Charting contemporary Chamoru activism : anti-militarization & social movements in Guåhan
This project examines social movements in Guåhan (Guam) and activism within this unincorporated territory of U.S. Two assumptions guide this work. First, Guåhan is the site of rhetorical struggle over identity, indigeneity, and Americanness. Second, indigenous Chamoru (Chamorro) struggles must be examined within the historical context of colonial projects, which have established a political economy of stratification. Thus, the complexities of social movement organizing might be better understood when historicized with political and economic realities. To get a more complete understanding of how indigenous social movements and activism in contemporary Guåhan are shaped by understandings of national identity, colonization, and military buildup, I analyze three sets of artifacts: (1) testimonies at United Nations from 2005-2012; (2) the texts and activities of the group We Are Guåhan and its legal action against the Department of Defense (DOD) regarding the U.S. military buildup; and (3) interviews with social movement members and organizers regarding activism in Guåhan and contending with American influence. The project argues that resistance takes place through social movement efforts centered on the issues of ancestral land, language and cultural revitalization, and self-determination for Chamorus; and these moments occur primarily through actions that both depend upon and reinforce communicative channels directed against the U.S. nation-state. This phenomenon is articulated through the rhetoric of both/neither that demonstrates complex and contradictory identities positioned as both part of the U.S. while simultaneously remaining exterior to it.