Showing posts from November, 2018

Adios Governor Ota

Last June, Masahide Ota, former Governor of Okinawa passed away. He had been governor of the islands in 1995, when long-time resentment and culture of protest against the US military bases achieved a much greater and more widespread character after the rape of a 12 year old girl by three US servicemen. His was a powerful voice for peace and demilitarization in Okinawa. During a trip in October of 2015 Edward A. Alvarez and I (with the help of the intrepid interpreter Shinako Oyakawa) got to visit him at his Naha office one afternoon. When he learned that we were from Guam, he mentioned several Chamorros that he had met over the years and inquired about them. He told us a number of stories from his life, including as experience after being drafted into the Japanese army during the war. He shared others about the struggles to survive for average Okinawans, after the destruction of their island and displacement in order to build new US military bases. I have long written that Okinawa and…

Storyboard 18

ISSUE 18: Sustainable Islands While sustainability is often associated in the mainstream with the practice of “going green,” for island communities, it means much more. Sustainability includes a multi-tiered system of people, resources, legends, heirlooms, land, traditions, and practices. In this 18th issue of Storyboard, writers and artists are invited to draw inspiration from all elements of what sustainability means to islands and island peoples. Possible topics to explore include, but are not limited to: •Traditions • Land Ownership • Land Development • Ocean Practices • Fishing • Planting •Money/Currency • Health • Religion • Resources • Recycling • Reusing • Materialism  •Legends • Stories • Degradation • Consumption • Balance • Inheritance • Ancestral Connections  •Traditional Healing Storyboard: A Journal of Pacific Imagery is accepting submissions of previously unpublished work from the original writer or artist for Issue 18 until Monday, December 10, 2018. The journal’s missio…

Lessons in Tinatse and Typhoon Etiquette

When talking about legends many people become focused on what is true and what isn't true? What is authentic and what really happened? What can be determine from the story that is real and what isn't? These types of discussions may have some importance within a historical context, when trying to understand it from the perspective of aligning stories with a particular history or historical context. For example there are ways that you can look at the story of the Iliad from a historical perspective. There are ways you could try to draw out historical truths from it, and even if some of the details may not be real, you can nonetheless see larger societal dynamics at work in the poem.

This is something to keep in mind when we look at Guam or Chamoru legends. Is that there are some ways to examine, analyze or understand them from a historical perspective, but this misses the larger point of their purpose. Legends serve a social or a culture purpose. They aren't meant to be pic…

Gaige yu' giya Okinawa ta'lo

Gaige yu' giya Okinawa på'go na simana.

Para bei fama'nu'i gi kolehio yan konfirensia guini. I fina'nu'i siha put decolonization yan nina'la'la' lengguåhen natihu siha.

Para bei faninterview taotao Chamoru ni' manmastastation guini giya Okinawa put i sinienten-ñiha nu i taotao guini. Put hemplo, kao hinasson-ñiha na mamparehu i estao i taotao Okinawa yan i Chamoru? Guaha meggai parehu put i halacha na hestoria-ta siha, lao kao ma ripåpara este? Pat osino gi lini'e'-ñiha kao manentrangheru?

Bai hu bisita lokkue' i kampon protest taiguihi gi este na litråtu. Este giya Henoko, nai i militåt Amerikånu ma keke ekstende i sagan-ñiha guihi, lao i taotao ti yan-ñiha este, ko'lo'lo'ña put taimanu na u ma destrosa i ginefpågon lugåt.

Håle' Para Agupa'

Back in September, I spent an afternoon with Håle’ Para Agupa’, a Chamoru cultural group based in the Washington D.C. area. It was an enriching and energizing afternoon. The fafa’na’gue of the group Teresita Guevara Smith organized a gathering of young and old, and I gave a presentation about Chamoru language and culture, and even a short language lesson. 
Wherever I go, in Guam, the CNMi or even the diaspora, I am always encouraged to see Chamorus wanting to learn more about who they are as a people and want to do more to keep culture and language alive. After all, for a group that numbers perhaps only 200,000 in the world, we always have to ask ourselves, “anggen ti hita, pues håyi?” When it comes to preservation and revitalization of our heritage, if we won’t do it, who else will?
This is an issue that Chamorus have to confront sooner rather than later, especially in light of the fact that more Chamorus now live outside of the Marianas. The realities of cultural maintenance change…

Peaceful Demonstration over Magua'

Groups Organize Demonstration Against Disturbance of Cultural Site
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (October 31, 2018 – Hagåtña)Amid a complex election season and Typhoon Yutu relief efforts, our residents have also been challenged with news of the recent disturbance of the ancient village of Magua at the site for the new Marine Base in South Finegayan. Local news sources, both radio and print, have reported that the U.S. Navy may have breached negotiations to mitigate the site. As the buildup progresses, it is clear that cultural preservation is not a priority for the Department of Defense.  
Prutehi Litekyan: Save Ritidian (PLSR) and Independent Guåhan call on the leaders of our island to rise up and take immediate action against this disturbance and to ensure that further harm will not take place. 
PLSR and Independent Guåhan invite our community to gather for a peaceful public demonstration this Saturday, November 3 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in front of the gate to the Naval Communications Station …