Volume 6 Issue 3 - May 29, 2008 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hafa Adai, yan welcome to i mina'trenta siete na Minagahet.
Guam has received a lot of national and international press lately, over an issue which might seem to be exciting, incredible and important, but in reality means very little to the island. As this latest incarnation of Minagahet attests to, so many things have been happening lately on the island, in particular around issues of the environment, the infrastructure and the economy. But what has been dominating news stories about Guam for the past two months?
Guam's "participation" in the Democratic Primary!
For a few weeks, the liberal blogosphere and the national media was flushed with Guam mentions. As someone who collects as many and as different kinds of Guam mentions as I can, I can tell you I was a bit overwhelmed, by the amount of people who were talking about Guam. Now naturally, just because everyone was talking about Guam and how its four pledged delegate votes and five super delegates were going to play a crucial role in a battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. This primary season has evolved far differently than it was supposed to, and anyone who has seen the schedule knows this. It is set up so that the battle amongst candidates within the party will end early, hopefully by the beginning of February. So, its therefore assumed that each election cycle, around half of states and territories, since four out of the five US "territories" (Guam, The Virgin Islands, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) all vote after Super Tuesday, aren't really supposed to count.
But we can see a profound difference between the way small states such as South Dakota or Wyoming are represented and places such as Guam. Whereas, each state is represented primarily in terms of the last time that they did matter, or the last time that a primary season lasted this long, touched this particular state, so that their votes did matter. In terms of Guam however, because of its status as a "part of the US" is exceptional, or that it is always both "a part" of the US, and "apart" from it as well, it can never be simply talked about or referenced the same way any state is, but as Cathy Sablan Gault was written, it has to be constantly "re-discovered." Its relationship to the US is not something which can be taken for granted, there is always a small to large bit of extra effort that has to be into the writing of it, whether to explain why the US has colonies, or more often, to cover over the fact that the US has colonies.
Bringing this to the island itself, in typical colonial Guam fashion, the island has not taken advantage of this "spotlight" and fiesta of news coverage to make known its needs and demands to the rest of the United States. Instead it has primarily felt content to bask in this spotlight and simply enjoy this moment of heightened Americaness. But this is what lina'la' colonial is like in Guam. An unequal relationship exists between Guam, its people (Chamorro and non-Chamorro) and the US and its people (ti puniyon), yet this inequality, does not for the most part affect the desiring that lies behind the ways people on Guam imagine themselves. The gaps in the promise of the United States in Guam, and the way it has treated Guam historically and continues to treat Guam today are all derived from this political status. Yet instead of seeing these gaps, as hypocrisy or injustice, and see them as faults of the United States, the majority of people on Guam see them as moments or stops on an eventual teleology or path to full Americaness. It is for this reason, that despite that Guam is regularly unfairly treated by the Feds, the media, the military and by nearly anyone else in the United States, there is no determined will to move away from the United States or simply criticize or demand more. But in fact, what all these gaps instead imply is that whenever there is a chance for Guam to prove its Americaness, it be seized and celebrated, no matter how pathetic it might be. These moments are diverse and can be almost anything which represents a brief chance for Guam to be more American or simply as American as Wyoming or South Dakota. Some of these recent moments are, American Idol, stamps, coins and political visits.
In the case of the Democratic Primary, local media coverage was unanimous in asserting that this was a fantastic opportunity for Guam, and as one article noted, Guam's Democrats were "grateful for the privilege of being involved." All the media focused on the fact that at last Guam was getting recognized, or that after being ignored for so long, Guam was at last going to get some attention, was going to be seen as the little fragment of American democracy and colonialism in the Western Pacific that it deserves to be. One rare exception can be found on Current TV, in a documentary short titled "Suffering Without Suffrage."
I will admit, that I was excited too about Guam's new "power" in the determining of which Democratic Presidential candidate this year would get to make American "history" or "herstory." But, this new "power" of Guam, as I've already alluded to, was very blinding. It was so blinding, that amid all the excitement that finally people on Guam get to be, or at least pretend to be "real" American, no one really considered the fact that once again the type of Americans that people on Guam get to be, are exceptional, second class. Guam gets 9 delegate votes in the Democratic primary process. 5 are super delegates and four are pledged delegates. During the primary/caucus on Guam, Democratic voters selected eight delegates to go to the Democratic National Convention in August.
Now, for those of you paying attention, if people on Guam are "real" Americans, then the math doesn't quite add up. 5 + 8 should equal 13 votes. But since people on Guam are second class Americans, those eight delegates that are going to the convention, only count for half of a delegate vote each. Such is the fate of the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and the Democrats Abroad. Doesn't this sound very familiar? Like a non-voting delegate with a fake vote? Ai adai, sa' hafa mabachet i taotao Guahan taiguini?
The island is facing very real problems right now and this issue of Minagahet is dedicated to a few of these problems. For more info on what's going on in Guam you can always check out the JGPO Blog and the Decolonize Guam Blog.
One reason that I've introduced this issue of Minagahet with the Democratic primary battle is because my personal blog No Rest for the Awake - Minagahet Chamorro, has been chosen to be the "official" Guam blog at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. This is an incredible opportunity and I am very excited about it. Not because I'll get to participate in the democracy of the United States, but because I will get to write for and of Guam, in the middle of one of the centers of American political power. I hope that I can give a critical perspective on what goes on at the convention from the perspective of Guam, which may get "state-like treatment" but is ultimately just a plain old colony of the United States. To get more info, check out my recent post, "From a Footnote...To the Democratic National Convention."
In other news, I recently helped organize the conference Guma'Famoksaiyan: Gathering Strength for the Journey Ahead in San Diego. This was Famoksaiyan's third annual conference, and for an organization with no funding, no formal membership, no mission and no vision, but just simply comprised of people who understand that they share similar progressive goals for Chamorros and their islands, that is truly impressive. Guaha nai ti hu hulat humongge este lokkue'. For more information on Famoksaiyan and its activities, check out its blog, or look for it on Myspace or Facebook. I've also started a interim Youtube channel for Famoksaiyan. I just posted yesterday, the video testimony of Julian Aguon at the United Nation's Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues last month.
Last but not least, my other blogs are still out there, some going a lot stronger than others. Another conference that I recently helped organize, Postcolonial Futures in a Not Yet Postcolonial World: Locating the Intersections of Ethnic, Indigenous and Postcolonial Studies was a big success. More than two months since the conference and at last I've gotten around to posting some of the audio from the conference's plenary sessions. The conference was a huge success, and so I'd like to say "Si Yu'us Ma'ase" to all who attended and helped make it possible.
Despensa na gof apmam este na tinige', ai adai, bula maloloffan gi lina'la'-hu ya gi i tano' Guahan. Ti sina hu na'omlat todu i un tinige' yanggen dikike'!
Sahuma Minagahet yan Na'suha Dinagi
Basula: articles about the landfill on Guam
"First Status Hearing Set for Solid Waste Receiver," by Gina Tabonares, The Marianas Variety, 5/16/08
"Federal Receiver Tours Ordot Dump, Dandan," by John Davis, KUAM, 4/24/08
"Receiver to GovGuam; Acquire Landfill Land," by Gina Tabonares, the Marianas Variety, 4/07/08
"Firm Takes Over Dump: Court Says All Remedies Exhausted," by Gina Tabonares, the Marianas Variety, 3/18/08
"Governor Never Gave Budget for Dump Closure," by Theresa Hart, The Marianas Variety, 3/18/08
"Federal Receiver Takes Over Guam's Solid Waste Management," by Mindy Aguon, KUAM, 3/17/08
"'Dump Selection Not Over Yet'," by Gina Tabonares, The Marianas Variety, 2/27/08
"Dandan Moves Forward with Paid Contractor," by Gina Tabonares, The Marianas Variety, 2/25/08
"SC opinion validates district court Dandan Rulings," by Gina Tabonares, The Marianas Variety, 2/22/08
"Request to Stymie Dandan Development Denied," by Mindy Aguon, KUAM, 2/20/08
"Feds Want Dandan Work to Start Now," by Mindy Aguon, KUAM, 2/04/08
"Clearing to Start at Guatali," by Mindy Aguon, KUAM, 12/10/07
"Dump Full, Still Taking Trash," by Brett Kelman, The Pacific Daily News, 12/07/07
I Manmahafot: articles about the unearthing of Chamorro remains
"Human Remains are 2,5000 Years Old," from Pacific Magazine, 5/24/08
"Former Senator Nelson wants contractor off 'his' land at Gun Beach," by Michelle Catahy, KUAM, 2/11/08
"Okura Archaeological Dig Almost Complete," by Michelle Catahy, KUAM, 01/03/08
"Ancient Remains to be Shipped Offisland," by Mar-Vic Cagurangan,, The Marianas Variety, 12/21/07
"Guan Beach Development Under Review" by Rona Sweeney, KUAM, 12/2/07
"Pago Bay Resort was Once Ancient Chamorro Village," by Clynt Ridgell, KUAM, 11/13/07
"Historic Resources Division Planning for Troops' Arrival," by Michelle Catahy, KUAM, 11/07/07
"Okura Hotel Project Hits a Sang," by Mar-Vic Cagurangan,, The Marianas Variety, 09/18/07
"Guam Hotel Okura Archaeology Site," by Moneka De Oro, The Marianas Variety, 08/27/07
"Archeology Firm Drops Plans to Mail Human Remains," by Mar-Vic Cagurangan,, The Marianas Variety, 08/09/07
"Ancient Remains From Okura May Be Personally Transported," by Michelle Catahy, KUAM, 08/09/07
"Cristobal's Group Seeks a Stop on Digging at Burial Site," by Mar-Vic Cagurangan,, The Marianas Variety, 08/07/07
"Preservation Board Meeting Gets Heated," from the Pacific News Center, 08/06/07
"Remains Discovered at Okura May Be Analyzed Offisland," by Michelle Catahy, KUAM, 08/03/07
"Guam Okura Hotel Expansion Hits Snag," by Gerardo R. Partido, The Marianas Variety, 08/01/07
"Okura Asked to Stop Removal of Chamorro Remains," by Hope Cristobal and Victoria Leon Guerrero, 07/30/07
"Gun Beach to Undergo Multimillion Dollar Commercial Development," by Mindy Fothergill, KUAM, 06/06/07
I Manggegera: articles about Chamorros in the War on Terror
"Guam Honors War Dead," by Brett Kelman, Pacific Daily News, 5/27/08
"Guam son killed in Iraq: Island mourn fallen Malesso soldier," by Stephanie Godlweski, Pacific Daily News, 3/28/08
"Guam's Young, Steeped in History, Line Up to Enlist," by Blaine Harden, The Washington Post, 1/27/08
"Mother of Slain Sailor Says She Has Forgiven Shooter," by Gemma Q. Casas, Marianas Variety, 10/25/07
"US Territories: A Recruiters Paradise: Army Goes Where Fish Are Biting," by Matthew LaPlante, Salt Lake Tribue, 8/05/07
"Body of fallen soldier John Flores returning Wednesday," by Sabrina Salas Matanane, KUAM, 5/15/07
"Solider Comes Home," by Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno, Pacific Daily News, 05/16/07
"On Wars and Numbers," by Julian Aguon, The Voice Project, 4/23/07
"National Guard Confirms Two Killed, One Injured in Horn of Africa" by Jason Salas, KUAM 3/06/07
"Corporal Lee Roy Camacho's Funeral'" by Cinta Kaipat, MyCnmi, 2/27/07
"Adam Emul, who sister says wanted to serve, is killed in Iraq at age 19," by Brian Alexander, Seattle Times, 2/2/07
"Remembering Jesse: Local Hero Honored by Community," by Mindy Aguon, KUAM, 12/08/06
"Fallen Soldier Richard Naputi Returns Home," by Sonya Artero, KUAM, 1/03/06
"Gone, But Never Forgotten," by Clynt Ridgell, KUAM, 1/01/07
"Three Chamorros Dead in Iraq," by Michael Lujan Bevacqua, No Rest for the Awake, 10/22/04
Take': articles about the sewage crisis on Guam
"Sewage Concerns Persist: Emerald Development Worries Residents," by Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno, Pacific Daily News, 5/27/08
"Water Agency Imposes Moratorium on New Water Hookups," from Pacific Magazine, 5/23/08
"No More Development: Sewage Capacity Reaches Capacity in Central Guam," by Mar-Vic Cagurangan, Marianas Variety, 5/22/08
"Land Use Commission Blasts CCU's Development Moratorium," by John Davis, KUAM, 5/22/08
"GWA's Sewer System is Maxed Out," by John Davis, KUAM, 5/21/08
"Developmental Moratorium Possible for Tumon/Tamuning,'" by John Davis, KUAM, 5/20/08
"Guam Sewage System Can't Handle More Waste,'" from Pacific Magazine, 5/20/08
"Main sewage line at capacity: Planned condos raise infrastructure concerns," by Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno, Pacific Daily News, 5/20/08
"Development raise concern: Tumon set for a boom in condo construction," by Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno, Pacific Daily News, 5/19/08
"Groundbreaking Held for $100 million Residential Project," from The Marianas Variety, 5/08/08
"The Worse is Yet to Come," by Vicente Garrido, The Marianas Variety, 4/22/08
"Guam Struggles to Find $$$ to fund Island Infrastructure Upgrades," from Weekly Japan Update, 3/27/08
"Editorial: Feds are not infallible," from the Marianas Variety, 12/14/07
"Land Use Plan Eases Strain on Tumon's Sewage System," by Jason Salas, KUAM, 12/10/07
"Condos Ok'd in Tamuning: GLUC approves $100 project for 260 units, 20 villas," by Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno, Pacific Daily News, 12/5/07
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