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SustainabilityApproaches to Environmental Justice and Social Power$
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Julie Sze

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781479894567

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479894567.001.0001

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I Tano’ i Chamorro/Chamorro Land

I Tano’ i Chamorro/Chamorro Land

Situating Sustainabilities through Spatial Justice and Cultural Perpetuation

(p.222) 9 I Tano’ i Chamorro/Chamorro Land

Michael Lujan Bevacqua

Isa Ua Ceallaigh Bowman

NYU Press

In 2009, the U.S. Department of Defense announced its intention to drastically increase their military presence on the island of Guam. Although this “military buildup” was predicted to cause severe damage to the island in environmental, social and economic terms, discourse from island leaders and media reports focused primarily on this increase as being the key to future “sustainability” for the island. This chapter argues that the notion of the military build-up as being “sustainable” was tied to historical militarization and colonization of the indigenous Chamorro people of the western Pacific over centuries, during which the United States has been elevated to the stature of a liberator and socioeconomic savior. This chapter surveys the scholarly literature on the effects of U.S. military "Draft Environmental Impact Statements" on indigenous populations, with particular regard to effects on the indigenous Chamorro people. This chapter also discusses the ways in which demilitarization and decolonization activists from local indigenous Chamorro groups such as Nasion Chamoru used the public comment period for the U.S. military’s plans in order to disrupt the fantasy of the build-up’s sustainability and help the local community develop a more critical position in relation to the military's own stated environmental impacts.

Keywords:   Guam, Chamorro, U.S. military, sustainability, demilitarization, decolonization, military presence, indigenous populations

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