Showing posts from September, 2014

Chamorros at JATA

I have to write more about this at some point. It is interesting because for so many Chamorros, their self-perceptions are mired in feelings that we have nothing (especially in cultural terms) and that no one would every want anything that we have anyways. It is intriguing then to see how popular Chamorro style dance is at conventions like this, and to consider that there are multiple Chamorro dance groups in Japan and the United States.  *************** News Releases From the Guam Visitors Bureau Chamorro Culture Makes Impact at JATASeptember 28, 2014

(Tokyo, Japan) Team Guam continues to make a great impression at the JATA Tourism EXPO Japan with a plethora of activities lined up for the final day of this 4-day event. However, the island’s 4,000 year old Chamorro culture separated the Guam booth from the rest of the 150 countries and regions that are part of Japan’s largest tourism expo.

Led by Master Frank Rabon, nearly 100 Japanese dancers from the Guam Chamorro Dance Acad…

Marianas Indigenous Conference

I will be in Saipan for the next few days at this conference, the first annual Marianas Indigenous Conference. Here is the draft schedule for the event. I'm sure I'll be writing more about it in the coming week.


”Lessons Learned and A Way Forward”
2014 1st Annual Marianas Indigenous Conference Multi-Purpose Center, Saipan September 29th& 30th, 2014 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM

NMDC Vision:A Self-Sustaining, Self-Governing Commonwealth whose destiny shall continue to remain in the hands of the Indigenous Chamorro and Carolinian people of Northern Marianas descent, in close partnership with other persons who are residents in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
NMDC Mission:Empowerment of the indigenous Chamorro and Carolinian people in the CNMI’s economic, social & political development and the preservation & promotion of its language and cultural identity.
Purpose: To bring about increase…

Impossible Seas

The way people conceive of Guam's economic health is mired in colonial feelings of inferiority and the contradictions that naturally emerge. As a small island in the middle of the ocean, Guam is naturally thought to have nothing according to the base epistemology of Europeans. Such a way of seeing the world and mapping its sense of value and naturalness is tied to the land. The land is safe, the land is secure, the land is what offers the chance to build, to horde, to make something. The ocean is the opposite. The ocean is the frightening infinite, the terrorizing endlessness, it holds the possibilities for imagining and perceiving that which is beyond the immediate and apparent, but the cost of this is that it cannot be trusted. The ocean and those places defined by it surrounding and connecting them, are the exceptions not the norm. Even if the land has its own inconsistencies and problems (kao manmaleffa todu put i linao siha?), the ocean is seen as impossible in contrast to t…

The Psyche of Manson

The Fourth Guam International Film Festival is happening right now on Guam.

Here is an interview with Kent Velesrubio, one of the creative minds behind one of the more anticipated films this weekend "The Psyche of Manson."


GIFF interviews Kent Velesrubio, writer/director/actor of Guam’s risqué indie feature film, “The Psyche of Manson”. (Screening Saturday, September 27, at 8:30PM.CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION )

GIFF: Congratulations again on your official selection into GIFF as well as your nomination for Best Made in the Marianas for your film “The Psyche of Manson”. How does it feel?

KENT: It feels totally surreal. Going to the movie theaters ritualistically every weekend since I was a kid always inspired me to go out and make something that I’d be satisfied with, and to finally have a privilege to showcase my work on the big screen which I’ve grown under, is just extraordinary. And not to mention the nomination for “Best in the Marianas” is j…

Parental Delusions

There are good parents and there are bad parents, but there are no perfect parents.

What I find intriguing from talking to public school teachers around the island, is the way in which they see many parents unable to deal with the reality of their children or their level of parenting. The students that are the most problematic are usually those where the family is hardly involved in their education. The parents are absent in the home life, discipline isn't taught and order and structure aren't laid down and so those kids become problem students in school.

Kids misbehave, kids make mistakes, families become busy, attention is divided, these are all normal things. But when some parents are confronted with the misbehavior of their children, rather than recognizing the realities of life, they choose to throw up a facade of being perfect parents. Perfect parents are always blameless and so are their children. The school system is the problem. Other kids are the problem. The teache…

A New Chamorro Champion Emerges

The Chamorro language has lots of fans. This is something to applaud. Two generations ago, the Chamorro language was being used by more people, but had very few fans. Most people who used it didn't speak it to their children or those younger than them. So even if it was being spoken, it was not being passed on and so its death sentence was already being prepared. It had few fans, most of the older generations of Chamorros, who were World War II survivors and veterans of American colonialism, were not big fans of Chamorro. They saw it as something that was a relic of the past, tied to a stagnant and penniless way of life, and something to be gotten rid of to make way for English.

The game has changed. Chamorro now has more fans. The Chamorro language has more than 10,000 likes on Facebook. Attitudes have shifted so that people say the language should be saved and should be used. They admit to a beauty to it and it being an important part of the heritage of the Marianas. Only a han…

The Week in American Militarism

The website Common Dreams is a very good resource for those interested in a wide range of progressive topics. You'll find Democrat politics articles, which aren't very critical or radical. You'll find pieces that both support Israelis right to defend itself but also condemn it as a nation that is perpetuating genocide and colonialism. There is plenty of environmental coverage and economic justice news on everything from unions, to climate change, to resource wars. For me personally, as someone who comes from an island in the Pacific that is known as the tip of the spear and an unsinkable aircraft carrier, I truly appreciate the coverage that Common Dreams provides on militarism, in particular American militarism. Naturally, their lens for filtering through the possibilities of news focuses primarily on the hotspots where Americans troops are currently bombing, fighting and occupying and so it doesn't attend much to places where the bases have existed for a long time …