The generational grief of colonization

“Guam has been a US territory since 1898, and today, the Department of Defense occupies roughly 30 percent of its land — a share that’s only growing.

Most recently, the Pentagon decided to relocate roughly 5,000 Marines from Japan to Guam as part of a larger realignment of US military forces in the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, the ongoing construction of the newest US Marine base, Camp Blaz, is nearing completion, despite major opposition from the island’s local residents. Further aggravating Guam’s native Chamorro people, military officials last summer found human remains and cultural artifacts dating back to the island’s pre-colonial Latte period during the excavation of the land, as they seemingly broke ground on ancient villages.

Guam’s pristine northern coastline has also recently been impacted by the construction of a massive firing range complex, which is an extension of the Marine base. It not only sits atop numerous historical sites, but it’s also dangerously near the island’s primary source of drinking water and would gravely damage the island’s natural resources and biodiversity — including more than 1,000 acres of native limestone forest and species, such as Guam’s slender-toed gecko.

On top of this, and in concert with a pandemic that’s taken the lives of hundreds of native Pacific Islanders, Aguon’s book comes at a time when Indigenous Chamorro people face growing erasure. Many Americans still don’t know that people born on the island are US citizens —citizens who enlist in and die serving the military at a higher rate per capita than anyone in the country yet cannot vote in US elections.”

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