Across more than 1,200 acres at the northern tip of Guam lies an area known as Litekyan. In CHamoru, Litekyan means “stirring place.” The sheer beauty of this land will likely move anyone lucky enough to lay eyes upon it. Steep limestone cliffs give way to verdant jungle, which opens up to sky blue waters that house an underwater world.
These ancestral lands have supported the lives of Indigenous communities for more than 3,500 years. However, the U.S. Department of Defense took the land in 1963. It was then transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is now a federal wildlife refuge that is bordered by Andersen Air Force Base.
This photo essay contrasts the beauty of Litekyan with the ways military build-up is encroaching on the land. Throughout this essay are thoughts and recollections from a few of Litekyan’s original CHamoru land owners.
Note: The spelling of CHamoru words in the captions adheres to the use of words in Lina’la: Portraits of Life at Litekyan, produced by the Richard Flores Taitano Micronesian Area Research Center.