Posts

Turks and Caicos

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Around there world there are others desiring political status change, not just Guam.  Some are worried about changes independence might bring, just like we are, but that shouldn't keep us colonized.  Turks and Caicos is another Non-Self-Governing Territory, just like Guam. It is in the Caribbean and has a population of around 46,000. The United Kingdom is its administering power.  Here is a recent article from their newspaper talking about this from their perspective.  The author quotes the Ghanaian revolutionary Kwame Nkrumah, “It is far better to be free to govern or misgovern yourself than to be governed by anybody else.” ******************     Political Independence – It Is Time To Talk About It By Drexwell Seymour April 19, 2021 The Sun   There are seventeen (17) countries in the world that have yet to become decolonized. One of those places is the Turks and Caicos Islands where we have been politically governed by the United Kingdom (UK) for hundreds of years.  This article i

Fanachu!

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  Fanachu! was first started by Manny Cruz in 2016 as part of the media committee of Independent Guåhan. When he left island for graduate school, it was taken over by Lawrence "Signezama" Lizama. Since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, I've been taking over hosting duties. I've always been a part of Fanachu! but since last year, I've taken over much of it, with help in producing or organizing and hosting episodes from others every once in a while.  Several things helped me get through the pandemic and all its sort of low fi craziness. One thing was Fanachu! Having something to focus on each week, to bring people into conversation, to learn more about things I'm interested in. It was a nice way to focus my life and feel like I was still having an impact, albeit small one, at a time when things were being delayed or cancelled.  Earlier this month Fanachu! reached 100 patrons! An exciting milestone, I never thought it would reach.  As part of finally get

Adios Sgamby

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In February,  Adolf Sgambelluri or "Sgamby" as many knew him, passed away. He leaves behind a long legacy of accomplishments. To name a few, he was a war survivor, a decorated Vietnam Vet, a GCC Vice President and a Guam Police Chief.     When I was a graduate student in Micronesian Studies at UOG, close to 20 years ago, and I was asking my grandparents who would be great to interview for oral history, about prewar life, war experiences, anything, we made long lists of people we could visit. Sgamby was on that list.    When we visited him however, he wasn’t the focus, but rather his father. Adolfo Camacho Sgambelluri had played a sort of double agent role, while working for the Japanese as a police officer, trying to minimize where he could their violent impact on the lives of Chamorus. I also learned from that visit that we were related with his mother being a close relative to my great-grandfather. Sgamby was eager to tell his father’s story since some up til this day don’t

Where Angels No Longer Fear to Tread

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Every territory of the US today is different in some ways, but similar in others. All are islands, even if they are in different oceans. All have non-voting delegates. All are US citizenship, except for one and that is American Samoa, where the people there are US nationals. Interacting with people from American Samoa or with ties to American Samoa is always interesting. Those who are elsewhere in the US but have ties to the islands are often very different than those who are still at home. In recent years, alot of this difference has come down to US citizenship. With those who have moved to the US, lamenting that their status as US nationals has limited their opportunities. While those who are still in American Samoa not necessarily wanting US citizenship because they worry it might mean a loss of their cultural and political rights at home.  It is easy to see the territories of the remains of empire of the US and think that the only recourse is to find ways to further include them in

Hinekka i Tiningo' I Manåmko'

I have done so many interviews with older Chamorus that sometimes I lose track. Some interviews stay with me and I remember for the most part very clearly, others blend together. I have tapes. I have digital video. I have thousands of pages of notes in notebooks, in legal pads, in the margins of books and random scraps of paper. I have lost exact count of how many of these oral history interviews I have done, but it is well over 400 at this point.  In addition to these interviews that I've done personally, I also for many years had my students do simple interviews with elders. I have hundreds of these interviews as well, one of which I've included below from a student that I had for Elementary Chamoru 1, who interviewed her grandmother. Sometimes the Chamoru sayings or phrases that I share with my students or on social media come from these interviews.  I have so much in terms of raw material for these interviews, this cache of oral history, but I scarcely have time to do anyth

2005 Interview with Julian Aguon

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The newest book by International Human Rights Attorney Julian Aguon will be released later this month. It is already available for pre-order on Amazon.com, and has already sold several thousand copies there. This is an important moment for Julian in terms of him writing and publishing a book like this, at this level where it has national and international reach. It is also important for Guam and UOG Press which is publishing it, since this can help them capitalize on their massive local and regional success over the past few years and help them reach a variety of new markets and audiences.  Julian published three prior books, but they were published locally and by very small presses with limited runs and limited exposure. Below is an interview with Julian when he published his first book "Just Left of the Setting Sun" in 2005. I recently re-read two of his previous books in preparation for the newest one. It was interesting to also come across this interview with him 15 years

For the Love of Language

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When San Vitores first came to the Marianas the Chamoru people were largely accepting of the new religion for a few reasons. The Spanish offered gifts to those who converted to the new religion, including sometimes precious  lulok or metal. They were the newest hottest thing on the island. Exciting simply because it was different, like when Applebee's or McDonald's first came to Guam. Some converted seeing the chance for greater power by being closer to those that they perceived might shake up island hierarchies. Some may have followed the new religion, because it truly spoke to them.  But one of the things that helped San Vitores win over the people in many ways was his ability to speak to them in Chamoru. Chamorus had interacted with Europeans for more than a century at that point via hand gestures and sailors from the Philippines and Southeast Asia who were able to communicate using Austronesian terms with the Chamorus they encountered. Spaniards, Filipinos and African slave