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Uneasy coexistence on Guam: Military buildup and an Indigenous upwelling

by | Apr 14, 2023 | Bocaítos | 0 comments

The New York Times with a great read on the tensions of military buildup versus Indigenous traditions in Guam.

“Balutan! You’ve got to balutan!”

Anthony Mantanona — Uncle Tony, Guam’s favorite Indigenous baker — pointed to trays of fresh coconut bread, reminding the barbecue’s departing guests to follow one of Chamorro culture’s elemental tenets: Balutan, or grab a to-go plate, be generous, be grateful, share.

“If you don’t need much, give it to someone else,” he yelled.

The Chamorro people were Guam’s first inhabitants, and through 500 years of colonization by Spain, Japan and, most recently, the United States, they have survived by sharing their land, sea and sky while holding fast to core cultural values.

Now, the Chamorro way is again being tested, as another round of encroachment by the U.S. military comes just as new efforts are being made to strengthen Guam’s Indigenous bonds.



William-Jose Velez Gonzalez

William-Jose Velez Gonzalez

William-José Vélez González is a native from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, and a graduate from Florida International University in biomedical engineering, engineering management, and international relations. A designer with a strong interest in science, policy, and innovation, he previously served as the national executive vice president of the Puerto Rico Statehood Students Association. William-José lives in Washington, DC, where he works at the Children's National Research Institute and runs Opsin, a nonprofit design studio dedicated to making design more accessible. You can see him on Love is Blind as Lydia's brother. He is the founder and Editor in Chief of Pasquines.


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