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Simply Chamorro: Telling Tales of Demise and Survival in Guam

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Item Summary Diaz, Vicente M. 2009-10-30T00:11:58Z 2009-10-30T00:11:58Z 1994
dc.identifier.citation Diaz, V. M. 1994. Simply Chamorro: Telling Tales of Demise and Survival in Guam. The Contemporary Pacific 6 (1): 29-58.
dc.identifier.issn 1043-898X
dc.description.abstract In 1945 the American folklorist Mavis Van Peenen justified her interest in collecting Chamorro folktales from the island of Guam with the lesson of an impending demise of native folk and lore. Referring to the Chamorro in the ever-present masculine pronoun, Van Peenen wrote, "He walks the precipitous ledge of past and present, with an abyss of Americanization waiting below to engulf him." The ledge consisted of over two centuries of Spanish Catholic subjugation capped by the ravages of a recent war. The "abyss" was the materiality of American liberation and benevolence, a profound set of postwar changes in terrain and psyche that she felt would surely extinguish any bid at Chamorro survival. "Simply Chamorro" situates Van Peenen's modern-day lament within a larger canon of historical discontinuity in the Marianas, namely, the persistent tragic view of the demise of indigenous culture, especially in the island of Guam. Van Peenen's own text is remarkable, moreover, for her listing of eight reasons why the Chamorro was headed to "his" grave. Against this particular plot, "Simply Chamorro" inverts Van Peenen's tale to spin stories not of death but of troubled life and contested identities. The essay uses her eight reasons as points of departure (or arrival) for writing histories of indigenous survival, through the messiness of colonial entanglements that characterizes the politics of the Chamorro past and present, as well as constructing representations of pasts and presents in the island of Guam.
dc.language.iso en-US
dc.publisher University of Hawai'i Press
dc.publisher Center for Pacific Islands Studies
dc.subject.lcsh Oceania -- Periodicals.
dc.title Simply Chamorro: Telling Tales of Demise and Survival in Guam
dc.type Article
dc.type.dcmi Text
Appears in Collections: TCP [The Contemporary Pacific], 1994 - Volume 6, Number 1

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