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Project August 17, 2022

Fanohge Guåhan: CHamoru Voices From a Militarized Colony

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Nearly 8,000 miles from Washington DC lies the United States’ furthest colony: the island of Guam. In 1898, the United States gained possession of Guam and quickly mobilized to make the Pacific island a “strategic” military base. Guam has since been a focal point in multiple international wars, including World War II. Today, nearly one-third of the 30-mile long island is still occupied by the U.S. military.

Military activities, both past and current, exact a toll on Guam’s local communities. Chemicals leached from war waste can be found in the soils; unexploded ordnance, such as bombs and munitions, are discovered during construction projects; and ancestral lands are being desecrated for new military bases and training grounds. CHamorus—the Indigenous people of Guam—are at the forefront of resisting military build-up on their island. They are leading efforts to document the environmental and health hazards associated with militarization, mobilize their communities, and protect their sacred lands. This project investigates the health inequities brought about by military activities in Guam and highlights how Indigenous CHamorus are demanding a change.

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