This blog is dedicated to Chamorro issues, the use and revitalization of the Chamoru language and the decolonization of Guam. This also blog aims to inform people around the world about the history, culture and language and struggles of the Chamorro people, who are the indigenous islanders of Guam, Saipan, Tinian, Luta and Pagan in the Mariana Islands. Pues Haggannaihon ha', ya taitai na'ya, ya Si Yu'us Ma'ase para i finatto-mu.
It remains a tragic, frustrating but also telling statistical anomaly that Guam has one of the highest concentrations of US veterans, but ranks amongst the lowest areas in terms of spending by Veterans' Affairs. A few years ago this led to the PBS program American by the Numbers flying out to Guam to do a documentary on what it is like to come from a place that signs up and serves in such high numbers, but does not translate into high levels of spending to thank those who have served for their sacrifices. I am not a patriotic person in any form really, and I do not take much pride in the high levels of military service Chamorros and Guam in general sign up for, but this poor treatment of our local veterans is something that anger and irritates me as well.
Below is an article that discusses an overview of the PBS documentary, which was titled Island of Warriors.
"Guam's Wounded Warriors"
by Marlon Bishop
July 6, 2016
The Guam Museum is open in Hagåtña. Well it is sort of and kind of open. The permanent exhibit text, which I have been helping write for several years now isn't complete, although a temporary exhibit about the history of the Guam Museum has been set up in the meantime. It is strange to have the structure, the physical building finished and mostly ready, but still the museum itself, the story or i hinanao-ta, that it is supposed to represent isn't quite ready. While going through some of my old files on my computer I noted (and was reminded) that Guam didn't have a museum for quite a while. I recall visiting the museum as a young child at the Plaza de Espana and also at Adelup, but for most of my life there has been no national museum on Guam. When my kids were first born, the museum was, interestingly enough just a little annex in the Micronesian Mall that few people even knew existed. The discussion over a museum has been underway for a very long time, although it pains …
For those wanting to learn more about decolonization and independence, the Independent Guåhan is offering Faninåyan meetings or small discussion groups in the
community. If you, your family or your friends want to get more
information, we'll work with you to set up a meeting date and we'll
bring information and resources. The term faninåyan comes from the word
"ina" which means to shine a light on something, but can also be used in
terms of purification and enlightenment. Check out this video for more
information or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd be interested in hosting a faninåyan.
If you were to ask me what type of music is my favorite, I will always say Chamorro music. It isn't really that I like every single Chamorro song, but I will purchase every single Chamorro CD or record I can get my hands on, in order to support one of the main ways that the Chamorro language persisted even during the generations which were quietly trying to silence it by not teaching it to their children. Chamorro musicians deserve far more support and credit than most people give them. They are, within recent Chamorro history, the ones who played the most significant, but unheralded role in keeping the language spoken and alive. While most families did not speak it to their children, collections of singers decided to keep using the language to make music, despite immense pressure to simply sing in English and Americanize the way everything else seemed to be going. Within that collection of musicians a few names stand out more than others. There are those who had their names on th…
After spending a week listening to the stories of Native Americans in Albuquerque and at the Indigenous Comic Con, my mind kept straying back to the story of one Native American woman, Elouise Cobell. As you can see from the articles below, she was a champion in recent Native American struggles to get redress and develop themselves economically after centuries of both abuse and neglect by the United States. She was just awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom although she passed away in 2011. I would have liked to have met her once and sat down and talked to her. What she and others accomplished in terms of suing the US Federal Government was inspirational on so many levels and largely unknown by the wider United States.
Tester Announces Elouise Cobell Honored with Presidential Medal of Freedom
November 16, 2016
(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester today announced that Elouise Cobell has been recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
There has been a small but determined movement to push Chamorros towards tribal/Native American status for a few years now. There are those who believe it to be the best or only path forward for the Chamorro people given the colonial frameworks they are ensnared by. The statement below is from The Chamorro Tribe itself, which has been advocating this in various forms for about a decade (as far as I can tell). This idea resurfaces every couple of years, usually when a politician decides to take up the cause as a way of providing a seemingly simple solution to a very complicated problem, namely decolonization. A few years ago Senator Judith Gutherz was advocating for it. This past year Felix Camacho in his race for non-voting delegate advocated the same thing. I am getting ready to catch a flight and so I can't talk much about this now. But in time I plan to write more. For now here is the statement of the Chairman of the Chamorro Tribe, Frank Schacher. It can be found on their webs…
Gaige yu' giya Albuquerque, New Mexico para este na gefpå'go na dinanña', i fine'nina taiguini un "Indigenous Comic Con." Gof excited yu' put este na oppotunidåt, sa' gi este na såkkan, hami yan i dos che'lu-hu in na'magåhet un hagas na guinifen-måmi anai in na'huyong i fine'nina na kamek yan lepblon-måmi. I na'an i iyon-måmi na kompañia, "The Guam Bus."
Siempre ti meggai na taotaogues Pasifiku gi este na dinanña', lao malago' yu' maneyak meggai put taimanu i otro na klasen natibu ma cho'cho'gue este na bonito lao makkat na cho'cho'.
War reparations is something that hardly receives much attention anymore. It used to be the issue that could make or break a candidate for delegate in Guam. It was something that people pushed for, and always seemed likely to get in some form, but never materialized. War reparations in the Chamorro context, is about compensation for the atrocities, suffering and destruction that Chamorros experienced during World War II at the hands of occupying Japanese forces. Chamorros did receive some compensation for what had happened in the immediate postwar era, but a commission later determined that they were not given enough information or access to those channels of redress and that further compensation should be awarded.
This issue is waning in political importance due to the fact that the war generation is dying out. The number of people who would be eligible for compensation decreases with each year. The impetus is slowly being quashed as time ravages our elders and making the issue appe…
Na'fanlilisto hamyo! Esta mamagi i finakpo'. Esta siña ta lili'e'. Tåya' otro siña masukne para este.
"American and the Abyss"
by Andrew Sullivan
New York Magazine
The most frustrating aspect of the last 12 months has been
the notion that we have been in a normal, if truly ugly, election cycle, with
one extremely colorful and unpredictable figure leading the Republican Party in
an otherwise conventional political struggle over policy. It has been clear for
months now, it seems to me, that this is a delusion. A far more accurate
account of the past year is that an openly proto-fascist cult leader has
emerged to forge a popular movement that has taken over one of the major
political parties, eroded central norms of democratic life, undermined American
democratic institutions, and now stands on the brink of seizing power in
Washington. I made this
argument at length in April, when Donald Trump was on the brink of…