Showing posts from August, 2014

An Epidemic of Sexual Violence

For the recent exhibit I worked on, Sindalu: Chamorro Journey Stories in the US Military, I wanted to make certain that the story we told included the experiences of Chamorro women in the US military. This turned out to be more difficult than I initially imagined.

Chamorro women have served in the US military since the Korean War, but it is only recently that people really recognize that they are a central part of the military. This isn't just on Guam, but throughout the United States, women have served for a long time, but are always thought of as being supplementary, extra bodies, hence there is often ridiculous irritation when they demand certain rights or demand to be treated fairly. For most people the military is a man's domain, and so women are generally seen as weakening the grand military phallus of the nation, with their complaints about harassment, rape and lack of equality. Women who have served in the US military for generations have endured so much …

Stop Killing Us

Why the People of Ferguson Can't Trust the Cops Thursday, 21 August 2014 16:04 
By Mike Ludwig
Truthout | Report 

Several African-American men share with Truthout their stories of abuse at the hands of police, and after 12 days of continuous demonstrations against the shooting of an unarmed teen, Michael Brown, it appears that the community is in it for the long haul.

After hours of peacefully marching up and down the sidewalks on Ferguson's now-
infamous South Florissant Avenue on Tuesday night, several dozen protesters formed a thick circle in a parking lot to conclude their demonstration with a prayer lead by a local minister. It was getting late, and it seemed that, after several nights of unrest and police crackdowns, the protest might end in peace.

I sat down on a curb to jot down some notes, and a young man with dreadlocks asked me if I was a reporter. He called to his friends, and soon several young black men from Ferguson joined us, e…

Exceptional Ways

--> I've spent quite a bit of time this past week talking about the term native inhabitants. It is something which is at the crux of how decolonization law is written in Guam, but is confusing since it is different than the way that most people feel or talk about decolonization. There is a spiritual and human movement and process which is wide-reaching and brings together anger, resentment, dreams, hopes, practical concerns and justice. This is decolonization in general, and it is something that more and more people on Guam accept as being an important and necessary part of life. It has not been an easy conversation, many people resisted it in certain forms, such as cultural for a long time. But we can thank the last two generations of Chamorro/Guam activists for helping create the conditions whereby "self-determination" is an acceptable and positive part of daily discussion, wrapped up in the feelings that people have for an improved, more prosp…

Colonial Privileges or Why Chinese People Don't Visit Guam

“Guam, Where America’s Day Begins” has always been a slogan that doesn’t sit right with me. When I was in school and learned the slogans or nicknames or different states, I was always struck at how different the others were from the one I would hear on Guam. New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment. New York is the Empire State. Then there’s the Volunteer State, the Granite State, the Show-Me State, etc.
For those communities that are full and real parts of the United States, their mottos are a commentary on how they entered the union or what they bring into the American family. With the exception of Maryland, which sometimes is referred to as “America in Miniature” none of them use the word “America” in their nickname. In an interesting way, the 50 states are the real pieces that make up the American whole, they don’t have to say they are America’s this or America’s that. They are included. Guam on the other hand, which is “foreign in a domestic sense” isn’t really a part of the United…

The Machete That Never Needed Sharpening

When I have my students do oral history projects with elder Chamorros, they often times groan and moan. They knew that Chamorros suffered in World War II and don't need to interview an old person to know it. They know they speak Chamorro fluently and don't need to ask them about it. I generally have my students focus their questions on certain things that elders may have heard or been exposed to when they were very young, which wouldn't necessarily be the things an ethnographer or anthropologist or historian would ask them.

For example, one topic I am always interested in hearing about are legends or children's stories. What were the stories that the elders of today were told when they were kids? My students often groan about this because they assume that the stories that were told then were probably the same stories we tell today. So kids today can hear stories about Sirena, Gadao, Fu'una and Puntan and Duendes, these must be the same stories that people told the…

Insular Empire Screening

Come this Thursday for a screening of the Insular Empire organized by the Hope for Guam Committee. Check out the flyer below for details:

Echoes in Okinawa

From "Ten Thousand Things"

An informative and touching article on Okinawa and the way the traumatic past weaves its way into the present. This is one of the dynamics that Avery Gordon refers to so poetically and so aptly as "ghostly matters." The way in which boats off the coast of Okinawa today don't simply remind people of the horrors of the past, but keep that past and all the injustice that comes with it, alive. Protestors of the past and those of today can have the same ghostly threads about them. They represent stories, memories and dreams that refuse to die, even if governments do their best through force, through coercion, through tokens, to make sure they are forgotten.

The article is below:


Henoko on August 14, 2014. (Photo: Chie Mikami on FB)
Film director Chie Mikami on August 14, 2014, on location at Henoko : "I saw so many boats in the sea around 7a.m. It reminds me of the history of Okinawa, year: 1945."

Today …

The Salaita Case

Opinion/Editorial The Salaita case and Cary Nelson’s use of “academic freedom” to silence dissentVicente M. Diaz The Electronic Intifada 14 August 2014 Books and papers lie amid rubble at the Islamic University of Gaza on 2 August, after it was hit by an overnight Israeli air raid.
(Ashraf Amra / APA images) Cary Nelson, retired University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) English professor and past president of the American Association of University Professors, has been busy.

From the moment that the story broke of Chancellor Phyllis Wise’s underhanded nixing of Steven Salaita’sde facto hiring in my department, Nelson has rushed forward as the administration’s biggest cheerleader and defender against condemnations, protests and what amounts to a growing boycott of UIUC from scholars and academic associations.

In the interest of disclosure, I co-chaired the search committee that recommended Salaita’s hiring.
In live media and in an 8 August essay for Inside Higher Ed, Nelson has…

Ginen Guaha Ga'-na Kabayu Siha

Someone special to me got me a book of poetry by Joy Harjo, a Native American poet. I've been going through them and some of them are really profound. Fehman hafa ma na'sieisiete yu'. The collection spans over 30 years of her work and so there are incredible shifts in her tone and her content. Though after going through them all, I still find the ones towards the beginning were deeper, or touched something greater. A case in point is this poem "She Had Horses." Kalang ti nahong i palabras-hu para bai hu eksplika este. Si eksplikayon taimanu ha pacha' yu' yan hafa gi hinasso-ku ha deka'. Ti dumangkolu yu' gi un kuttura ni' mismo gaikabayu. Ayu na klasin metaphor taigue gi minagahet gi lina'la'-hu. Hu tungo' put taimanu na gof gaige ayu gi i irensian otro kuttura yan i hinasso siha gi haga' (put hemplo i Natibu Amerikanu siha pat kontodu i manapa'ka na taotaogues gi i "wild west), lao taya' nai ma'u'dai yu&#…

The Infamous Watch Story gi Fino' Chamoru

For my CM 102 class or Beginners Chamorro Language 2, I've been experimenting with different assignments. I heard last year about a Navajo Star Wars, or the project to translate Star Wars into the Navajo language. For me, somehow who thinks that everything should be translated into Chamorro and is hoping to create a lexicon for playing 'Magic: The Gathering" in Chamorro, taking such an iconic nerdy movie and translating it into a native language is the height of awesome. I decided to incorporate something on a much smaller scale into my class.  Each student had to pick five minutes from a different movie and translate that portion into Chamorro. I told them to make sure that the segment wouldn't be too difficult for them to translate, because certain genres like sci-fi for example, might be a bit difficult for a lowly 102 student to translate effectively. They had to then record themselves or others reading the scene in Chamorro and then dub it into the film itself. …