Showing posts from June, 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 Islan…

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.


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…

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 doin…

Trump Visits Guam

Donald Trump will be on island for a few hours tonight, following a summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un in Singapore. Although there had been rumors for months about a Trump visit, it was only really confirmed earlier today when the local media got a chance to look at the White House schedule this week. Pundits are trying to figure out what the meeting means, and how much credit Trump should or shouldn't receive for his haphazard and sometimes confusing attempts at diplomacy, but we shouldn't be too distracted by that discussion in Guam.

Regardless of what decisions may come from this meeting, Guam remains a territory of the US and not a sovereign player in any decisions regarding security in this region. So long as we remain a colony, genuine security will always remain outside of our reach. Decolonization is the only way to ensure greater security for our people and that our island becomes more than just the tip of America's spear.

Hale'-ta Hike: Pågat

So far this year Independent Guåhan has organized two Hale'-ta Hikes; the first to Laso' Fouha or Fouha Rock, and the second to Hila'an. Our third hike is set for later this month to Pågat.

I have written in several articles recently about how important this type of outreach has been in terms of developing community resistance to US military plans in Guam. Taking people into the areas that may be affected, contaminated or closed off to the public, and allowing them to forge their own personal and eventually, hopefully, political connections was essential, especially in the case of Pågat.

This is one reason why things have been different recently with regards to Litekyan. The fact that when you take people on hikes there, you are walking not through "public" or "local" lands, but instead federal property makes it difficult for people to imagine a strong connection to the lands and their meaning. Instead it feels like more of the stolen lands, stolen spi…

Paulette Jordan for Governor

She Hails from Tribal Chiefs. Now She's Ready to be Idaho's Governor.
by Jennifer Bendery
Huffington Post

WASHINGTON ― When you think of political dynasties in American history, you might think of the Kennedys or the Bushes. You’ve probably never heard of Paulette Jordan’s family.
Jordan, an enrolled member of the Coeur d’Alene tribe, comes from thousands of years of intergenerational leadership in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest. Her grandfathers were chiefs. Her grandmothers were chiefs. Some of her ancestors were very prominent, like Chief Kamiakin of the Yakama-Palus Nation. In 1855, when the territorial governor of Washington forced Kamiakin to sign a treaty of land cessations, Kamiakin later banded together with 14 tribes and waged a three-year war against the U.S. government.
“They could lead as chiefs and fight as warrior chiefs,” Jordan said of her grandmothers, one of whom was tribal chair of Colville Confederated Tribes. “They taught me the way.”
But Jordan, 38,…