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Showing posts from 2019

December 1941

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Retellings of Guam history focus heavily on the end of the World War II on the island, and de-emphasize the start of the war. It is like this for some obvious and some less-obvious reasons. As I've written about before, where you place the narrative locus for these 32 months of Chamoru history will heavily affect what type of lessons or ideas emerge. If you focus on the end, the triumphant American return, where the Japanese are defeated and Chamorus are liberated from tyranny, the lessons seem pretty clear. American power and benevolence and propensity for liberation and democracy spreading. Chamorus become attached to the US and its history through that ending, as an object of their grandeur or their exceptional excellence and virtue.

But if we switch the story's focus to the beginning things get much more complicated. We see at the beginning of war, an island where Chamorus trust the US to tell them the truth, to keep them safe, but they also understand in an important way…

Okinawa Blues

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Since 2010 I have traveled to Okinawa just about every year. Usually I have gone with my friend Ed Alvarez. We first travelled to Okinawa together in 2012 to present at a number of conferences focusing on issues of demilitarization, indigenous rights and also decolonization. Ed was the Executive Director of the Guam Commission on Decolonization and had made some important connections to academics and protest groups. One of my goals at some point is to write an academic article about the ever-evolving conversation in Okinawa about decolonization and political status. It is fascinating and often goes far beneath the radar, as most focus on the demilitarization and anti US base protests. But since I have been traveling there, I have regularly heard the makings of a decolonization conversation. When I say this, I don't mean it looks the same or sounds the same, or takes the same shape as Guam's. I mean that for Okinawa, which faces a number of fundamental and structural issues ab…

Guam in the UNPO?

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On Thursday, December 12th, from 4-6 pm, a public hearing will be held on Resolution No. 255-35 (LS) titled " RELATIVE TO SUPPORTING GUAM’S APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP TO THE UNREPRESENTED NATIONS AND PEOPLES ORGANIZATION (UNPO)." Please consider testifying in person on Thursday or submitting testimony via email in support of this resolution. Written testimonies may be delivered to the Office of Speaker Tina Muña Barnes at 163 Chalan Santo Papa, Hagåtña, Guam 96910or via email to speaker@guamlegislature.org.

Joining the UNPO could bring an higher level of visibility Internationally and nationally to Guam's issues. Manny Cruz and I wrote as much in recent weeks in columns and letters to the Pacific Daily News. 

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Group connects marginalized people across the world
Michael Lujan Bevacqua
Pacific Daily News
November 21, 2019

Speaker Tina Muña Barnes has proposed a resolution that would seek Guam’s membership in the UNPO, or the Unrepresented Nations and…

Happy US Imperialism Day! (Ta'lo'lo)

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I first wrote an article "Happy US Imperialism Day Guam!" about 16 years ago. It was published in Minagahet Zine and later on this blog when I began it soon after. The writing of this article originally was a very formative experience. Part of it eventually became my Masters Thesis in Micronesian Studies. But I also wrote it at a time when I was first trying to find a way to become more public about my critiques and writing letters to the editor of the Pacific Daily News and creating websites/blogs were some of the obvious choices.

This article was written when the second Iraq War was only eight months old and the War in Afghanistan was over two years old. It was written at a time when I was feeling frustrated over the deaths of the first few Chamorros in Iraq, Christopher Rivera Wesley being the first. As I said, it was also written at a time when I was first working on developing a critical consciousness and a public voice in terms of writing and philosophy. I had been i…

Fanhita Conference 2019

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Litråtu siha ginen i Fanhita Conference, September 11-12, 2019.

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A School With Any Other Name...

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I used to have an assignment in my Guam History classes, where I would have my students visit different schools on the island named for a different local historical figure. They would have to interview an administrator and a teacher to learn how their school honored their namesake and how their namesake’s example or history was or wasn’t incorporated into school curriculum or activities. 
Unfortunately, most schools did little in this regard. Some had a simple plaque, a statue, a poem or a song. Some had a day in which they would honor the person. Many of the schools are named for educators from the past century, usually in the village of the school that came to bear their name. Some teachers or administrators who had family ties in the village could share stories about their school’s namesake, but most didn’t know much and couldn’t share much. 
I would give this assignment to help students understand the value of history, but also the potential uselessness of history. History isn’t …

New Ways of Having Old Conversations

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I write regularly about "the decolonization conversation."

I use this to refer to the wider public discussion and sometimes debate about Guam's future in terms of its political status.

There are three main options that are to be considered when thinking about Guam's future status.

Each of them provides a higher level of self-governance than remaining an unincorporated territory, although they can be slightly to very different.

This conversation around Guam's political status has been around for more than a hundred years, although we often don't think about it that way.

During the late Spanish period, Chamorus chafed under colonial rule, especially after the rest of the Spanish Empire had achieved independence or was actively rebelling or forming nationalist movements.

Nowadays we don't know much about this, because we don't teach our own history very well. If we did take seriously the teaching of our history, we would have a general sense of the effo…

IG November GA 2019

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Independent Guåhan to discuss veteran’s issues and decolonization and honor the late Tony “Submariner” Artero 
For Immediate Release, November 24, 2019- Independent Guåhan (IG) invites the public to attend their upcoming General Assembly (GA) to take place on Thursday, December 5th from 6:00-7:30 pm at the Main Pavilion of the Chamorro Village in Hagåtña. For this GA, the group will honor as Maga’taotaothe late Tony “Submariner” Artero, who was a US Navy veteran and also a strong community activist in pushing for political status change in Guam. In honor of Veteran’s Day, this GA will also feature an educational discussion on the voices of Chamoru veterans and decolonization. 
Tony Artero was a veteran, a war survivor and an entrepreneur, who was part of the Artero family that helped hide US Navyman George Tweed during the Japanese occupation of Guam. Although his father received the Congressional Medal of Freedom for the risks he took, soon after the US military condemned huge tracts …

Hu Guaiya Hao Taiguihi Book Launch

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The Guam Bus is a creative collective run by brothers – Michael and Jack Lujan Bevacqua (Familian Kabesa yan Bittot) – that produces and publishes Chamoru-themed books, comics and other educational materials aimed at promoting the Chamoru language, culture. On Saturday, November 16th, 2019 – from 9 am – 12 pm, at Java Junction, the Guam Bus will be launching its newest publication, Hu Guaiya Hao Taiguihi, a bilingual Chamoru-English children’s book, that is ideal for young readers.The book launch will feature readings, activities, a free Chamoru language lesson and also refreshments. It is open to everyone.
Hu Guaiya Hao Taiguihi is the third Chamoru-language children’s book published by The Guam Bus. The first, Sumåhi and the Karabao was published in 2015 and features different stories of karabao in Chamoru culture and Guam history. The second, The Adventures of Akli’e’ was published in 2017 and provides stories of Guam legends and traditional Chamoru farming tools. Hu Guaiya Hao Taig…

Cthullu Beach

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It is once again November and that means it is time for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, or as I prefer to call it #ChaNoWriMo or Chamoru Novel Writing Month. For those brave enough to try their typing or writing hands at NaNoWriMo, the challenge is to write 50,000 words of your prospective novel by the end of the month. 30 days for 50,000 words. 

I've been doing this for several years now writing a number of different stories and novels, some of which have made their way into the many things I've published through The Guam Bus. Most of these November novels have been focused on my alternate history for Guam referred to as "The Legend of the Chamurai." In it, there were pre-Spanish contacts between the Japanese and Chamorus and in the early 17th century, a group of samurai assist the Chamorus in fighting off the Spanish. In these stories, I've tried to give life to a number of legendary figures such as Chaife, Fu'una and Puntan, Ukudu and others. 

For t…