Guåhan’s history of Spanish colonization and inflicted genocide, Japanese occupancy, and American militarization poses profound effects on CHamoru land, rights, physical health, and language survival. These include instances of “celebration colonialism” such as Liberation Day, in which CHamorus celebrate the date that the United States dropped 124 tons of bombs on Guåhan to liberate them from the Japanese ([lukao] 44). Through an analysis of his 2017 anthology from unincorporated territory: [lukao], this essay examines how Dr. Craig Santos Perez casts light on the complex inheritance of native CHamorus via an intimate portrait of diasporic CHamoru identity. Furthermore, I argue that Perez’s view of Pacific Islands as an interconnected unit — in the same vein as Tongan-Fijian writer Epeli Hau’ofa’s idea of a “sea of islands” — furthers the anthology’s alternate function as an inclusive call for justice on behalf of all transpacific peoples affected by American militarization and colonization, bound together both by the “communion” of the ocean and by the shared fallout of nuclear activity in the Pacific (Hau’ofa 152; “Praise Song for Oceania”). Ultimately, despite widespread CHamoru migration and the forewarned danger of language extinction, Perez has confidence in CHamoru language and culture: he expresses certainty that Guåhan and Oceania are constant and unfailing; as for the increasing number of “off-island” CHamorus, Perez assures, “… home is not simply a house, village, or island; home is an archipelago of belonging” (Perez, Skype Interview 2019, “Off-Island Chamorros” 1).
"“Oceania is Us:” An Intimate Portrait of CHamoru Identity and Transpacific Solidarity in from unincorporated territory: [lukao],"
The Criterion: Vol. 2020, Article 8.
Available at: https://crossworks.holycross.edu/criterion/vol2020/iss1/8
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