In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Guam
  • Kelly G Marsh (bio)

This year's hottest topic—cham­pioned by Guam's governor as the island's largest economic boom—was Guam's impending absorption of 8,000 relocated Marines, their 9,000 family members, and 15,000 construction workers, to build up island facilities. While Guam's strategic role as the "tip of the spear" for the US military intensifies, perhaps even more meaningful to the com­munity has been the steady growth of the Guam-Chamorro voice, presence, and activity. This serves as armament of its own.

In 2005, news traveled that Trini Torres and others had created the Chamoru Cultural Development and Research Institute, a nonprofit humanitarian organization encour­aging self-sufficiency through culturally viable means. "I Fine'ne'na' na ­Konferensian Chamorro" (The First Chamorro Conference) was held in March 2006. According to Rosanna Barcinas, program officer for the Guam Preservation Trust (one of ­theconference sponsors), Chamorros gathered from throughout the Mariana Islands to "discuss, share, and inspire every aspect of Chamorro ­people and their culture. From this konferensian [conference], a com­mitment was made to perpetuate ­Chamorro language and cultural unifi­cation despite political divides"; the impetus was the recognition that "we are one people" (Barcinas, pers comm, 13 July 2006). At the kon­fer­ensian, the Chamorro Land Trust Commission formally approved land for the nonprofit group Inadahen Lina'la Kotturan Chamoru to develop a Chamorro cultural center. [End Page 182]

Shortly thereafter, off-island Guam-Chamorros (attending university or otherwise on the US mainland) coordinated a stateside-based conference called "Famoksaiyan: Decolo­nizing Chamorro Histories, Identities and Futures," which was held 14–15 April 2006 in San Diego, California. The conference served to empower participants by reaffirming their Guam and Chamorro identities.

Bolstering the visual presence of indigenous Chamorro in Guam was the rebuilding of the typhoon-flat­tened Traditional Seafaring Society's canoe house at Paseo, Hagåtña; progress toward realizing a Guam Museum; the opening of a Chamorro Heritage Resource Center; the release of Julian Aguon's book Just Left of the Setting Sun, which examines the contemporary political and cultural landscape of Guam-Chamorros; the local and national premieres of Alex Munoz and Baltazar Aguon's sixty-second film Matta Saina-Ta Hurao (The Return of our Elder Hurao), which showcased an ancestral leader celebrated for leading the cause of freedom; the publication of Baltazar Aguon's updated Chamorro resistance legend, I Dos Amantes (The Two Lovers); the launch of new Guam-based Web sites, such as <http://freewebs.com/allthingsguam>, which organized hundreds of Guam links into indigenous time categories; and regular protests by Chamorro activists demanding the resolution of political status and other issues.

While local programs highlighting Guam issues, such as the Malafunk­shun radio and television shows, continued to be successful, other alternative media appeared last year: the Marianas Variety newspaper, with a Guam edition; GU Magazine; ABC 14 News; Famoksaiyan blog and e-mail listing; and a handful of local radio talk shows. Part of this growth can be attributed to the belief by some that Guam's public media space is dominated by traditional media and by certain people, pushing particular viewpoints and agendas (eg, PDN, 26May 2006, letter to the editor).

The now commonplace public debates regarding political status issues continued during the year, asking such questions as: Is amending the Organic Act a viable solution (as one senator proposed in a bill this year)? Do we want a constitution? Should there be a Chamorro-only vote for self-determination? Should the Commission on Decolonization be eliminated? Some expressed the opinion that the media sets up such forums to unduly influence the population toward a particular viewpoint (eg, PDN, 15 Jan 2006).

The community in Guam continued to keep tabs on the activities of Guam-Chamorros off-island, as noted in the Pacific Daily News article about the Phlight Restaurant Wine Bar in California, which offers "fusion with Chamorro food" (PDN, 6 April 2006); and the letter to the editor titled "Mississippi Chamorros Thankful for Katrina Help" (PDN, 21 Oct 2005). Misfortunes were shared, as captured in the headline "Bay...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9464
Print ISSN
1043-898X
Pages
pp. 182-189
Launched on MUSE
2007-01-17
Open Access
No
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