Showing posts from April, 2015

Atate Book Launch

I spent a year working on getting the book "Massacre at Atate" by Jose M. Torres published. It is a first hand account of one of the few times during the Japanese occupation of Guam that the Chamorro people openly resisted and fought back. There are countless instances of Chamorros passively resisting, but this was one of the few moments that I've been able to collect where you can point to Chamorros using violent resistance to protect themselves. There are only a few men left who took up arms against the Japanese in July 1944 and Mr. Torres was one of the youngest at that time.

We had a reading in Malesso' a few weeks ago in the historic Merlyn G. Cook school. This was a followup to the large book launch that we had in February which was attended by close to 300 people. I came across this account of the book launch, that I wanted to share here:


In Defense of Second Languages

University of Guam Mangilao, GU April 26, 2015
Press Release For immediate release
Forum on Changes to UOG General Education Curriculum UOG Professors to Lead Community Discussion on Removal of Second-Language Requirement
Is “ENGLISH ONLY” Good Enough for the University of Guam and Our Students?
A public discussion on keeping second-language-learning requirements in the University of Guam general education curriculum will be held on Thursday, April 30, at 6 p.m., at the CLASS Lecture Hall on the UOG campus.  The event is free and open to all concerned members of the public.
Recently faculty endorsed and approved changes to the General Education curriculum at the University of Guam to remove second-language learning from the undergraduate requirements.  Learning a second language will become optional.  Until now, all students have been required to take two courses (8 credits total) in a language other than English.  Chamorro, Japanese, Tagalog, French, Spanish, Mandarin, and Chuukese all are r…

Na'famboka siha kek

The issue of gay marriage is really being push right now in Guam. There seems to be a much broader support for it as opposed to a few years ago. There is still some resistance, especially on religious grounds. I haven't seen any reports yet on whether or not local bakeries are supporting or fighting this issue. This is intriguing because as you can see from the reports below, cakes, the making of, the selling of, the religious freedom involved in deciding who you do and do not make cakes for, has become a ground zero of sorts


This Bakery Refused to Serve a Same-Sex Couple and It May Cost Them $135,000
Published: April 26, 2015 | Authors: | Think Progress | News Report 

A bakery that turned away a lesbian couple looking to …

Saonao yan Eyak

The PDN has been publishing a series of columns under the banner of "Saonao yan Eyak" or "Join and Learn." These columns are meant to help inform and inspire the community in advance of next year's FESTPAC which will take place in Guam. Hosting a FESTPAC is a massive endeavor. It requires layers of public and private cooperation, as tens of thousands of people descend upon that island in order to experience this cultural Olympics of the Pacific.

I first wrote a column for them last month for Ha'anen Fino' Chamoru Ha', which by the way we are working on formalizing and trying to get back to honor at the start of each month. This month I wrote about how much Guam's consciousness has changed over the past four decades and how FESTPAC played a significant role in that.


"Guam's made huge stride since 70s"
by Michael Lujan Bevacqua
Pacific Daily News

When we think of what "Chamorro culture" means to …

News from the CNMI

Next week public comment and informational meetings will be taking place in Tinian and Saipan with regards to recently proposed plans to militarize Tinian and Pagan. For people that are wanting to follow the discussion there between leaders and activists I've gathered together some recent news from The Saipan Tribune and The Marianas Variety. CNMI leaders are putting out a request for help in terms of analyzing and disseminating information about the DEIS or draft environmental impact statement for the build up proposals. They are also requesting an extension as the document is close to 2,000 pages long. It has also, as far as I know, not been translated into Chamorro or Carolinian.


'CNMI will benefit from military trainings here'
by Jayson Camacho
Saipan Tribune

The U.S. Department of Defense’s planned military buildup in the region has put the CNMI community in a quandary, with some supporting military activities on Tinian and Pagan and some opp…

Mas Ki Dichicheng

Ilek-na Si Henry Kissinger, ayu na sen dangkolu na galabok taotao, put iya Micronesia, “There are only 90,000 people out there. Who gives a damn?” I meggaina na taotao guini ti ma tungo’ put este na sinangan ya ti ma tungo’ lokkue’ hayi este na Henry. Lao para i manggaitiningo’, ti mannina’manman nu este. Ayu na hinasso, ayu na pine’lo, put i mineddong-ta guini gof annok gi i na’an-ta. Atan i na’an ni’ mana’i hit para este na lugat: Micronesia. Kumekeilekna “dikike’ na isla.”

Sigun hafa hu fa’na’an i “pragmatics of size” taya’ gaibali giya Micronesia, todu taibali. Hunggan, buente anggen malago’ hao bumuteya hanom tasi, sen gefsaga’ este na lugat. Lao dinirihi i hinasson i taotao sanhiyong ni’ tano’. Ayu nai muna’hasso siha put finitme, siguridad, yan anggokuyon na fuetsa. Para siha i hanom yan i tasi, ti anggokuyon, machalek, todu tiempo matulailaika. Todu i tumuge’ i Bipblia ginen ayu na hinasso. Hafa ilek-na guihi put este? Estague ginen as San Mateo:

Enao i humungok est…

Pixelated Invisibility

Guam Mentions are always interesting. The random places that Guam will appear in the speech of military planners, world leaders, comedians and filmmakers is always so intriguing to me. Taking serious these mentions are sort of traces of the structure of American imperialism and colonialism was the main theoretical intervention of my dissertation. Moving away from seeing the random way that Guam gets mentioned sometimes whether it be by Bob Hope or David Letterman as actually possessing serious meaning and truth and not just being an accidental or random mention. For most the flexibility and labiality of meaning attached to Guam, the occasional invisibility that it is shouldered with or assumed is just a misrecognition, is something people say just because they don't know better or something you can just attribute to ignorance. But for me there is far more that just that. The colonial status of Guam and the ability to shift and produce meaning for it, the ability to move troops th…

Mensahi ginen i Gehilo' #9: Imagine Independence

It has been a while since my last message of this type. To be honest the Commission on Decolonization of which the Independence Task Force is a part hasn't been very active for the past few years. Inertia and lack of motivation seeped into the Commission from a variety of angles making it incapable of doing anything.

That period is hopefully at an end however as the Commission has shown some signs of life since the start of this year. Although the Commission has received money since 2011 for salaries, no money has been set aside for public education, which is what the Commission on Decolonization is meant to oversee. This year there is at last a $100,000 budget set specifically for conducting public education. The Independence Task Force will be meeting this month and start to make plans for the coming year. If you are interested in joining the Task Force, please email me at or leave a comment below.

This past week I saw an interesting piece of news out of …

Identities Lost

It is intriguing when we see epochs of time shift and change and replace each other. These are like grand markers in time, like huge arches that delineate when everything was one way and when it all changed and became something else. On Guam we have antes di gera and despues di gera which draws a clear line of memory between what existed prior to World War II and after. World War II survivors will tell you the smells in the air, the sounds of the island were different in 1940 as they were in 1945. Most people in the United States and elsewhere in the world mark recent memory with "9/11" as if to say that things were fundamentally different before September 11th, 2001 than they were afterwards. All of this is a fiction of course, but there is still a way that communities tend to lay out the stretches of time behind them in certain blocks, to make them easier to manage, but propping up these important moments as providing the keys to understand all those temporal tectonic shi…

Pagan and Tinian

--> After months of waiting and speculating, the military has finally released their plans for Pagan and Tinian. Read the articles below to learn more. Five years ago the mood in the CNMI was one very supportive of militarization. The leadership there seemed willing to offer Pagan and Tinian and anything else on a plate to the DOD, especially in the context of resistance to military increases on Guam. It is good to see that this has changed.


Government should focus on homestead program: Aldan By Cherrie Anne E. Villahermosa  Marianas Variety
Northern Islands Mayor Jerome Aldan’s message to the military is to "pack up and leave Pagan alone." Aldan was among the public officials who were in the House chamber yesterday to hear what the representatives of the Marine Corps Forces Pacific had to say during a meeting that lasted for more than three hours.
Aldan in an interview said he has not changed his position and is still opposed to the pr…