Showing posts from December, 2015

Mataima'ho giya Majuro

Gi i Tasen Pasifiku, guaha dos na klasen isla, takhilo' yan takpapa'. Ti kumekeilekna este na i taotao gi un takhilo' na isla mas maolek pat mas malate' kinu i taotao gi otro. Lao este put i tano' gi ayu na isla yan i tinakhilo'-na gi hilo' i tasi. Iya Guahan, un "takhilo'" na isla. Lao meggai na isla gi Marshall Islands yan gi FSM, manakpapa'. Para i manasaga' gi i manakhilo' na isla siha "climate change" un fihu mapacha na asunto, lao ti magahet, ti atdet i chinathinasso trabiha. Lao para i manasaga' gi i manakpapa' na isla siha, esta gof magahet yan gof atdet ayu. Esta manathinasson-niniha put taimanu na para u inafekta todu gi lina'la', put hemplo gi este na tinige', i hanom ni' ma gigimen kada diha.


Perishing of Thirst in a Pacific Paradise 12/28/2015 02:50 pm ET Peter Mellgard Associate Editor, The WorldPost
MAJURO, Marshall Islands -- A few yards from the crashing waves …


This image is taken from the play Pågat, written by myself and Victoria Leon Guerrero and directed by Michelle Blas. The play was performed at UOG in the Spring of 2014 and received a great deal of attention from the local community. The choreography for the play came from Master of Chamorro Dance Vince Reyes, who has been touring the world recently as a prominent Chamorro folk artist with his group Inetnon Gefpago. This image in particular comes from what he calls the silhouette dance, which was performed to the tune of "Safe and Sound" by Taylor Swift, except sung in Chamorro. It portrays a Chamorro woman during World War II being beaten and raped by a Japanese soldier. She is able to endure however through the help of other women, who support her. The issue of comfort women and sexual violence on Guam has always been something on the edge of my academic consciousness, as during my oral history research it would also pop up, albeit in vague and impossible to pursue ways. …

Para i Finakpo', i Tinituhun

Thought it would be nice to end the year with a reference to what is considering to be the beginning of the Chamorro people, namely Fouha Bay, where most consider the Chamorro creation story to be set. Here is some information on it, placing it in both a historical and contemporary context and briefly how it connects to an upcoming project my family will be published.


Fouha Bay/Laso' Fouha
The Birthplace of Chamorro Civilization

There are several creation stories for Chamorros. Some deal with Magellan getting lost, others with Marines hitting beaches, and then there are those which imagine the beginning with snakes tempting fruit aficionados in paradise. One creation story that is achieving more and more prominence is the tale of Fu’una and Puntan, which is partially set in the village of Humatak, and it is also the setting for a comic that I have been working on with my brother Jack as part of our Guam Bus creative plans. 
For those unfamiliar with Puntan an…

Our Voices, Our Stories, Our Ocean

Our Voices, Our Stories, Our Ocean
Pacific Literature Conference
May 13-14
University of Guam, Mangilao, Guam

Call for Papers and Presentations
Description of conference and its purpose
Pacific voices and stories have been marginalized in educational spaces throughout the Pacific for too long. However, with the emergence of contemporary Pacific literature since the 1970s, stories and perspectives on Pacific lives have been included in school curricula throughout most of the region (with less prominence in Micronesia). Thus, Our Voices, Our Stories, Our Ocean Pacific Literature Conference aims to provide a venue for Pacific writers and voices to increase awareness about Pacific literature for Pacific educators, students, and writers on Guam and throughout the region.
Moreover, because this conference will take place just two weeks before the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts (FESTPAC) on Guam, the conference’s steering committee encourages participation in this conference so that those i…

Puntan Dos Amantes

This version of the classic Chamorro legend comes courtesy of the Chamorro Studies Division of the Guam Department of Education:


Puntan Dos Amåntes
Åntes na tiempo giya Hagåtña, guaha un sotterita ni’ gof bunita ya todu ha’ gumaiya. Malago’ si nanå-ña yan tatå-ña na siha u inayeki un rikon taotao para asagua-ña.
Lini’e i sotterita ni’ un sindalon Españot ya malago’ na u inasagua. Ha ufresi i sainå-ña meggai na salåppe’. Sigi kumåti i sotterita annai ma sangåni na ayu na taotao para asagua-ña.
Duru sumospiros i sotterita. Tåya’ mas guinaiyå-ña na i lahen Chamorro ni’ sumåsaga gi sengsong. Sinangani as tatå-ña para u maleffa ni’ lahen Chamorro sa’ popble. Tinago’ as nanå-ña na u fanosge sa’ agupa’ ha’ para u asagua. Esta ma disidi na para u asagua yan i sindålun Españot.
Annai maigo’ i dos saina, malågu i sotterita yan i guinaiyå-ña para u attok gi liyang giya Tomhom.
Pumåra i dos un råtu gi halomtåno’ para u deskånsa sa’ mampos yayas. Ginen i chagogo’ ma hungok i es…

Hayi i Mas Paire na Presidente?


Cultural Integrity and Pacific Representations

Earlier this year, as part of the annual Guam International Film Festival or GIFF festivities, longtime juror and supporter of the festival Tom Brislin, who is a professor of film at University of Hawai'i, Manoa gave a presentation on the need for Chamorros to join the larger conversation in the Pacific about preserving cultural intellectual property and also developing an infrastructure to help make future film project in the region more accountable to the lands and the lives of which they are making use. He referred to a number of issues in Hawai'i, New Zealand and Australia, where traditional culture was being snatched up and copyrighted by corporations such as Disney, and how the cultures of the Pacific continued to be portrayed in racist and orientalist ways, which can end up teaching those inside and outside of the Pacific terrible lessons. I really enjoyed his presentation and I'm hoping some students caught onto the conversation he was attempting to start locally.

End of the Year Dreams

Click here to DONATE to support the website Common Dreams!

Here is a sampling of the type of news you can find there. It has been a main source of information for me since ever since. Here is a sample of the news you can find there from just the past week. 


Published on Saturday, December 26, 2015 by Common Dreams 'Whatever It Takes': Okinawa Sues Tokyo in Effort to Block US Base Prefecture's governor vows to take anything necessary to block construction of American military camp by Nadia Prupis, staff writer Okinawa officials on Friday filed a lawsuit against the central Japanese government in a new bid to block the slated construction of a U.S. military base in the prefecture's Henoko region.
"We will do whatever it takes to stop the new Henoko base," Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga said during a press conference Friday. "Okinawa's argument is legitimate, and I believe that it will be certainly understood."

Residents and offic…

"Merry Christmas in Chamorro" from Pale' Eric

So many people ask me this each year, I decided to post a reply from Pale' Eric Forbes from his blog four years ago to save me time. One of these days, I'll make a post of my own and add some other options to the list.
Felis Påsgua
Felis Påsguan Nochebuena
Magof Nochebuena

First of all, not all cultures have an old custom of using specific greetings for special occasions.  The phrase "Merry Christmas" is an American/British custom.  The phrase appeared in some English writings many hundreds of years back, but didn't become popularized till Christmas cards started using them in the early 1800s.  In times past, "merry" meant "pleasant" or "agreeable."  But it also can be understood to mean "tipsy" or "drunk,&quo…

How Guam Stole Christmas

I collect Guam mentions from national and international media and this one has to be one of the more interesting ones I came across this year.


How Guam Stole Christmas
by Kimberly Robinson
December 23, 2015

Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot ... But the Guam officials sued in this Ninth Circuit case, did NOT!

On (the eve of) Christmas Eve, they asked the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and revive their expedited tax refund process that was struck down by the Ninth Circuit in the summer season.
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.

It could be that their heads aren’t screwed on just right.

It could be, perhaps, that their shoes are too tight.

But some think that the most likely reason of all … is that the officials wanted to keep expediting their own refunds while making the majority of Guamanians wait months or even years for their windfall.


Language Life and Death

--> So much of the problems with saving dying languages is that people don't understand how languages live and die. They make assumptions about what makes a language necessary or valuable or what might be killing a language or keeping it alive, and often times those interpretations feel real, but actually bear little connection to reality. People fear that certain things which don't actually threat languages are holding knives to the throats of the language. People who have the abilities to save the language, wait passively for Superman or Maga'lahi Hurao to appear to give them salvation in the form of a curriculum or an app. This is, one of the biggest frustrations of my life recently, is struggling to find ways to revitalize the Chamorro language, but bumping up against so many stubbornly held misconceptions, which have to be challenged, or at least disrupted slightly for any language resurgence to take place. People become too obsessed, conveniently so, with…

Research Paper Buildup

-->  According to my tracking statistics for this blog, a large number of people visit one of these pages based on searches related to Guam and its military buildup. My assumption is that some of these people are journalists looking into the issue, a few more may be scholars, as my blog has been quoted in several dozen academic publications on the topic. The majority are students working on research papers, either in Guam or elsewhere about the major concerns for the military buildup and putting together pro or con arguments. In the spirit of this Christmas and future Christmases, I thought I'd post a couple more articles to help those with future research paper needs. These are a few articles that I've used in papers or presentations to make certain important points.


DEIS rouses youth activism Monday, 11 Jan 2010 05:02am Marianas Variety By Zita Taitano
DYNAMIC young community voices are starting to rise above the public complacency toward the m…