The Roles in Guam’s Future Political Status

Johnathan Borja

Håfa Adai!

Last week (3/12-3/18), I read an article by Dylan Kioshi where he responded to an article written by Rebekah Garrison. After reading both articles, I thought hard about the questions they both posed. From my understanding, Miss Garrison supports the idea of Guam becoming an independent nation. The other two options for Guam are to become a State or for Guam to get cozy with free association. I will try my bestI’m going to try and do my best to get my thoughts in order.

First off, I’m going to address Miss Garrison’s article and her suggestion that settlers learn about the land they walk on. Miss Garrison brought up Haunani-Kay Trask. This woman is fierce. She is the epitome of what it means to be an indigenous person angry about colonization. Her words are moving, true and everything I would love to be. He words inspire me to fight for the island that, as Miss Garrison mentioned, is constantly written out of American History textbooks. When I tell people at Marquette I’m from Guam, they think we’re located near Barbados or Cuba. They always have a bewildered look on their face. Maybe a year ago, I would have let it slide, but I really shouldn’t. There is no reason why they shouldn’t know Guam. They know Puerto Rico, French Polynesia, Samoa, etc. Guam is a victim in American History and what do we get in a history textbook? Nothing. I recall in my history class the part of the book where Guam should be mentioned. Guam was stated to be a U.S. Territory and that’s all.

Let’s forget the fact that after Pearl Harbor was bombed, the Japanese attacked us on one of our most holy days. You read that right. Holy. We are Catholic, thanks to colonization. Let’s not forget the Chamorro men that lost their lives fighting in hopes that the Americans would show up. Let’s not forget the women that were raped and killed. Let’s not forget the people that were piled into caves and shot. Or the people that were lined up along ditches and shot. Let’s not forget my grandma who told me stories of how her family walked for miles and miles to camps (hey, America, the Japanese did to us what you did to them in the mainland). Let’s not forget my grandma telling me how her aunt shed tears at how skinny my grandma was getting from lack of nutrition and all the walking.

We have a history. A long, arduous, amazing history. But we are not valued for it. Instead, our cultures were pushed aside. Our heritage was deemed second-rate. My blood was labeled as the Other. The U.S. took away our language by banning it from being spoken in schools. The result? I’m not fluent in it. I’m slowly learning and actively trying to do my best to absorb more of my culture. I have no pride in the fact that I was born American. Being American isn’t something to be proud of in my eyes, as if the current situation our nation is in isn’t proof enough. I have pride in the fact that I was born Chamorro. My people—God bless them—they are my strength. They are the reason I’ve traveled thousands of miles to be where I am right now. Truthfully, Marquette is not the ideal college for an island boy. In fact, I’d suggest that anyone from Guam looking for higher education choose somewhere on either coast. Both have much more accepting people as well as Guamanians and Chamorros.

In short, I agree that it is the duty of people not of Chamorro descent to educate themselves about my culture. You’re living on land that Chamorro families may have claims to. We, the natives, have to learn American History and American values like individualism and capitalism. I feel it’s only right that if you stay on Guam you learn about Puntan and Fu’una, Sirena, Inafa’maolek, Respetu, etc.Ms. Garrison wrote, “…I support an independent Guåhan even without the “right” to vote for Guåhan’s self-determination for many reasons, but especially, because I believe none of us, growing up on the continent or Guåhan, have ever received an elementary or high school education that values indigenous histories and possibilities for decolonization.”I could not agree more. This quote encompasses what I wish for Guam. Finally, as a Chamorro, I’d like to thank all the settlers—no—my Guamanian brothers and sisters who are actively vouching for my people and decolonization. I’m not entirely sold on any of the directions Guam could go as of now, but independence sounds pretty darn good to me.

Now, Mr. Kioshi had questions for the indigenous people of Guam. I will now proceed to answer them myself.

What are native Chamorros responsibilities to the land and people?

What are my responsibilities? To me, my responsibilities are to educate my school on the fact that they’re not the only ones in this world. Americans rejoice in their freedom, by oppressing others. People travel to Pacific Islands to partake in the warm climates, the culture and then they return without a second glance at what they experienced. They always look at the surface level of things. Don’t bother asking the man’åmko (elders) about their lives as POWs. No, instead, enjoy food, dancing and a rich culture that has gone through hell to remain on this earth. My responsibility to the land is to make sure people know what’s going on in the first place. It’s to ensure that people not from Guam understand that when they decide to settle on our island and choose to turn a blind eye from the problems we face, that they are also a part of that exact problem.

What are my responsibilities to the people? I honestly have no idea and I don’t know what I’m doing. At my age, kids are still trying to figure themselves out and I am no exception. However, one thing that remains constant since I’ve left Guam is, everything I’ve done and will do has always been done with Guam on my mind. I constantly think, “But if I do this, will it help Grandma? Will it make my ancestors proud? Will it make an easier life for my family?” My responsibility to the people of Guam is to shape myself in my own image in a way that could best serve the Chamorros and Guamanians. Maybe as a lawyer, I can represent the island and challenge everything the U.S. has done. It might be a stupid thing to do, but I’d rather do something stupid than nothing at all. I have the duty of being a catalyst for younger generations to push back against the U.S. and the colonialism that comes with them.

But again, I have no idea what I’m doing and how I’m going to ever bring about change for my island. I can run for governor or I can be an activist, but what will that do? I can be a Speech Language Pathologist and provide my services to everyone on Guam. I could be a teacher and instil a fire in my students so that they will not be apathetic when things go awry for our island. Minorities are always at odds with the world. We can only do so much and it gets so tiring combatting all the injustices like colonization. This past election has revealed a lot about people. It’s allowed people intolerant of others to come forward and criticize or verbally assault those who are different because the President does it too. Sometimes, it makes me weak and I can’t help but feel like there really is no point to anything I do. Which brings me to Mr. Kioshi’s other questions.

“Who are we to each other? What does that mean for each of us in the future of Guam?”

Who are we to each other? If you’re not of native blood, but you call Guam home, then you’re my brother or sister. Che’lu. That’s what you are. You look out for me, my island, my people and I’ll make sure that you’re well taken care of. Guamanian or Chamorro, you’ve decided to settle on my island and if you’ve chosen to learn my culture and learn more about who I am, then you are an ally. I’m not some Chamorro that boasts pure-blood, because no one really is. Rather, I’m a Chamorro that does what the U.S. is failing to do: accept people. The world may be against us, but as long as there are people of all walks of life that stand together, anything can be done.

What does this mean for the future of Guam? It’s my ancestors land and now you have a part of it. For the future of Guam, I hope it means that people will stop settling in complacency. I hope people will be aggressive and intent on letting the U.S. know that we are tired of being labeled as unimportant. We’ve lost just as much, if not more than we have gained from being under American colonial rule. You gave us an American education, so maybe it’s time we introduce the Americans to the Chamorro lesson plan of respetu (respect). Just respect the land, the people, the culture and everything. Having no culture does not give one permission to buff out a culture that has already been established. I’m tired of feeling like I have no control over what happens on my island and if any non-native people of Guam are willing to help me, then I think we can move forward with a new political status.

We have been historically underestimated and constantly told that we’re not much and that island life is where it’s at. The Guam Congress can be used as an example. People thought we had power with the Guam Congress, but really it was to satiate the desire for our people to govern ourselves. The Guam Congress had no power. It was a joke. It was the U.S. saying, “Hey, we don’t think you need rights right now, so let’s give you this fake body to make it seem like you could govern yourselves. But really we’ll continue to place naval governors as your governors, because you don’t understand anything that’s outside of your little island and your coconut heads cannot comprehend it.” I used to always pray to God for patience and strength, but now that I no longer have a religious affiliation (blasphemy, I know Guam, but not everyone enjoys Catholicism), I rely on myself for those two things. However, I think it’s about damn time I don’t ask for patience, because we’ve waited for over a hundred years to be free from colonization and I’ll be damned if I don’t see Guam free of the U.S. before I die.

So what does this mean for us? For my family, for their families and for anyone that calls Guam home, I hope it means we can work in tandem to see to a culturally enriched Guam. My island isn’t for those who would disrespect it and the culture. I hope it means any non-natives will gladly saddle up their carabaos (water buffalo) with me and we’ll ride into a better Guam.

This article was originally published at The Odyssey Online.

Healing Rivers

Carolyn Lewis

The Milwaukee River Basin, 900 square miles, is made up of the Menomonee, Kinnickinnic, and, of course, the Milwaukee River that runs through the city and into Lake Michigan. The urban-environment and agricultural influence on these rivers prompts the Milwaukee Riverkeeper to give the Basin a “grade” of a C- (2015 Milwaukee River Basin Report Card). The Midwest is known for its beauty and nature, but as of right now our river areas and their wildlife are not where they should be. Recent tests done by United States Geological Survey (USGS) states that “viruses from cattle occurred in 14 percent of the samples collected” from the Milwaukee River and “Human viruses were present in 16 percent of the total number of water samples” taken from their 8-river study. The levels of bacteria, phosphorus, and conductivity in just the Milwaukee River alone is alarming, but reversible with attention and action.

The River Basin contains habitats for endangered and threatened plants and animal species who we do not want to lose from our ecosystem. The first step to protecting and nurturing the biodiversity of our freshwater rivers is awareness. Reconsidering threatening action such as land development, concrete river enclosure, and dams is imperative when we live so close to our rivers. Action is usually haste when it comes to our rivers and it is time the people have more of an idea of what is being done. Projects such as Watermarks by artist Mary Miss, are being implemented to raise conscientiousness and interaction between citizens and their water that surrounds them. This “Living Laboratory” is trying to shine light on the City of Milwaukee’s environmental challenges by manifesting water ‘map pins’ as pole markers that people can interact with an app. Giving information to the people is a step in the right direction for effort towards healthier aquatic and terrestrial habitat. A way that you can help is purchasing and using a personal Rain Barrel. Rain Barrels help ease flooding during storms and stop excess water in the sewer system from getting into our freshwaters. Our freshwater rivers provide beauty, recreation and habitat, it is time to protect them.

Work Cited

USGS. “Human, Cattle Viruses Detected in Some Great Lakes Tributaries.” Human, Cattle Viruses Detected in Some Great Lakes Tributaries. N.p., 2 Mar. 2017.

Meatless Mondays

Clare McCullough

If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan in America, it’s a little more challenging to find something tasty and filling to eat. Which of course makes sense; animal products are a huge part of our lives in American culture. Americans eat on average 5.3 pounds of meat a day. (Black)

America loves our meat, but have you ever wondered where that meat came from? I have and in learning about the issue I came face to face with a lot of realities that were hard for me to accept.  One of those realities was how much harm our meat-eating habits were doing world-wide. And, so I propose a grass-roots campaign to spread awareness of the environmental impact of animal agriculture and help curb the rising obesity epidemic. By using targeted reduction of even just one day, our rational consumption changes the narrative for both the health of our bodies and the environment. We need to take into account the full costs of our individual actions on a massive scale.

Animal Agriculture is a huge contributor to climate change, According to WorldWatch, “livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of CO2 per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emission.” Which is more than all of the transportation sector combined. Yep, that’s the cars, trucks, boats, and planes all put together. We’ve been focusing on wrong areas, instead of transportation, we need to turn our attention to our diets.

Animal agriculture is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses. There are a lot of people on the earth, and to support all of them and still preserve our environment, we need to cut back on energy exhaustive practices- think about how much energy goes into making a burger- grow the cow’s food, feed and hydrate the cow, deal with its waste, give it antibiotics, ship the fat cows, grind the meat, wash, cut, clean, package, ship, and cook. The long processes that go into making that hamburger emit a lot of CO2 and all the while these cows on the farms are emitting upwards to a 150 billion gallons of methane globally per day. (IBT) And if we were to reduce methane, we would see results of a more relieved climate almost immediately (UN)

Going meatless on Mondays would also help decrease obesity. More than 30% of adults in Wisconsin are obese and the effects of obesity are very serious; it is related to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.(CDC) These diseases are preventable, and by doing whatever we can to help, and utilizing Marquette’s deep commitment to the well-being of the whole human family, we can make a difference by cutting out meat for one day a week. Though many people have the conception that vegetarianism is unhealthy, that is clearly untrue.

According to AND, vegetarians are at lower risk for developing: Heart disease, Colorectal, ovarian, and breast cancers, Diabetes, Obesity, and Hypertension (high blood pressure).  Eating a healthy vegetarian diet is typically higher in fiber and lower in fat content. By promoting a vegetarian lifestyle we promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. But obesity isn’t the only thing that Meatless Mondays would help curb.

the environmental impact of animal agriculture. We need to take care of this earth, since it’s the only one that we have. It is certain that its destruction, would mean our destruction.

And, though I know that Climate change is a bit of a political point, and there are people who deny it, I would still like to bring up facts that often come up in the scientific community about it. Global warming is caused by heat getting trapped in the atmosphere and in effect, disrupting weather patterns and increasing the overall temperature of the earth. The safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at its maximum, is 350 parts per million. In 2014, we passed 400. As a result, the sea level is rising due to the ice sheets of Greenland and the Antarctic melting. Oceans are acidifying. “Climate change will destroy, damage, or permanently change every single ecosystem” (Sierra Club)

All of the effects that scientists had warned us about are starting to become a reality, and according to NASA, the result of climate change on the Midwest will entail, “Extreme heat, heavy downpours, and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more. Climate change will also exacerbate a range of risks to the Great Lakes.” One of the ways we can combat Climate change is to start Meatless Mondays since climate change will affect all of us and it’s a small price to pay to prevent the destruction of the planet.

But even if you don’t believe in Climate change, there are still reasons to cut back on meat. According to FAO, livestock or livestock feed occupies 1/3 of the earth’s ice-free land. And, it has so far, contributed to 91% of the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest, one of the most ecologically diverse places on the planet. This is just one of the many immediate impacts of animal agriculture.

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, because deforestation and converting the land to grow feed and for animal grazing. Natural predators in the regions where the land is converted are often killed since they are a perceived threat to livestock profits. According to the center for biological diversity, 30-50 percent of all species could be heading toward extinction by 2050. This loss of biodiversity has been unprecedented since the last mass extinction: The end of the dinosaurs.

The pervasive use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides that are used for growing feed contribute to water pollution and contribute to ocean dead zones. The overexploitation of commercial fishing which has depleted 75% of the world’s fisheries will lead us to, according to national geographic, fishless oceans by 2048. I will be 51 years old, and at that time, if all goes well, my kids will be going to college, just like I am right now. But they might not live in a world like I do. Their world, and mine will be vastly different. It is my wish that, when I am old, I will not have to tell them stories of how the world used to be, but show them how magnificent the natural world is, how I spent my summers camping, fishing, and hiking in the seemingly endless parks with my family. And according to Wannaveg, if just one person participated in meatless Mondays for a year, that person would reduce their meat consumption from 250 pounds to 215 pounds, which is a big difference when you factor in the reduction of over 400 pounds of manure, and the 84,000 gallons of water, 245 pounds of grain, 7,700 sq feet of rainforest, and 15.5 gallons of gas saved, and of course, 1 animal’s life.

It is our responsibility, As citizens of this world to ensure that the spill over of our climate destruction doesn’t only affect other countries but also doesn’t follow us into the future.

Black, Jane. “Oh, Meatless Mondays; the Movement has Legs, but Will it be Able to Get Past the Industry’s Talking Points?” The Washington Post, May 19, 2010, ProQuest Central,

A Short Critique on the American Democracy

Clare McCullough

Bottle rockets and the

Fourth of July

Who knew freedom came in a pack

Of hamburger buns

A celebration of this great nation

Independence day with nearly 25%

Of the world’s prison population

A history of slavery and terrorism

The mandatory nonvoter forever a nonissue

ignored abused and intimidated; American citizens

For fear that their preaching of acceptance

and tolerance just might start working

Predation is a part of exploitation

We’re American, we’re free but

hypocrisy is in the make of our 1770s jeans

Its not amazing that our empathy isn’t working

Don’t listen to Ron Reagan or Bill Clinton;

poor people are not to blame

it’s the piles of money and decades of shame

Law and order are easy when money has more

Value than Eric Garner’s ability to breathe

Lee, Michelle Ye Hee. “Does the United States Really Have 5 Percent of the World’s Population and One Quarter of the World’s Prisoners?” The Washington Post. WP Company, 30 Apr. 2015. Web. 22 Mar. 2017.

Hembra Mujer Niña

Yazmin Gomez


Growing up I never really questioned my gender or my gender expectations. I was not a “girly girl” but I was not a “tomboy” either. I was assigned girl at birth and I have always identified as such. However, in recent years have come to the realization that gender is not as clear as girl and boy despite society’s insistence that it is. I have also noticed the impact my culture and the women around me have had on my views on gender. I have gotten most, if not all, of my ideas regarding gender from my family and culture.

As a young Latina, I was surrounded by powerful women who helped shape my own view of women. My grandmothers and aunts have always been the ones in charge of the family. They are the go-to people for advice and help for major decisions; Any and all issues went through them first. Seeing this defiance of traditional gender roles embedded in me a reminder to boldly not take anything from anyone.

Yet they spent their days cleaning, cooking, and tending to the house. While these roles are essential to the maintenance of a quality home, they are not merely for women. At times this confused me as I often felt I could only be assertive within my household. What I also got from them was varying forms of gender expression and performance.

Clothing is perhaps the easiest and most prevalent way of performing gender. Either you wear girl clothes or boy clothes. I always wore “girl” clothes as I was dressed by parents but I saw very different forms of femininity and female expression in my youth. The singer Selena had died a couple of years before my birth but I grew up listening to her music. Apart from her music she is often known for her appearance. This beautiful, young, talented women was the epitome of Latin beauty in the 90’s. Yet at the same time I saw different looking women around me. My mother was quite young when I was born and she grew up expressing herself as a typical “chola”. Cholas, a staple of the 90s latinx world, were a beautiful blend of masculine gangster culture and classic Mexican femininity. She often dressed in baggy, masculine clothes and wore dramatic makeup.

With both these women there is an emphasis on makeup and dress. This also makes me realize that there are varying forms of femininity and all are equally valid. While gender is a social construct, it is, to many, an essential part of their identity. With my piece, I am attempting to display just some of the many types of women throughout Latina (specifically Mexican) culture. From famous artists Frida Kahlo and Selena to my own grandmother and aunts, this piece includes the iconic images of femininity that I grew up with. It also includes cultural symbols such as sugar skulls and the Virgin Mary. The Virgin Mary specifically evokes the role religion has on my culture’s view of gender. In Catholicism, the women of the bible are often seen as examples to follow. As a young girl, I would go to Virgin Mary’s basilica in Mexico and be reminded that this pious, devote women was to be emulated.

My culture is something I cannot shake, it is an inherent part of my identity, nor is it something I wish to change. Throughout my lifetime I have seen varying depictions of womanhood. Though confusing at times, I have now come to the realization that this means I can truly be whomever I wish to be.

Reinventing the ‘F’ Word: Feminism


When it comes to shedding light on equality and corruption in the art world, the women in the gorilla masks dominate and inspire.

With their unique approach to protest and activism, they’ve drawn attention to many issues in the current art world. Combining statistics, humor and art, they’ve created exhibits, prints and public pieces for us to see and reflect upon. The Guerrilla Girls freely showed all the ways sexism, racism and corruption take place within in the modern art world, on February 22nd, they spoke at the Milwaukee Institution of Art and Design (MIAD).

The women are anonymous but take on the names of famous female artists. Many of these artists which I found myself not familiar with. This drove home the truth of their word that the female gender is underrepresented in art museums and history. The issues that were addressed stemmed from statistics the Guerrilla Girls have followed for decades when they started in 1985 New York. Since then they have become an international phenomenon that people cannot, and don’t want to, ignore.

The Guerrilla Girls have given attention to the entertainment industry. This attention is given mostly through billboards in Hollywood about lack of opportunity and recognition in the Academy Awards. The Oscars that premiered this Spring 2017 proved them to be expanding their diversity. But awards shows are just the product of an industry that has a history dominated by white males. To witness and begin to change the under representation, we must begin with the writers, producers and financiers of the movie/art industry that create the opportunity. In awards shows, the movies are already made, the cast is already hired and the crew has already done their work. We must begin with the script writers and studios executives who create our films. The Guerrilla Girls talked about how the art industry is, and has been, all about money and power. It is time to confront the real issues that are dominating our creative fields. This world we find ourselves in needs a wake up call and the Guerrilla Girls give it to us, with powerful Guerrilla tactics.

Miad Event and the Milwaukee Art Museum:

A Collection of Three Poems

Chris Kresser

The game show has begun
Stop talking when you hear the bell ring
You may respond if you’ve been called
Now let them all sing

We are here to find a leader
The one who will gladly take up the cup
Not for greed, power, or lust
But for god, guns, and country

Argot spoken from golden tongues
Ensemble suits and pockets weighted
The accusatory finger pointed at the congregation
But you will find no members of the cloth here

You say you know us
You say you know where we have been
“I am you”
But I cannot see what you claim

I see hefty shoulders and chins held to the sky
I see men with opulent houses
I see women with eyes burning and wide
Absent is the eagle’s seal

Bearing no branch of olives
No strife, nor character to claim
“The fault lies in you”
Says the appointed few

But to the land you love to castigate
Your contributions show only deposits
While the starved feeble parish
On the roads you paved with promises

Where will you go, when your kin ask you to atone?

Wise Words from the 26th
Red pen marks that circle around text
Covered across the white pressed surface
Looking on with doubt
I must remind myself “It is not the critic who counts”

To mark a page is painless
To shout at the stage is seamless
To call every play is effortless
To mock the one who tries is cowardice

Without sounding preachy
During my life I have come to know
When you’re the one in the arena
It is not they who make the mark

The only one that can critique
And second guess your every step
The only one that can truly fulfill you
Is the one who continues on

Till the very last breath

The Algorithm
Attached at the hip. Spines of rigid cogs and screws
An extension of my fingers. Printed black text
Updated constantly with the news.


The cacophonies rip at my back bones
But hey, at least now I fit the mold
Information bought not sold

I feel the dashes and dots in my brains
I can hear it coursing through my veins
All of it noise and echo chambers

Did you know this? Did you know that?
This is cool! This is bad! Error ERROR!
System hack. Upload. Reboot. Crash.