Posts

Antigu na Estorian Guinaiya

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 Earlier this year, for the website I Sakman I Fino'-ta , I began writing a semi-weekly creative story in the Chamoru language. I've always wanted to try writing a romance story in Chamoru, and this was my first mixed attempt at doing so. I have enjoyed it, but I've found myself struggling with how I've read hundreds of romance stories in English, but none in Chamoru and this affects everything from the plot, to the metaphors, to the culture involved. It has been a struggle at times gi minagahet. I am up to part 11 at present. Head to the site itself to read them all as well as articles in Chamoru from a wide variety of speakers/writers. But for now, here is the first installment. ******************* HACHA   “Nobia kahulo’ Ya fa’gåsi i matå-mu Sa’ u fåtto i nobio-mu Ya lini’e’ ni churå-mu”   Ginen i mames na guinife-ña, si Maria ha hungok este na kånta gi bos nanå-ña.   Gi guinife-ña, umasodda’ siha yan i guinaiyå-ña gi halom un guma

Adios Tun Adriano

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  Last month, Tun Adriano Baza Pangelinan, a pioneering Chamoru artist and former professor at UOG passed away. I met Tun Adriano many times over the years, primarily when I was an art major at UOG. Tun Adriano was always an intimidating figure. My art professors such as the late Joe Babauta and Ric Castro, were both confident and outspoken, but became very circumspect and respectful when Tun Adriano was around. He wasn't the first Chamoru to paint or draw in a modern sense, but he was one of the first Chamoru artists to blend artistic styles from famous European movements like Fauvism and Impressionism with local culture and life. That blending and refusal to accept binary choices was pioneering. It wasn't too long ago that Chamorus felt that in order to achieve anything in life they need to give up their culture, their heritage, their island. This was part of how the United States entered into Guam, filling the island with demoralizing ideas in that wha

Tinestigu-hu

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My testimony give last week to the United Nations Committee of 24 Regional Seminar on Decolonization held in St. Lucia. ***************** A Growing Foundation, but still an Uncertain Future for Guam’s Quest for Decolonization Michael Lujan Bevacqua, Ph.D. Co-Chair, Independent Guåhan Curator, Guam Museum   Si Yu’os Ma’åse na makombibida yu’ mågi ta’lo para bai hu saonao gi este matua na dinanña’. Gi tinestigu-hu på’go, bai hu sangåni hamyo put i halacha na hiniyong gi islå-ku yan i kinalamten-måmi para in gi’ot i direchon-måmi komo taotao.    Your Excellency Chairwoman Keisha McGuire, distinguished delegates, representatives and experts from fellow Non-Self-Governing Territories, I am honored to be here again speaking before you on the topic of Guam and its continuing quest for decolonization. I also want to thank the government and people of Saint Lucia for hosting us on their beautiful island.    In my statements today, I want to provide updates on important work that has been taking

Remembering My Year in Atåte

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  From 2014-2015 I spent a year in Atåte in the village of Malesso’. Not in a physical sense mind you, but in an intellectual and scholarly sense. During that time I was a professor in the Chamorro Studies Program at the University of Guam, and I worked with the late Jose Måta Torres to publish his memoirs “Massacre at Atåte” through the University of Guam. I was so thankful that we were able to see his book to completion in 2015, as he would pass away later that year.   In addition to being the memoirs of a young man, coming of age in Japanese-occupied Guam, the book also provides a first-hand account of the uprising of the people from Malesso'. After the people of the village learned that the Japanese had attempted to massacre 60 of their friends and family at Tinta and Faha, most felt that it is only a matter of time before the rest were slaughtered. On the eve of the US invasion, a group of men led by Jose "Tonko" Reyes, surprised the Japanese, killing most of them an

Letters from Estaquio

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George Estaquio has written letters to the editor of the Pacific Daily News for quite a few years.  I don't always agree with what he writes, but I welcome his perspective. Estaquio is one of the last few of his generation of Chamoru leaders. He was born prior to World War II and came of age during he Japanese occupation of Guam. He attended college in the US and then returned to Guam to work with the local government.  He was part of that postwar generation that saw their island and people worthy of something more than just the handouts from Uncle Sam. They were patriotic to Uncle Sam and didn't want to step outside or beyond his borders, but this didn't stop them from asserting that Guam should be treated better.  If the conditions had been different, they might have imagined something more than being just a territory of the US, but we are all limited and constricted by the prevailing historical context of our time.  Estaquio went on to work as the Chief of Staff for Tony

Mungga Yu' ni Konstitution

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I came across this protest sign in the archives of the Nieves Flores Guam Public Library in Hagåtña, while doing research on Guam's two previous Constitutional Conventions (1969-70 and 1977). Written in Chamoru, it translates to "I don't want the constitution."   A few months ago for Fanchu! I spoke to former Senator Hope Cristobal who was part of the campaign to defeat the draft constitution in 1979. The notable figures who organized against the constitution include Robert Underwood, Marilyn Manibusan, the late Tony Leon Guerrero, the late Tan Clotilde Gould, Rosa Palomo, and the late Dr. Benit Dungca. As Underwood writes in his wonderful article "Dies Mitt: The Origin and End of Chamrro Self-Determination," the constitutional opponents "coalesced around the billboard “Munga ma’apreba i konstetusion ya ta mantieni i derecho-ta komo taotao Guam. Bota NO!” In English, this read “do no approve the constitution and maintain our rights as the people of Guam

Kiko Zoilo

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One of the most fascinating figures from 20th century Guam History for me remains Francisco Baza Leon Guerrero or Kiko Zoilo. One day I hope to write something or create something that can show the breadth of his accomplishments and advocacy, at a time when most Chamorus did not feel comfort being critical about the US as their colonizer. He was a political figure before and after the war. One of the founders of the Young Mens League of Guam. The Father or the Organic Act and even a Speaker of the Guam Legislature.  For Independent Guåhan, I prepared some quotes from him and about him, that were used when we honored him as Maga'taotao for one of our General Assemblies. I wanted to share them here, for those looking for a place to start in understanding this important figure (that is largely unknown for most people today). ****************   “He was a great believed in the democratic way of life and freedom of action. He wouldn’t kowtow to anyone, no matter what his station or rank