Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Mahalang Yu' Ta'lo

Hu dingu i islå-ku gi ma'pos na simåna ya måtto yu' para Washington D.C.

Achokka' ti gof åpmam i tinaigue-ku, esta gof mahalang yu' nu i tano'-hu.

Ya este na minahalang, ti put i minanengheng guini gi sanlagu.


Monday, September 03, 2018

Inafa'maolek and Civility Discourse

In my Chamorro Studies class last week we were discussing the concept of inafa'maolek, which has become canonized as a central value of Chamoru culture as of late. The term fa'maolek has long been in use, it even occurs in the Garrido Manuscript from 18th century Guam. Inafa'maolek most likely was used as well, but not necessarily as a primal or central concept for defining Chamoru identity or culture. That comes about much more recently, primarily through the work of Robert Underwood when he uses the terms in the 1970s, while trying to define what the Chamoru cosmology of the 19th century was, and what of it had persisted up until the 20th century. 

Inafa'maolek has many meanings, all of them however focus around expressing community through interdependence or through cooperation. It is about working together to sustain a society. It is about humans sustaining nature, sustaining their families and so on. It is a collective concept that is focused on building sustainable, positive and nurturing relationships. It is about helping and preserving. It is an important concept, but it shouldn't be considered the end all of Chamoru possibility. 

There are certain things that inafa'maolek excels at. There are certain things it does very well, but we also should perceive certain limits to it. Inafa'maolek is great at focusing on collective problems that face a community, at maintaining relations within a family. It is something that is best when the power relations are not rigidly or oppressively stratified. It is something beautiful amongst equals, but when power dynamics become skewed, inafa'maolek can lead to problems. It can end up prohibiting agency, precluding change, preventing things from adapting or changing because of a sense of needing to work together or suppress particular voices or ideas in the name of maintaining a sense of harmony. 

Inafa'maolek is something beautiful after a typhoon hits the island. It is something beautiful to see in action at a family function or as families tackle a collective problem. It is something wonderful to teach people in terms of their relationship to the environment. 

But what wisdom do the great tomes of inafa'maolek provide when tackling income inequality? Or concentration of power or wealth in a society? What role does inafa'maolek play or not play in terms of challenging colonial power? Or calling out injustice or righting wrongs in a society? 

As I said, there are many versions of inafa'maolek out there, but most of them would be ill-equipped with tackling things such as this, and those that argue it would, may simply be using inafa'maolek to describe whatever they'd like and not what it usually is. Siña un sångan na ya-hu este, pues este siempre inafa'maolek, lao håfa I setbe-ña enao?

This does not mean that inafa'maolek is bad or wrong, but only that it doesn't and shouldn't encapsulate the entirety of Chamoru culture. That to argue that it does, in many ways inhibits Chamoru agency and possibility. It denies Chamorus basic tools for dealing with basic problems in their families, in their villages and on their island. 

One thing that this reminds me of, is the civility discourse that we find in many struggles or the idea that those seeking to change things in a society, must remain civil in often times ridiculous and unrealistic ways. That those who are protesting violent oppression must remain civil above all else, regardless of the very issues that are affecting them. This article from the New York Times a few months ago definitely struck a chord with me, especially thinking back to Nasion Chamoru and what those activists endured in terms of being stigmatized as taimamahlao. 

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White America's Age-Old, Misguided Obsession With Civility
by Thomas J. Sugrue
Mr. Sugrue is a professor of history and social and cultural analysis and author
New York Times

Recent disruptive protests — from diners at Mexican restaurants in the capital calling the White House adviser Stephen Miller a fascist to protesters in Pittsburgh blocking rush-hour traffic after a police shooting of an unarmed teen — have provoked bipartisan alarm. CNN commentator David Gergen, adviser to every president from Nixon through Clinton, compared the anti-Trump resistance unfavorably to 1960s protests, saying, “The antiwar movement in Vietnam, the civil rights movement in the ’60s and early ’70s, both of those were more civil in tone — even the antiwar movement was more civil in tone, but certainly the civil rights movement, among the people who were protesting.”
But those who say that the civil rights movement prevailed because of civil dialogue misunderstand protest and political change.

This misunderstanding is widespread. Democratic leaders have lashed out at an epidemic of uncivil behavior in their own ranks. In a tweet, the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, denounced both “Trump’s daily lack of civility” and angry liberal responses “that are predictable but unacceptable.” Senator Charles Schumer described the “harassment of political opponents” as “not American.” His alternative: polite debate. “If you disagree with someone or something, stand up, make your voice heard, explain why you think they’re wrong, and why you’re right.” Democrat Cory A. Booker joined the chorus. “We’ve got to get to a point in our country where we can talk to each other, where we are all seeking a more beloved community. And some of those tactics that people are advocating for, to me, don’t reflect that spirit.”

The theme: We need a little more love, a little more King, a dollop of Gandhi. Be polite, be civil, present arguments thoughtfully and reasonably. Appeal to people’s better angels. Take the moral high ground above Trump and his supporters’ low road. Above all, don’t disrupt.

This sugarcoating of protest has a long history. During the last major skirmish in the civility wars two decades ago, when President Bill Clinton held a national conversation about race to dampen tempers about welfare reform, affirmative action, and a controversial crime bill, the Yale law professor Stephen Carter argued that civil rights protesters were “loving” and “civil in their dissent against a system willing and ready to destroy them.” King, argued Carter, “understood that uncivil dialogue serves no democratic function.”

But in fact, civil rights leaders, while they did believe in the power of nonviolence, knew that their success depended on disruption and coercion as much — sometimes more — than on dialogue and persuasion. They knew that the vast majority of whites who were indifferent or openly hostile to the demands of civil rights would not be moved by appeals to the American creed or to bromides about liberty and justice for all. Polite words would not change their behavior.

For King and his allies, the key moment was spring 1963, a contentious season when polite discourse gave way to what many called the “Negro Revolt.” That year, the threat of disruption loomed large. King led a mass demonstration in Birmingham, Ala., deliberately planned to provoke police violence. After the infamous police commissioner Bull Connor sicced police dogs on schoolchildren and arrested hundreds, including King, angry black protesters looted Birmingham’s downtown shopping district. Protesters against workplace discrimination in Philadelphia and New York deployed increasingly disruptive tactics, including blockading construction sites, chaining themselves to cranes, and clashing with law enforcement officials. Police forces around the United States began girding for what they feared was an impending race war.

Whites both North and South, moderate and conservative, continued to denounce advocates of civil rights as “un-American” and destructive throughout the 1960s. Agonized moderates argued that mass protest was counterproductive. It would alienate potential white allies and set the goal of racial equality back years, if not decades. Conservatives more harshly criticized the movement. National Review charged “King and his associates” with “deliberately undermining the foundations of internal order in this country. With their rabble-rousing demagogy, they have been cracking the ‘cake of custom’ that holds us together.” By 1966, more than two-thirds of Americans disapproved of King.

King aimed some of his harshest words toward advocates of civility, whose concerns aligned with the hand-wringing of many of today’s politicians and pundits. From his Birmingham jail cell, King wrote: “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’.” King knew that whites’ insistence on civility usually stymied civil rights.

Those methods of direct action — disruptive and threatening — spurred the Kennedy administration to move decisively. On June 11, the president addressed the nation on the “fires of frustration and discord that are burning in every city, North and South, where legal remedies are not at hand.” Kennedy, like today’s advocates of civility, was skeptical of “passionate movements.” He criticized “demonstrations, parades and protests which create tensions and threaten violence and threaten lives,” and argued, “it is better to settle these matters in the courts than on the streets.” But he also had to put out those fires. He tasked his staff with drafting what could eventually become the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Dialogue was necessary but far from sufficient for passage of civil rights laws. Disruption catalyzed change.

That history is a reminder that civility is in the eye of the beholder. And when the beholder wants to maintain an unequal status quo, it’s easy to accuse picketers, protesters, and preachers alike of incivility, as much because of their message as their methods. For those upset by disruptive protests, the history of civil rights offers an unsettling reminder that the path to change is seldom polite.

Correction: 
A previous version of this piece misstated Bull Connor’s title. He was a police commissioner, not the police chief.

Thomas J. Sugrue is professor of history and social and cultural analysis at New York University.


Sunday, September 02, 2018

Delegated Authority

The recent primary election on Guam had very few surprises. Lou and Josh were the favorites to win the Democratic primary. They did win, although it has been a surprise thus far how slim the margin was. Despite the huge gap in spending between the Lou and Josh and Frank and Alicia camps, Lou and Josh won by less than 300 votes.

The closeness of the race was not the biggest upset however, that prize goes to Senator Mike San Nicolas' win over incumbent Madeleine Bordallo in the primary for Democratic candidate for the non-voting position in the US Congress. Bordallo has served in the position for 16 years and has long been a fixture in Democratic politics on island. While San Nicolas has his own loyal base of followers and voters, many felt that the tension he has sometimes created within the party, in particular with his fellow senators and party leaders, would hurt his chances at unseating Bordallo. The race was close, but ultimately San Nicolas prevailed.

San Nicolas will face off against former Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks in November. It'll be interesting to see who will win. Håyi pau fanggåna gi este na karera? 

Dr. Vivian Dames' dissertation has a chapter on the non-voting delegate position, focusing on the first three Chamoru men to hold it, Tony Won Pat, Ben Blaz and Robert Underwood. It is a fascinating read, because part of the way she makes her argument is to give each of these men a label or a nickname to help us understand their role or their place. What they accomplished or how they were perceived. For example Won Pat was in many ways a deal maker. Through his relationships with powerful congressional leaders he was able to get Guam included in many pieces of legislation. He was small in stature and minute in terms of apparent political power, but through his relationships with other congresspeople, he was able to accomplish a great deal for Guam.

Blaz was the general, since his military service defined him in so many ways, including with his attitude and approach to others. Getting an accurate portrait of Congressman Blaz has always been difficult as I've gone about my research since for many people who worked with him or around him, his personality was difficult to negotiate. When I interviewed people who worked in his office while in DC, they all praised him in certain ways, but were also guarded in assessing him as well, perhaps because of ways they may have clashed with him or felt his ego made him less effective.

Despite any of this, Blaz did use his background as a military officer in order to further build relationships, especially with other congressmen who had served in the military. Despite his minute political status, Blaz brought an air of dignity to the office.

Dames refers to Underwood as the storyteller or the teacher. Underwood entered Congress at a time when things were changing, when the current era of hyper partisanship was being born. The days of Newt Gingrich and the impeachment of Clinton. Underwood distinguished himself in those days by being articulate, witty and telling effective stories. As someone known in Congress for being able to turn a phrase or two, he was valued within his party because of his ability to speak effectively in debate and on various issues, not just those pertaining to Guam.

What nickname would Bordallo receive from her term in office? When I have asked people, one answer that I have gotten is that she is the hostess, because of her office being well known for holding Liberation Day parties as a means of building relationships with other officers in Congress. Over the past ten years when I've interviewed people in and out of Congress, this is always something that they bring up as defining her time there, her use of cultural dancing and Chamoru food to building friendships with elected leaders and their staffers. Elements of this existed under the previous delegates, but everyone I've spoken to seems to feel that Bordallo did it better than the rest.

The question for someone like Mike San Nicolas or Doris Flores Brooks will be, how will they define their time in Washington? What will they do in order to stand out or to make connections? As each of the previous delegates can tell you, it goes beyond your rhetoric or your own expectations. You are thrust into a space where the chief currency is votes and your pockets are empty. I will never forget what Robert Underwood told me on the eve of his own retirement from the office after he lost to Felix Camacho in 2002 in a race for government. As a non-voting delegate to Congress, you aren't actually there to represent anything, your position doesn't really give you that power, you are more than anything there to act as a reminder to the federal government that it controls Guam's fate and that it can make things in the colonial corners of the US better or worse. You are the reminders, the temporary remedy for the political amnesia of the supposed greatest democracy in the world.

I wonder how either of these candidates would fare.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

August 2018 GA - Does Size Matter?


Independent Guåhan's August Meeting will honor the late Ricky Bordallo and tackle the question “Does Size Matter?” in terms of island development

For Immediate Release, August 20, 2018 
Independent Guåhan (IG) invites the public to attend our August General Assembly (GA) on Thursday, August 30th, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Main Pavilion of the Chamorro Village in Hatña. The event will focus on how Guåhan can be successful and prosperous as an independent country, and that being a small island does not truly hold us back.

At each GA, Independent Guåhan honors a maga’taotao: a notable figure that has helped guide the island and the Chamoru people on their quest for self-determination. This month, IG will be honoring the legacy of the late governor of Guåhan, Ricardo “Ricky” Bordallo. Bordallo served in ILiheslaturan Guåhan seven times and was elected twice as Guåhan’s governor. He was a strong believer in Guåhan, that its people were capable of great things, and that our status as a small island in the Pacific was not a limitation. 

In this spirit, he once famously said "This land, tiny as it is, belongs to us, just as surely, just as inseparably, as we belong to it. No tragedy of history or declaration of conquest, no legalistic double-talk, can change that fact. Guam is our legacy. Is it for sale? How can one sell a national birthright?” Independent Guåhan is proud to honor the legacy of the late Governor Bordallo in our August GA. 

The educational focus for the GA will probe the question “Does Size Matter?” when it comes to islands and their opportunities for prosperity. IG will provide some answers to this question by looking at other small countries around the world and examining their approaches to economic and diplomatic development: in what ways have they used their political independence to capitalize on their advantages and minimize their disadvantages? What can Guåhan learn from these models? This GA intends to refocus the conversation by showing that it is not the size of your land or economy that determines your prosperity, but, instead, the policies that are implemented. 


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

United Natives Against Bureaucratic Miasma

I first traveled to the United Nations to testify in 2007. I testified along with two other Marie Auyong and Rima Miles before the Fourth Committee on the situation in Guam. We came in the wake of a larger delegation the year before which featured Victoria Leon Guerrero, Julian Aguon, Sabina Perez, Fanai Castro, Tiffany Lacsado and Kerri Ann Borja. That trip represented a big moment in sort of post-nation Chamoru/Angel Santos activism in Guam and the diaspora. The trip first came from a conference in San Diego that I along with a few others had organized in April 2006 about decolonization and Chamoru issues. It was, as far as any of us could tell, the first of its kind in the diaspora. The gathering of so many critical and conscious Chamorus in one place led to a great number of things, one of which was a period of new engagement around the United Nations.

Chamorus had been traveling on and off to the UN since 1982. There were high points, usually when the Government of Guam wanted to try to shame the US about something or draw more attention to something the US was ignoring, but for the most part, only one or two people, or no one would travel to the UN to testify. That trip in 2006 wasn't organized by anyone with government of Guam connections, but rather activists either raised in the diaspora or just in the states for school, who wanted to draw attention to the military buildup that had been announced back home.

2006 was a high point, as the group met with countries and UN officials, who were all eager to see some activity in Guam again around decolonization. The first year I attended was simply a placeholder, a reminder that even if we hadn't returned with the same intensity, we were still there and did not want to be dismissed or forgotten. I hadn't even planned on testifying, but was asked at the last minute and ended up flying out with just a day or two notice.

Another larger group returned in 2008, but even in my short time within the UN infrastructure I was struck by a number of things. Once the luster and grandness of the place wore off, you were left with a hollowness, especially coming from a colony. As I wrote in my dissertation, the UN gift shop was a particularly depressing spectacle, as flags from nearly every UN member were there, but none for the colonies.

As much as testifying there before the Fourth Committee was exciting, it was also depressing in a larger and more profound way. In that huge building, in that huge organization, the presence of Chamorus was relegated to an almost microscopic quality. Whereas many nations in the world are small, they are still treated with a bare minimum level of equality by virtue of their country status. They are there in all the halls and offices in some way or another. Their interests persist in small or large ways.

This was not the case for colonies. In those first steps walking through the valley of the UN framework, up until more recently, there was a resistance to Guam being a part of the UN mandate beyond the Fourth Committee and its role in overseeing decolonization. This wasn't just my experience, but that of others as well.

When Chamorus attempted to testify before the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues they were told that they weren't indigenous and that their issue lay before the Fourth Committee. Inquiries to other offices in the UN that dealt with discrimination or human rights were given the same answers.

The first point of resistance was the idea that for a colony, since it has no sovereignty or no real place at the UN, its presence there is continent upon the consent of the administering power or the colonizer. So when I asked why the UN doesn't undertake particular programs in Guam, they said that they need permission or a request from the US first. When I asked how Guam could get a UN visiting mission, again the answer was that a request from the US needed to be made. So to this point, the UN was resisting Guam gaining any further role there beyond the Fourth Committee, because of the principle of respecting state sovereignty and that unnecessarily infringing upon it, even in the name of something universal like decolonization. In fact, the only reason that Guam is even an issue on the Fourth Committee at all, is because the US listed it under international pressure following World War II. The US has then spent many a moment in the decades since trying to get Guam off the list, so it no longer has to answer for why this bastion of freedom still has colonies.

Beyond this however was a second type of resistance and that stemmed simply from bureaucratic apathy. Guam is a distant place for most people in the US, and for the UN as well, it is a distant afterthought. Bringing programs to it would mean expending resources, would mean doing extra work beyond what it already does. This is the anathema to the average bureaucrat's existence. So a lot of times when I and others were told that Guam was not eligible or could not be included, it wasn't true. It was simply bureaucrats reminding us that it is less work to close doors than open them.

But things have been changing. The passage of the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples helped change things so that Chamorus can now have an easier time of being included in the UN as indigenous people. Visiting missions to colonies do not require the consent of the colonizer, but can happen in the absence of their explicit consent. With more lobbying at the UN, in different office and different levels, Guam can gain more prominence, but it does mean pushing back against the apathy that prevents any real change from taking place.

Next week there will be a report back at UOG titled "United Natives" and it will focus on some of the new opportunities that young activists are creating at the UN and elsewhere. It'll take place on Thursday, August 23rd from 6-8 pm.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Water from the Stone of CNMI Sovereignty

Next month I'll be back in Washington D.C. to resume my research about federal territorial relations that I began last year. Much of my focus last year was on Guam and its commonwealth movement, but as I conducted interviews and sifted through files, I also found more and more references to the commonwealth of the CNMI as well and found its evolution and devolution to be even more fascinating. Even just the contrast of reading about what has taken place there for the past few decades in federal documents versus local government is striking. Take for example when a number of sovereignty provisions that had been negotiated through the commonwealth were lost about ten years ago. This process was referred to the in CNMI as a "federalization," akin to a takeover by the federal government. Within the federal government however it was referred to as as normalizing of a relationship, whereby those provisions were considered to be only temporary and would eventually be done away with once the CNMI had experienced some economic development. It is so intriguing to see one side argue that something was never set in stone, but always fluid like water, while the other states it was set in stone and either we lost the stone or someone grabbed it and smashed most of it.

I look forward to returning to this research. It has put me back in the mood for reading about the garment industry that the CNMI once boasted. Here is an article from 2005 in the Saipan Tribune that I came across recently.

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The rise and fall of the garment industry in the CNMI
by Jesus D. Camacho
Saipan Tribune
May 17, 2005
https://www.saipantribune.com/index.php/a360ee58-1dfb-11e4-aedf-250bc8c9958e/

According to the Tan Holdings Corp. website, Dr. Tan Siu Lin and his family brought THC to Guam in the early ‘70s and embarked on a variety of businesses: shipping, real estate, amusement, and movie distribution. Approximately six years after THC began conducting business in the Marianas, the Northern Marianas Islands became a bona fide Commonwealth in 1978.

Approximately five years after the CNMI came into existence, the Tan Siu Lin family made the decision to move the corporate headquarters from Guam to the CNMI in 1983. Subsequent to relocating to the Commonwealth, THC began to grow and become an extremely diversified and multifaceted corporation handling the gamut in terms of different businesses—garment manufacturing, shipping, freight forwarding, fishing, financing, real estate, ground handling, amusement, travel, wholesale, hotels, insurance, and publishing—which generated economic activity that bolstered the economies of the entire Marianas chain, as well as other island communities in the Pacific Rim, e.g., Palau, Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and others.

Today, THC is considered by many in the business sector, local and federal government, as well as residents of the island community, to be the strongest contributor in terms of generating monetary resources and economic activity in the CNMI and throughout the Pacific Rim, and has allowed for the opportunity for the CNMI economy to flourish and provide the residents with a more enhanced and decent quality of life.

Following THC’s move to the CNMI, then Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio and the 3rd Legislature under the leadership of the late Senate President Oly Borja and House Speaker Benigno Fitial in 1983 began discussions with THC chair Dr. Tan Siu Lin and his son, Willie Tan, regarding the development of a garment manufacturing industry in the CNMI. Shortly thereafter, the abovementioned gentlemen were instrumental, as well as successful, in terms of encouraging and attracting Asian garment manufacturers to commence operations on Saipan under specific terms and conditions. It did not take long for the garment manufacturers who set up shop in the CNMI to become competitive with other countries involved with the garment industry, e.g., China, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Mexico. (Interestingly enough, these are the very countries that have now displaced the CNMI in terms of garment production and manufacturing worldwide.)

The positives regarding the economic benefits of the garment industry in the CNMI clearly outweigh the negatives. Substantiating the positives are comments made by organizations and individuals, e.g., the Bank of Hawaii Economic Report of 2003 released in 2004 for the CNMI, as well as the Saipan Apparel Industry Report released in 2004. The BoH Economic Report of 2003 stated that “the involvement of the garment industry in the Commonwealth made it the most self-sufficient U.S. affiliated economy in the western Pacific.” In addition, the report indicated that “the garment industry should be credited with preventing an economic depression in the CNMI following the decline of its tourist industry during the Asian economic crisis during the 1990’s.”

Prior to 1992, the data collection and monitoring of how much the garment industry was producing in terms of Gross Business Revenues—as well as in Direct General Fund Garment Revenues, which collectively combined user fees, income taxes, NRW fees, and BGR Taxes—was almost non-existent. Thus, the actual amount of total funding given to the CNMI government in the form of taxes and fees from the inception of the garment industry in 1983 and up until the early 1990s was based essentially on projections.

The economic benefit to the CNMI from the garment manufacturers coming from the various fees and taxes to the government from the onset of the industry in 1983 until 1993 is estimated to be in the vicinity of about $250 million. And for the following decade, according to the BoH 2003 Economic Report, the total direct payment of garment revenues to the CNMI government—which incorporated user fees, income taxes and other fees from 1994 through 2003—was roughly $435 million. The amount of monetary resources generated by the garment manufacturing industry substantiated what the Bo H report said, “The Commonwealth in effect enhanced its comparative economic advantage.”
Combining all of the taxes and fees submitted by the garment industry to the CNMI government over the past 22 years (1983 through 2003) is just shy of three quarters of a billion dollars. Clearly, the garment industry has been a key economic component for the CNMI and the entire Pacific Rim region and should be given credit for being a catalyst in terms of giving the residents of the island community a better quality of life.

The Garment Industry Report explained the ramifications of the “multiplier effect” regarding business revenues, employment, and income collectively, which was in the vicinity of $135 million in 1995 and $325 million in 2004.

The spending of disposable income by garment workers and the payment of taxes and fees to the government and the organizations who contribute to the island economy, e.g., small business, has for over two decades played a significantly large role in terms of keeping the economic cycle of the island community moving and thriving.

The net result from the multiplier effect was the creation several thousand direct government and private sector jobs outside the apparel industry in the CNMI. This, coupled with the tourism residuals, has kept the CNMI relatively strong in terms of the overall island economy.

According to the report generated by Burger & Comer for the Saipan Garment Manufacturers Association in October 2000, the number of people in the employ of the garment industry was estimated to be nearly 18,000, i.e., around 1,800 CNMI residents and about 16,000 non-resident aliens.

The only negative with respect to the income earned by the workers of the garment industry is the amount that is sent back to their countries, e.g., China, Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, etc. Clearly, the income that goes out does not help the economic health and well-being of the CNMI.
Since the enactment of the General Agreement for Tariffs and Trade by the World Trade Organization in January 2005, the total number of workers in the garment industry in the CNMI has been reduced substantially. The estimation of workers in the garment industry is said to have plummeted by several thousand workers over the past six months. By the end of 2005, it is projected that more than three-fourths of the estimated 18,000 workers will be unemployed and without hope or sustenance to maintain a livelihood.

The Garment Industry Economic Report identified more than $135 million in direct economic impact provided by the garment industry workers. The report also stated that the garment industry is a major factor in the CNMI’s economy. This assertion is in direct conflict with what Gov. Juan Babauta recently told the media in May 2005 at the CNMI Department of Commerce regarding the garment industry.

In May 2005, Gov. Juan Babauta talked to the Department of Commerce personnel. Several questions were posed regarding the garment industry. Babauta was asked, “What is the administration doing to help the garment industry stay on island?”

Babauta’s response was, “They are going to shut down anyways and their contribution is not really a significant portion of the budget. We could survive without their revenue besides, they cost more than they generate for the government. We could run a smaller government without them.”

Babauta’s comment about the economic benefit of the garment industry to the CNMI government reflects a governor who is out of touch with fiscal realities. Based on a total government budget of $217 million, the total direct revenues from the garment industry is roughly $70 million or 30 percent of the total. How can nearly one-third of the budget be construed as “insignificant”?

If the garment industry is making a contribution to the budget of about one-third and is clearly a significant contributor of revenues, then the comment that Babauta made about surviving without the industry and it costing more than what they generate reflects a governor that does not understand what the true impact of the garment industry has been in the past and is to the CNMI government in the present day.

Another question posed was, “If the garment companies leave and the workers do not want to go, does the government become responsible for their benefits, e.g., food, housing, medical, return ticket? Babauta’s response was, “Where does it say the government has to take over responsibility—they have to go!”

The comments by Babauta reflect an elected governor who is not compassionate and appreciative of the garment industry and the workers who played a role in assisting their employers in making monetary payments to the tune of nearly a billion dollars to the CNMI government over a 22-year span of time. Turning his back on the industry and the workers shows Babauta’s true sentiments regarding the quest for survival of the industry and their workers.

Although there is no legislation saying there is any obligation to assist the garment workers, there should perhaps be more sensitivity and respect shown and expressed publicly and privately in terms of their displacement. And since nearly 2,000 garment workers are CNMI residents, the governor should provide some support in helping the displaced workers become acclimated back into the workforce to make a living.

To not show openly any support for the resident and nonresident garment workers, reflects leadership that is uncaring and oblivious to the people who worked painstakingly for long hours for very low wages for over two decades in the CNMI.

Since the industry has been a benefit and not a detriment economically, there should never be a nonchalant attitude about the industry and/or the garment workers who worked painstakingly to produce garments and allow the companies they worked for to compete with other garment manufacturers in the international marketplace.

Currently, Babauta is face to face with the unpleasant prospect of trying to confront the real issues surrounding the garment workers that are unemployed and stranded in the CNMI with no job, money, and encouragement from the designated political leader of the Commonwealth. His only solution thus far has been to say “leave”.

What will Babauta convey to the garment industry officials and the workers next? The island community will soon find out at his State of the Commonwealth speech slated for May 19, 2005.
Will the governor blame previous governors for not creating a sensible and systematic plan to deal with the nearly 18,000 displaced workers employed by the garment industry and the companies which will inevitably go out of business if the U.S. Tariff Code is not changed to assist the CNMI in remaining competitive in the garment industry globally? If he decides to, then he might get a stern rebuttal from the four former governors of the CNMI.

For nearly four years, the Babauta administration has done virtually nothing in terms of creating a viable and pragmatic “exit strategy” for both the companies and their workers. The problems that need to be resolved are serious and will no doubt elicit some tension throughout the entire island community. Organization development experts would describe the situation to be the essence of “crisis management.”

And to make matters even worse, Babauta and the anti-business proponents who are opposed to the garment industry have not stepped forward with alternatives to replace the garment industry, revenues to the government, as well as the positive economic impact on the island economy from the disposable income that is spent by those workers in the garment firms. In effect, they “watched what happened” to the garment industry and now Gov. Babauta is “wondering what happened” and what to do about it.

Babauta knew going into the governor’s office in January 2002 that at the onset of 2005, the GATT would go into effect and effectively dismantle the garment industry in the CNMI because it could not compete with countries like China, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Mexico.
The expression goes, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” The garment industry helped feed and sustain the economic base of the CNMI for nearly a quarter of a century. Now Gov. Juan Babauta is biting their hand when they are the ones who are hungry and struggling to survive amid the rapid dismantling and demise of the industry.

Babauta has not stepped up to the plate and shown support for a key remedy for the dilemma of the garment industry, i.e., amend General Note (3a) (iv) to grant U.S. insular possessions equivalent treatment to free trade partners by extending to all products, including textile and apparel, the current requirement that eligible products contain at least 30 percent U.S. and local content.

In addition, Babauta has not shown any strong public support for the amendment of the U.S. Tariff Code to allow foreign content to be increased from 50 to 70 percent and enable garment firms in the CNMI to cut pieces overseas at a lower cost and be able to assemble in the CNMI and remain a viable player in the garment industry internationally.

The U.S. Department of the Interior, in their findings regarding the effect of the loss of the garment industry said, “If the garment industry leaves the CNIU for whatever reason in the next few years, it could take with it one-half of the jobs in the CNMI, including one-third of the jobs of permanent residents.” The Interior Department also recommended that every effort be made to avoid an abrupt or disorderly phase-out of this industry and to retain the more productive segments of the industry as long as possible.

It does not appear that Babauta has taken to heart the serious recommendation made by the Department of the Interior regarding the current dismantling and demise of the garment industry in the CNMI. Not doing so is making a grave mistake that will negatively impact everything across the board.

Small and big businesses in the private sector are the heart and soul of every economy in a “free enterprise system.” They are the integral components in terms of producing monetary resources, which will directly and indirectly help stabilize the economy. When you take away the business element, you take away the lifeblood of an economy regardless of where it is geographically.
Whether it is the CNMI or federal government, a government cannot function effectively and adequately and maintain solvency and stability without the influx and contribution of tax dollars and/or fees that come from the business sector. To think that a government in a capitalistic system can do without the financial input of the business sector is naïve and puerile reasoning. The question now that should be posed is: “What will Gov. Babauta propose to fill the void that the garment industry will leave in the CNMI?” To not provide an answer to this extremely important question will be on the minds of the electorate as they approach and enter the voting booth in November 2005.

Dr. Jesus D. Camacho
Delano, California

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Iya Hagåtña

Infotmasion put i siudat (mismo songsong, lao i maga'songsong para i Islan Guåhan) gi Fino' Chamoru. Hu tuge' este para un curriculum project dos años tåtte. Ya-hu bei na'huyong guini lokkue', sa' hu Tango' na guaha estudiante pat otro e'eyak ni' sesso manmambisisita guini gi este na blog, ya ma kekealigao este na klasen tiningo'.

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Put iya Hagåtña

Guåhan i mås dångkolo’ na isla gi islas Marianas. Hagåtña i kapitåt na siudat. Gaige meggai na ofisinan gobietno giya Hagåtña. Gaige lokkue’ i gima’ i Gobietno yan i
Lihelaturan Guåhan.

I Plåsa de España mahåtsa desdi i tiempon Españot; manggaige guihi i kosas yan estorian i manmasusedi gi duranten i tiempon Españot. Gaige i Plåsa gi fiʹon i gimaʹyuʹos Dulce de Maria Cathedral-Basilica.  Dångkolo’ este na gumaʹyuʹos ya ma silelebra i gipot Santa Marian Kamalen gi diha ocho gi Disembre guini. Dångkolo’ este na silebrasion giya Guahan. I hinenggen Katoliko gi tiempon Españot  ha gof tulaika i hinengge yan kottura gi entre i Chamorro siha. Mas di kuattro sientos años i Españot ha okupa i Islas Marianas. Meggai na tradision yan kustombre gi Chamorro påʹgo ginen este na hestoria.  

Guaha siha latte manmahåtsa giya Hagåtna kuentan plåsa ni mafaʹnaʹan Latte Stone Park.  I latte ha represesenta i antigu na kotturan Chamorro. I acho latte kuentan haligen guma’ gi antigu na guma’ Chamorro. Matulaika i naʹan este na plåsa gi dos mit singko (2005) na såkkan ya mafaʹnaʹan påʹgo, Senator Angel Leon Guerrero Santos Memorial Park. Machoʹgue este para u ma onra i bidå-ña siha para u abånsa i direchon i ManChamorro gi tanoʹ-ñiha. Guiya lokkue’ munaʹmaestabblisa i Kumision para i Chamorro Land Trust na lai.

I otro na lugåt giya Hagåtña ni sesso mafatoigue ni ManChamorro yan ayu siha i manmanbisisita giya Guåhan, I Sengsong Chamorro, Chamorro Village;  ma’åʹagang lokkue’ I Sagan Dinanña, “the Gathering Place.”  Ma håtsa este na fasilidåt ginen i inapreban Siñot Magaʹlåhi as Joseph Ada yan i Liheslaturan Guåhan gi mit nuebe siento ochenta (1980).  I tutuhon-ña para metkao para i manlanchero siha. Lao påʹgo sagan kosas kotturan Guåhan yan minagof Chamorro. Kada Mietkoles, guaha “Puengen Metkao”. Differentes na klasen nengkånno’ manmabebende; guaha lokkue’ dåndan yan baila para todu i taotao ni manmåfatto.  Este na siña un liʹe yan un eksperensia i kotturan Chamorro. 


Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Na'lå'la': Songs of Freedom Vol. 2

Imagine a Decolonized Future for Guåhan at Independent Guåhan’s “Na’lå’la’: Songs of Freedom Vol. 2” Concert on July 4th.

For Immediate Release, June 20, 2018 – Each July 4th the island commemorates the independence day of the United States, despite the fact that Guåhan remains its colony. On that day last year Independent Guåhan organized the concert “Na’lå’la’: Songs of Freedom,” which was attended by more than 600 people. Independent Guåhan is proud to announce Volume 2 in their concert series, to take place on July 4th from 3-6 pm in the front field at Adelup. This event is free and open to the public.

Independent Guåhan is an organization that is committed to educating the island community about the importance of Guåhan’s decolonization and the possibilities should it become an independent country. The organization has spent the past two years organizing General Assemblies, village meetings, teach-ins, petition drives, coffee shop conversations and podcasts. The Na’lå’la’ concert series represents another strategy for educating the people of Guåhan about their political future, through the use of art, poetry and music.

A dozen young artists and bands will be performing under the theme of “Music, Poetry, Knowledge and Freedom.” Confirmed performers include Ben “Lamlam” San Nicolas, Maseha Håfa, Andrew Gumataotao, Trey Cunningham, JDinnaWAVE, Primitiva Muña and others. Each performance will connect to the overall theme of freedom, liberation and the working to create a better, and more independent future for Guåhan. In addition to the live performances, there will be informational booths, providing educational materials from various community groups.

This Fourth of July, Independent Guåhan again invites the island community to come together to not celebrate the independence of another, but rather reflect on the need for our own decolonization. 

 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

IG June 2018 June GA


Independent Guåhan will honor the legacy of Richard Flores Taitano and discuss reforming local government in June GA

Independent Guåhan (IG) invites the public to attend their June General Assembly (GA) on Thursday, June 28, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at the Main Pavilion of the Chamorro Village in Hagåtña. The educational focus for the evening will be on how Guåhan’s government can be radically reformed in an effort to provide more checks and balances and participation for the island’s residents.

Media coverage and social media chatter provide regular reminders of Government of Guam corruption and malfeasance. Many feel that the levels of corruption are so high that they provide an obstacle to ever achieving independence. In this month’s GA, Independent Guåhan will discuss ways that the government of a decolonized Guåhan could be reformed to reduce corruption and also provide more means by which people can participate in the functioning of their democracy. Models from other Pacific Island nations and indigenous groups in the Americas will be discussed as providing possibilities that would enable the government in an independent Guåhan to be more closely aligned with Chamoru cultural values.

At each GA, Independent Guåhan honors a maga’taotao: a notable figure that has helped guide the island and the Chamoru people on their quest for self-determination. This month, IG will be honoring the legacy of the late Richard Flores Taitano who left a lasting mark on island politics. Taitano was a member of the postwar generation of leaders who helped guide Guåhan to what it is today. He was well known from a young age for his intelligence and articulation and this served him well as a six-time senator, a pioneer in Democratic Party strategy and politics and the first Chamoru to ever work as the director of the Office of Territories of the Department of the Interior. As a senator he introduced a bill that created the Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC), and after his death, it was renamed in his honor. Dick Taitano dedicated his life to the promotion and preservation of Chamoru heritage, and Independent Guåhan is proud to honor his legacy.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Ma ayuyuda i manåmko'

Some images I took from the Ayuda i Mañainå-ta Dos event last month. There is a full album available on Independent Guåhan's Facebook page. I was glad to be able to help so many elderly people with their war claims forms, but I could not help but feel upset over my own grandparents not being eligible as they passed away in 2013 and 2015.

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I have spent the past few weeks meeting with people who are running for political office here in Guam this year. Some for senator, some for governor. This year promises to be an exciting one in terms of campaigns and candidates. With five teams running for governor (4 Democrats and 1 Republican). More than 80 packets for senatorial candidates have been picked up, with only 15 possible seats in the legislature. Mampos meggai na månnok manmalålagu gi kånton guma'!


What is different this year however is not just the amount of candidates, but also the diversity in terms of their background. More and more, people are running for office who haven't been in formal government service before. They haven't worked in a political machine. They are outsiders, activists, educators, working class people, lawyers, professionals, veterans, journalists and more. The question remains however, and I will acknowledge from the very start of the conversation, that there is nothing intrinsically better in terms of electing insiders or outsiders. Those who come from within a system can have knowledge to keep it running well or reform it. Those who come from without may have new ideas or not be enamored or bogged down with institutional loyalty or dependency. But at the same time, outsiders struggle to navigate systems they may have disdained before or just wish would evaporate and insiders may not even be able imagine past the limits into which they were born.

Insiders or outsiders, both have things to offer, your support for one or another may have alot to do with where you see yourself in relation to larger structures of power and society. For example, many white uneducated Americans may have voted for Trump, wanting to send an outsider to Washington D.C. to destroy the swampy system of the federal government. But in truth, their perception and identity as people outside of the system has little relevance to their relationship to that system. In truth, far more than any other group, those white Americans are greatly served by the existing system. It supports them and privileges them far more than any others. We saw this in terms of Republican attempts to destroy Obamacare. While most of Trump's supporters felt that system was against them or hurting them, in truth it helped make sure that more poor Americans got access to health care and couldn't be denied health care because of pre-existing conditions.

In thinking about this issue, I am drawn back to my freshman philosophy discussions on what makes someone ethical or moral. I still remember when I first took a philosophy class and read ancient Greek philosopher such as Socrates and Plato and their discussions. All cultures have these discussions, and while within the West, we are supposed to look to those thinkers as crafting the thoughts that became the glue to hold together the foundation of universality, but that's all bullshit really. As any historian can tell you, even within just the East - West paradigm, you find intellectual trajectories that run parallel in these civilizations even if they weren't actively talking to each other. If anyone thinks that the Greeks invented democracy, they simply don't know much about the history of the world at all. But nonetheless texts such as this represented my first steps into really thinking about those philosophical issues. I was intrigued them and remain interested in the notion of a "philosopher-king" especially in the time of Trump.

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The Republic “The Philosopher King”
Plato

Inasmuch as philosophers only are able to grasp the eternal and unchangeable, and those who wander in the region of the many and variable are not philosophers, I must ask you which of the two classes should be the rulers of our State?

And how can we rightly answer that question?

Whichever of the two are best able to guard the laws and institutions of our State--let them be our guardians.

Very good.

Neither, I said, can there be any question that the guardian who is to keep anything should have eyes rather than no eyes?

There can be no question of that.

And are not those who are verily and indeed wanting in the knowledge of the true being of each thing, and who have in their souls no clear pattern, and are unable as with a painter's eye to look at the absolute truth and to that original to repair, and having perfect vision of the other world to order the laws about beauty, goodness, justice in this, if not already ordered, and to guard and preserve the order of them--are not such persons, I ask, simply blind?

Truly, he replied, they are much in that condition.

And shall they be our guardians when there are others who, besides being their equals in experience and falling short of them in no particular of virtue, also know the very truth of each thing?

There can be no reason, he said, for rejecting those who have this greatest of all great qualities; they must always have the first place unless they fail in some other respect. Suppose, then, I said, that we determine how far they can unite this and the other excellences.

By all means.

In the first place, as we began by observing, the nature of the philosopher has to be ascertained. We must come to an understanding about him, and, when we have done so, then, if I am not mistaken, we shall also acknowledge that such a union of qualities is possible, and that those in whom they are united, and those only, should be rulers in the State.

What do you mean?

Let us suppose that philosophical minds always love knowledge of a sort which shows them the eternal nature not varying from generation and corruption.

Agreed.

And further, I said, let us agree that they are lovers of all true being; there is no part whether greater or less, or more or less honorable, which they are willing to renounce; as we said before of the lover and the man of ambition.

True.

And if they are to be what we were describing, is there not another quality which they should also possess?

What quality?

Truthfulness: they will never intentionally receive into their minds falsehood, which is their detestation, and they will love the truth.

Yes, that may be safely affirmed of them.

"May be." my friend, I replied, is not the word; say rather, "must be affirmed:" for he whose nature is amorous of anything cannot help loving all that belongs or is akin to the object of his affections.

Right, he said.

And is there anything more akin to wisdom than truth?

How can there be?

Can the same nature be a lover of wisdom and a lover of falsehood?

Never.

The true lover of learning then must from his earliest youth, as far as in him lies, desire all truth?

Assuredly.

But then again, as we know by experience, he whose desires are strong in one direction will have them weaker in others; they will be like a stream which has been drawn off into another channel.

True.
He whose desires are drawn toward knowledge in every form will be absorbed in the pleasures of the soul, and will hardly feel bodily pleasure--I mean, if he be a true philosopher and not a sham one.

That is most certain.

Such a one is sure to be temperate and the reverse of covetous; for the motives which make another man desirous of having and spending, have no place in his character.

Very true.

Another criterion of the philosophical nature has also to be considered.

What is that?

There should be no secret corner of illiberality; nothing can be more antagonistic than meanness to a soul which is ever longing after the whole of things both divine and human.

Most true, he replied.

Then how can he who has magnificence of mind and is the spectator of all time and all existence, think much of human life?

He cannot.

Or can such a one account death fearful?

No, indeed.

Then the cowardly and mean nature has no part in true philosophy?

Certainly not.

Or again: can he who is harmoniously constituted, who is not covetous or mean, or a boaster, or a coward--can he, I say, ever be unjust or hard in his dealings?

Impossible.

Then you will soon observe whether a man is just and gentle, or rude and unsociable; these are the signs which distinguish even in youth the philosophical nature from the unphilosophical.

True.

There is another point which should be remarked.

What point?

Whether he has or has not a pleasure in learning; for no one will love that which gives him pain, and in which after much toil he makes little progress.

Certainly not.

And again, if he is forgetful and retains nothing of what he learns, will he not be an empty vessel?

That is certain.

Laboring in vain, he must end in hating himself and his fruitless occupation?

Yes.

Then a soul which forgets cannot be ranked among genuine philosophic natures; we must insist that the philosopher should have a good memory?

Certainly.

And once more, the inharmonious and unseemly nature can only tend to disproportion?

Undoubtedly.

And do you consider truth to be akin to proportion or to disproportion?

To proportion.

Then, besides other qualities, we must try to find a naturally well-proportioned and gracious mind, which will move spontaneously toward the true being of everything.

Certainly.

Well, and do not all these qualities, which we have been enumerating, go together, and are they not, in a manner, necessary to a soul, which is to have a full and perfect participation of being?

They are absolutely necessary, he replied.

And must not that be a blameless study which he only can pursue who has the gift of a good memory, and is quick to learn--noble, gracious, the friend of truth, justice, courage, temperance, who are his kindred?

The god of jealousy himself, he said, could find no fault with such a study.

And to men like him, I said, when perfected by years and education, and to these only you will entrust the State.

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Politics of a Language Not Being the Language of Politics


I have spent untold hours in the collection of the Micronesian Area Research center going through stacks upon stacks of newspapers looking at ads of those running for political office in Guam. Although I don't mention it much, when I began my masters thesis at the University of Guam in Micronesian Studies, my initial topics was actually political campaigns in Guam and analyzing Chamoru discourse in campaigns. I conducted around 50 interviews over several months, with a wide range of people. My intent was to reveal what role Chamoru "culture" or "language" or "identity" played in the organizing of political campaigns, the outreach, the strategizing or rationale.

My own motivation for taking on this project was tied to the 2002 Guam gubernatorial campaign. I was a young Chamoru grad student, who had started learning speaking Chamoru the year prior and was functionally, albeit awkwardly fluent in Chamoru. I was spending most of my free time in MARC doing research and interviewing older Chamorus with my grandmother. For the first time in my life I had a sense of being Chamoru and was excited about what it meant. At the time I even wrote a poem called "Loincloth Envy" which was about my gratitude for older Chamoru activists accepting me and allowing me to sit down with them and talk to them and learn from them.

In 2002, Felix Camacho and Robert Underwood were competing to be the next Governor of Guam. I wasn't active in the campaign at all, but I was very much an Underwood supporter, as was most of my family. I had read lots and lots of articles and speeches by Underwood and already considered him to be the Godfather of Chamorro Studies, for his work in articulating the critical turn in the self-examination of Chamorus.

That for me also represented a shift in the community around me and one that threw me off. As I was becoming more and more Chamoru in my own consciousness, Felix Camacho defeated Robert Underwood and became the first elected governor of Guam who could not speak Chamoru. I was a student in Rosa Palomo's intermediate Chamoru class at the time and helped organize a Chamoru language forum between the candidates, where Felix Camacho read a statement in Chamoru, but largely answered in English. I felt insulted that Felix Camacho wanted to represent the island but couldn't take the time to learn to speak his own language. I thought others would feel the same way, but more people felt threatened or felt intimidated by Underwood's ability to speak Chamoru.

When Felix Camacho won, I realized that for the first time in Guam's gubernatorial politics, a candidate had been elected because they were less outwardly Chamoru and that the ability for Underwood to speak Chamoru and speak intelligently about Chamoru history and culture, actually hurt him at the polls. Other factors were an issue of course, but as we can see in the time since, Eddie Calvo was elected who also can't speak Chamoru, and unless Carl Gutierrez or Frank Aguon wins this year, the next governor won't be fluent in Chamoru either (several of the gubernatorial and lt. governor candidates can understand Chamoru, but couldn't give a speech in Chamoru for example).

Because of my experiences watching that campaign, I decided to conduct my thesis research on Chamoru campaigning. I interviewed a long list of people who had long been involved in campaigns on Guam. I sat down with former Governors Ada and Calvo. I sat down with newly elected Congresswoman Bordallo and former Lt. Governor Frank Blas Jr. I sat down with the late Speakers Tony Unpingco and Ben Pangelinan. I only made it halfway through my list before I eventually decided to change topics for my thesis.

One reason I decided to change topics is because of a massive disconnect that I began to experience in my interviews and in my archival research. For people long involved in campaigns on Guam going back to the Popular and Territorial Party days, they painted their memories and their descriptions of campaigns with a heavy dose of Chamoru nostalgia. For them, these pocket meetings and rally were like Chamoru rallies. Everyone spoke in Chamoru, best speakers were always the Chamoru speakers. They had the best jokes and since they were speaking in Chamoru, people gave them more leeway to say mean things about the opposing party. People also said that the Chamoru culture and the clan (for better or worse) was the backbone of the party machine in those days.

But the disconnect for me was that in the campaign materials, the ads and the pamphlets that they produced, the Chamoru language was usually not used at all. The language would appear in snippets or friendly and unoffending fragments like "bota" or "håfa adai" or "Si Yuus Maase" but rarely anything more than that. Candidates would rarely have road signs or yard signs in Chamoru. They wouldn't have newspaper ads in Chamoru. Eventually some candidates would start to have parts of their platform translated into Chamoru, but this was also accompanied with them translating parts into Tagalog as well.

This was depressing because it represented yet another example of what I later called (with my former student and now colleague Ken Kuper) un gefpågo na dinagi, a beautiful lie. One of those comforting narratives that in a way covers over a massive gap, in this instance, the fact that while political players talked about how amazing the deck chairs were on this Chamoru såkman, they weren't paying attention as it was clearly sinking. And worst of all, they weren't seeing the role that they were playing in ensuring that politics would be an increasingly English game on the island, and that Chamoru would be increasingly minimized and tokenized.

I've collected as many ads as I can over the years that use the Chamoru language. Most of them appear around Mes Chamoru or Chamoru month. Other than that, few candidates every really use or engage with the Chamoru language. It is my hope that through my own work and advocacy, we can start to change that.

In the meantime, below is the text from the ad that is featured in the image in this post. It is from Robert Underwood when he was running for the US Congress in the 1990s.

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Para I Taotåo Guåhan
I ETMÅS GUAGUAN NA BOTU

Tåya’ mås empottånte yan guaguan na direcho gi sesteman i pulitikåt i tano’ kini i uputunidåt para ta ayek håyi para u giha mo’na i tano’-ta.

Kon dångkolo na respetu, para i minaolek i taotåo-ta, para i adilånton i ikunumiha, Para u ma abånsa i idukasion i famagu’on-ta, Para i pruteksion i lina’lå’-ta yan kotturå-ta.

Hu gågagåo ta’lo i boton-miyu gi mamaila na ileksion. I konfehånsan-miyu yan i respeton-miyu mås takhelo’ para guåhu.



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