup” on Guåhan were released in a draft Environmental Impact …

Chamorro Journey Stories in the US Military

Guam Humanities Council to host Smithsonian Institution Exhibit Journey Stories, Opening June 26, 2014
The Guam Humanities Council is partnering with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, Museum on Main Street (MoMS) program to bring to Guam the national exhibit, Journey Stories.
Many of us have powerful journey stories in our personal heritage. It may be a story of a family uprooting itself in order to stay together, or of sons and daughters moving to another land, or of a distant ancestor. As part of the Guam tour, the Council has developed a local companion exhibit with complimentary programs entitled, Sindålu – Chamorro Journeys in the U.S. Military, to explore the many significant and oftentimes unrecognized journeys of Chamorro men and women who currently serve or have served in the U.S. Military. Chamorro servicemen and women, along with their families, have moved all over the world, some returning home, others resettling permanently in communities across th…

Colonizing Stigmas

The commentary below is from the Overseas Territories Review. A very good source of information about those of us and our islands who remain formally and per the United Nation's definition, colonized. Most of us are very small and the majority of the world's people could care little about. The Overseas Territories Review is a very good, centralized location for finding out information about all these scattered still colonized lands. Some of our situations today are very similar, some are very unique and distinct. But part of moving towards decolonizing is getting over the fear of being a "colony" still. Since this is something that is no longer supposed to exist, many wish to simply refuse to acknowledge the possibility since it means you are the one who carries the stain and stigma of the inhumanity of the past everyone else seems to have gotten past. Even if it is clearly the moral stain of the colonizer, you still feel like this is your mess, your problem that ne…

Obama at Standing Bear

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama recently visited the Standing Bear Sioux Reservation of the Lakota and the Dakota. Here are some pictures:

Game of Thrones

I have never watched Game of Thrones, but simply because it is discussed so much and a favorite of so many people I know, I by default absorb so much information about it. I know most of the major characters and most of the major plot points. From all that I know however, it still seems baffling to me that so many people find the show so engrossing. There are those who say it is the violence. The writing. The realism. The creativity. The intrigue and drama. The relationship to real history. I've heard so many different types of arguments.  So much of this reminds me of the first time I read Shakespeare's plays. I had heard for so much of my life that the works and words of William Shakespeare were the pinnacle of human creativity and expressive achievement. That these were great plays that were timeless in their quality and boundaryless in terms of their importance. When I read them I was intrigued but not that impressed. To this day when I read or hear Shakespeare I still don…

Finayin Chamorro

In my weekly Chamorro classes, I try to end each Intermediate lesson with a axiom, a saying, some words of wisdom in the Chamorro language. Each of them can shed some light on the continuum of the Chamorro experience. Some of these sayings are just Chamorro versions of sayings from other cultures. Some contain interesting hybrid elements and possibly ancient, pre-colonial themes. Some are just nonsense and only said because of a harmony with the sounds and words. This image is one such saying, "Nina'i hao gi as Yu'us i chetnot-mu, para un espiha i amot-mu." It translates to, "You are given your illness by God, so that you can search for the cure."

It is a good idea to ask our elders for more of these sayings, these pieces of Chamorro wisdom and incorporate them into our daily lives.

Rhino Beetle Infested Coconut Trees

I trongkon niyok, i trongkon lina'la para i taotao gi i Tasin Pasifiku. Anggen manbetde yan manggaila'la' este na trongko, manggaila'la' yan mabrabu lokkue' i Chamorro siha. Lao anggen un atan este na trongko siha pa'go gi isla-ta, ti manbrabrabu, mismo manmalalangu.

Across Facebook for months I've seen posts lamenting the state of Guam's coconut trees. The rhino beetle has infested the island and is slowly destroying this essential island trees from within. Asan Beach, a site that 70 years ago was obliterated in the American re-invasion of the island during I Tiempon Chapones, has become synonymous with scattered coconut trees as much as military relics. Earlier this year, the Department of Agriculture began cutting down trees there that were infested with the rhino beetle. As I kept reading these updates a particular image kept popping into my head. I wrote about it on my own Facebook:
I want to translate "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohe…

Kanton Agupa'.

Gof ya-hu este na mubi. Na'chalek yan meggai na akshon lokkue'. Achokka' kalang estrana i hinengge-na Si Tom Cruise put rihilon, gof ya-hu gui' komo actor. Gof ya-hu i mubi-na siha.

I famagu'on-hu ma egga' i trailer para este na mubi "I Kanton Agupa'" yan gof yan-niha i "tagline"-na. "Live. Die. Repeat. In pila' este gi Fino' Chamoru taiguini, "La'la. Matai. Ta'lo."

Esta in egga' este, lao kada hu faisen i dos-hu, kao malago' siha na in egga' gui' ta'lo, ma faisen yu' "Ta'lo?" Ya ilek-hu, "Hunggan nai, ta'lo yan ta'lo yan ta'lo, taiguihi gi mubi!"

Whether Cruel or Kind...

When I teach about colonialism I am always careful to stress that you should never define colonialism primarily by manifestations of "evil" or overt expressions of racism or violence. If you do, you run the risk of blurring your critical lens and making it so that situations which are clearly colonial don't merit analysis because they aren't gory enough.

The late Joe Murphy for example pioneered a commonsensical way of not seeing Guam as a colony in this manner. When confronted with arguments about Guam's colonial status Murphy would usually make two discursive moves. First, he would argue that colonialism is a thing of the past as associated with the atrocities of Spanish priests long ago. That was colonization, it was violent, brutal and cruel, you certainly can't call what Guam experiences today colonialism if that was colonialism as well. Second, he would say that Guam benefits from the relationship with the United States and in colonial relationships th…