- Laenui discusses the processes of colonization (put forth by Enriques) as well as his own processes of decolonization. Where do you see yourself, your culture in those processes. Does decolonization make sense for you? Where would you say you are in the process of decolonization?
-I feel, at this time in my people’s life (Guam) we are in an long drawn out dance of phase 1-3.
The culture is being exposed to a “cultural renaissance”. Many of our practices are being showcased and highlighted. But due to the centuries of colonialism by multiple colonizers, we have compromised our identify. Absorbing traditional practices from other places and not being authentic to the CHamoru lineage. This has separated the people into 3 different groups when it comes to the practices tradition, language and culture.
Fino Håya: a very indegenous way with limited to not outside influence.
Fino Chamorro: the more modern way of language, influences by other colonizers or modern influences.
I think Guam is also faced with a plague of self victimization. There is a lot of pointing fingers of the US military taking our lands and creating firing ranges. Although it seems like a negative dilemma, I have personally seen the positives to this as a environmental researcher. Ive seen endangered turtle population and other eco systems surviving because of the protection of the operations.
Ive also seen greedy people use activism for personal and political gain. Influencing decolonization and as a shift from unfavorable personal conditions.
Because of all of this Guam is in a state of misunderstanding. Its easy to be influenced on whats going on, on social media. Its also easy to be dependent on all the social constructs the United States has given to Guam.
But the people of Guam would benefit from being a part of the decolonization process, to critically think about the different political statuses and come together as one island… one people for the future of our people.
- Tuck and Yang discuss the difference between reconciliation and decolonization. What do you think about the difference?
-I understand the difference and I have personally seen the difference in Hawaii, Guam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Reconciliation is more of excepting the current socioeconomic political status and being paid out. I also see this as a means of integration furthering the commitment of coloization.
Decolonization insists more on the alternatives to integration, and follows more of an independence of a people and their lands.
- We have all been colonized through our education and the influence of our social environment. Even our participation in this course and work with the university can be seen as participating in a colonial system – what are some things that stand out to you in your social environments, e.g. family, work, school, communities, institutions that are unsettling now that you think about them. Tell us what it was and how it impacts/ed you.
-I understand as an indigenous CHamoru Man, that I am influenced and educated by a western system. I also understand that the history that is given to me is one sided and given by the victors.
Through this education I have also been influenced to think for myself, be a critical thinker, and be resourceful. This western influence, allowed me to be a better advocate for social disparities and represent the unrepresented.
Yet, one example sticks out in a colonial system. The social work code of ethics. I understand that this ethical system is used to protect the client and the social worker but in the true essence of being a social worker we are here to increase the quality of life for individuals, groups and families. Meanwhile, client self determination restricts us from telling someone what to do, rather we have to convince enlighten them to seeks a better choice.
As a CHamoru man, it is my duty to protect and fix all problems affect my people. My culture allows us to be communal with everything, even absorbing others burdens. Rather in our current state and status, it is very individualistic.
But I have learned and would like to explore more on how to make both of these opposing structures work together harmoniously.