Week 4a: We are who we need.

Meyer quotes many other kumu and practitioners in her article – were there any quotes that resonated with you and why?

Two quotes particularly resonated with me.

The first quote was in theme one, Spirituality and Knowledge: The Cultural Contexts of Knowledge

“I’m really deeply connected to my mother and ancestors and all the Hawaiians that came before us. And in me I have some of that cellular, molecular structure and memory of long ago. How comforting!”  (Ho‘oipo DeCambra, 8 March 1997)

I loved this particular quote given the context of the readings and reflections of indigenous epistemology. It came at the right timing. This quote resonated with me and it reminded me of something important.

If I stop judging my “credibility” or “quantifications” as an indigenous person, this quote is exactly what I would say to myself and something I would truly embrace. Except it would be in the context of being CHamoru.

I truly do feel a deep connection to my mother, my ancestors, and all CHamoru people that came before me. Even in the midst of feeling very uncertain of myself and the feeling like I need certain “qualifications” of being CHamoru.

What makes it even more confusing is that these are qualifications and quantifications demanded by non-CHamoru people. That causes more internal conflict because I especially believe that in me is the “cellular, molecular structure and memory of long ago.”

I know.

It sounds mystical. Illogical. Fake.

But that does not change the fact that I feel and experience it.

I’ve always avoided acknowledging these feelings because it wasn’t logical or realistic, and it is definitely not the realities of what the western world had taught me.

This quote and reading reminds me that I can indeed embrace this quote and say it aloud. Though I still fear doing so, for fear of being told I’m a “wanna be ancient CHamoru” who wants to “go back to primitive times.”

It is just safer for me not to proclaim it out loud. I see that it makes so many people uncomfortable.

For context of my feelings, recently I was informed that the 9th Circuit Court ruling against Guam in the Arnold “Dave” Davis case. Davis is a former resident who is attempting to register for the Decolonization Registry, which allows registrants to vote on a future political status for Guam.

In short, Davis sued the Government of Guam for the decolonization registry qualification needing to be a “native inhabitant.” Native inhabitant is defined as anyone who was made as U.S. citizen via the Organic Act of Guam. I’m not a lawyer, and I know that registry and enacting law well, but nothing in it notes having to be “CHamoru” or any race for that matter.

The 9th Circuit ruled against the argument that it is not a race-based definition and means that anyone could vote in this self-determination decision for Guam.

I am heartbroken by this ruling.

My heart aches.

There are knots in my stomach.

I am aching emotionally and physically. These emotions are not easily evoked.

I’ve had to stop writing in the middle of this post to get a handle on the pain I am feeling.

I can’t help but feel so much heartache that someone felt that their rights were violated because the native inhabitants wanted the be the sole decision makers in the political status of Guam.

I deeply apologize for anyone who is offended by my feelings of devastation and heartache in this ruling.

For anyone who would did not qualify for this registry, know that your best interest is also my best interest because when someone else is unhappy, scared, or uncomfortable it is difficult for me to really feel happy. I am guided by the principle of fa’taotao which means treat others with the love and respect every human deserves. I, and many other CHamoru people, will consider those who have moved here to this land and adopted the culture.

This brings me to the second favorite quote in theme four Relationships and Knowledge: Notions of Self Through Others

 “How can you be happy in your experiences when others are unhappy?” (Gladys Brandt, 27 March 1997)  

This quote reiterates the exact sentiments I feel toward any other injustices happening in the world. This quote doesn’t just resonate, it resounds in my heart. I physically feel and experiences the emotion in this quote. I hurt when I see the raw pain of others. I especially hurt when I see and hear hate dictating someone’s self-perception and worldview. I hurt for those when those who are privileged say and do (often times ignorantly) such unloving things.

In my head I ask the privileged, “how can you be happy in your experiences when other are unhappy?”

How can you be satisfied at someone else’s expense?

In the reverse, I often reflect and expand my awareness of my own privileges and ask myself this exact same question. I ask my ancestors, my family, for guidance on what I can do to help foster another person’s happiness.

What differences did you notice between how Meyer speaks (in her video last week) and how she writes.  Was one of them more impactful to you and why?

I actually did not notice a difference in how Meyer speaks and writes. I felt that it was as if she was talking to me and that I wasn’t reading an academic essay. It was amazing! Of the two readings, I read this one first and although it was long, I understood it more than I did the second reading, which I felt was very heavy in academic language. But I will say while Meyer’s essay was smoother to read for me, listening to her speak was far more comprehensive for me.

What do you think about the seven principles of indigenous worldviews?  Do you think anything needs to be added to that list?

I very much appreciated the seven principles of indigenous worldviews. I can’t think of anything in particular that I would add. Many, if not all, the principles cover the values that have been taught to me and that influenced my worldview as a CHamoru.

Is your academic worldview mostly informed by western or native worldviews?  Why is that?  Do you think it can and should change?

I think my academic worldview is entirely informed by western worldviews. After reading the content provided in this class, I have not realized how little I was exposed to native worldviews as far as academics. The few native worldviews in academia I’ve seen were some of the content were from my CHamoru studies program.

Heck, I have dismissed so many possible paper themes that touch on indigenous epistemology, not knowing then that’s what it was. I naively thought it is not the arena in which to discuss things like Spirituality, Knowledge, and Relationships.

I hope to someday contribute to the native worldviews of academia knowing that there is a space for it.

How will you share the new knowledge that you gain through this course?

I hope to share the knowledge gained through this course with anyone who will listen and share their thoughts. I am fortunate to have a partner who is interested in the content we are being provided in this class. Many times he will overhear something or I will eagerly tell him about this beautiful light that has been turned on.

I am again reminded.

We have what we need. We are who we need.

Just as Meyers said.

I am gently, yet sternly, reminded that we are who we need.

Note to self:

Busta dininida hao, esta un tungu na ti hinasson CHamoru para ta dinida i lina’lan yan I tinemtom mañainan-mu. Honge’ ha.

(Stop doubting yourself, you already know that to doubt the life and wisdom of your ancestors is not CHamoru. Just believe it).

May it serve as a friendly reminder for anyone else who needed to hear that.

Sar ginen Guåhan

6 thoughts on “Week 4a: We are who we need.”

  1. Dear Sar,
    Your posts are always so heartfelt, sincere, full of a desire for good, they touch my heart and bring tears to my eyes. So thank you.
    I was also sad to hear that there is a backlash on CHamoru people who are fighting for CHamoru rights being called “wannabe ancient CHamoru” who wants to “go back to primitive times.” We have had the same phenomenon here, which is why the current resurgence of Hawaiian cultural identification and unified efforts to support the Kia’i (protectors) of Mauna Kea is so amazing. When I first learned about Hawaiian sovereignty in the late 1980s, there was a similar attitude amongst the majority of the Hawaiian community which was trying to hard to assimilate, against activists and others who spoke out for Hawaiian self-determination, sovereignty, etc. In the intervening 30 years there has been a significant shift in this attitude, and at this precise moment in history, I am completely overwhelmed by how widespread and deep the support for Ku Kia’i Mauna has become. Today I was driving around downtown and I came across at least 7 cars and houses with the Hawaiian national flag waving proudly, a contemporary signal of the Ku Kia’i Mauna movement. People are even calling it the Hawaiian Renaissance 2.0!
    Your aloha spirit, your desire not to cause harm to others was also so prevalent in your post, and so much understood and appreciated. However, I’m upset at the Davis ruling, very upset. It is exactly what happened in Hawai’i in 1959, when the decision for statehood was put before the populace: there was no Hawaiian ancestry requirement, and there wasn’t even a residency requirement!!! Americans were flown in (many military members) and they flooded the voting booths with pro-statehood votes. This is a shame. I would like to find out if it counts as an act of self-determination if the population comes from other countries and have no loyalty to the Hawaiian government.
    Aloha no
    Napua

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Rosario,

    Your blog is amazing and it really inspired me to know and connect with my roots. I so love when you said this,

    “What makes it even more confusing is that these are qualifications and quantifications demanded by non-CHamoru people. That causes more internal conflict because I especially believe that in me is the “cellular, molecular structure and memory of long ago.”

    This statement means so much to me. You have an amazing natural indigenous spirit and I think this is more than a blessing to you. When I read that statement, I just felt that you genuinely lived long time ago and somehow you are still deeply connected with the ancient times. This is amazing!

    I truly enjoy reading your blogs as you obviously enjoy this class. I look forward reading your future blogs.

    Thank you.
    Jean

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, that was an amazing post. I felt every emotion you spoke of and felt real pain for you and for CHamoru people given the ruling. It is so hard to understand why self determination is so difficult for indigenous people. As sad as I felt, I was also hopeful because you speak to your truth and still care for others feelings. Thank you! One question. could I repost your blog for my site? I totally understand if you choose not to as it is so personal and emotional. Thanks for considering though and know that I ask because this is so outstanding. Mike

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aloha Professor Spencer!

      Thank you appreciating my post. It is reassuring to hear appreciation given I went back and forth the whole day trying to decide if it would be the “right” thing by posting my raw thoughts and feelings.

      I have been chastised and criticized for not “being a CHamoru” by want Davis to lose his case. Because my “exclusivity” was no “CHamoru hospitality.”

      As for your question about reposting, I would be very happy for you repost it. I think of all the blogs I posted I think this one is my most vulnerable which I have come to value in learning. So, yes you are most welcome to repost! I hope it brings comfort, insights or anything for someone else experiencing (or not) any sort of pain that I had tried to express in this post.

      Again, thank you for your appreciation of my post. Really. Especially because I fear so much that I would stand alone and considered crazy or “selfish” in my thoughts about the Davis case.

      Also, I noticed that parts of my post had some unusually typos. I went ahead and made those edits. I usually type it into a word document, edit there and then post but I now see that it doesn’t copy into WordPress exactly.

      Thank you very much again.

      Sar ginen Guåhan

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mahalo! You are not alone and I appreciate learning from you and hope to be an ally to CHamoru people, which is one of the reasons I want to rest. Your voice is so strong in this post and I am glad that you at taking the risk to be more vulnerable. Stay strong and keep up the great work! Mike

    Like

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