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Showing posts from September, 2018

The Colonial Whisperer

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When I was writing my dissertation more than 10 years ago, one question that I constantly had, was what is the "Department of Interior" in the United States, especially in relation to the territories. The easy answer is that it is the office to oversees them. It is the office that oversees the natural resource, the parks, the relations with Native Americans, but also the way the US connects to its insular areas and colonies. We can refer to the Department of the Interior as the make-shift colonial office, a colonial office in denial that it is a colonial office.

The office manages resources and helps to remind those of us who live in the territories that we are a resource, that our lands, our lives are more explicitly than any other place within the US and its empire, thought of as a commodity. The fact that our strongest link to the federal bureaucracy is the DOI is key in understanding our relationship to the US. We may have a variety of fantasies about what we are to the…

September GA 2018 - Carlos Taitano

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Citizenship Questions and Honoring the Late Speaker Carlos Taitano are the focus for Independent Guåhan’s September General Assembly
For Immediate Release, September 17, 2018  Independent Guåhan (IG) invites the public to attend our September General Assembly (GA) on Thursday, September 27th, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Main Pavilion of the Chamorro Village in Hagåtña. These assemblies are part of IG’s efforts to educate the community on the need for Guåhan’s decolonization and the potentials for our independence. This month’s GA will focus on what form citizenship might take in an independent Guåhan. 
At eachGA, Independent Guåhan honors amaga’taotao: a notable figure that has helped guide the island and the Chamoru people on their quest for self-determination. For September, IG will be honoring the late Carlos Pangelinan Taitano, who was a World War II veteran, Speaker forI Liheslaturan Guåhanand an instrumental figure in helping get the Organic Act passed for Guåhan.  
Taitano was bo…

Mahalang Yu' Ta'lo

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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.


Guam is Not a Game

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For decades Guam has been used to being a joke. Generations of comedians have used it, such as Johnny Carson, David Lettermen and even Conan O'Brien. Robert Underwood has invoked the comedy specter of Rodney Dangerfield in order to explain Guam's situation, saying it is an island that gets no respect!

The mere mention of Guam in this way stems from the fact that it is a signifier that floats around, it is always out there, especially for those in the US, but there often isn't any actual knowledge attached to it. That means that you can deploy it in ridiculous ways, a familiar, but empty signifier that can create laughter as the listener confronts that awkward gap between their knowledge and whatever might lie beyond the horizon of their understanding. That's why when you would say something random like "I'm headed to Guam!" it would elicit laughter, because of the way the audience would slip on the banana peel shaped gap between their knowledge and reali…

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 sustainabl…

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 of…