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Cultures of CommemorationThe Politics of War, Memory, and History in the Mariana Islands$
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Keith L. Camacho

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835460

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835460.001.0001

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World War II in the Mariana Islands

World War II in the Mariana Islands

(p.39) Chapter 2 World War II in the Mariana Islands
Cultures of Commemoration

Keith L. Camacho

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the impact of World War II in the Mariana Islands, with particular emphasis on the motives and consequences of American and Japanese wartime colonial policies and indigenous cultural politics on notions of loyalty and liberation among the Chamorros in both Guam and the Northern Marianas. After discussing American and Japanese wartime invasion and occupational policies in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, the chapter shows that the agent/victim dichotomy is “not mutually exclusive categories but contextually signified roles.” It considers indigenous cultural agency in terms of everyday survival in the Mariana Islands, set against the grain of American and Japanese colonialisms. Even though World War II was declared over in 1945, the chapter suggests that “the meaning and the memory of the war would never end” for Pacific Islanders or for other survivors and veterans. It argues that the war deepened the intracultural divisions among Chamorros, especially in the contexts of colonial loyalties in the Mariana archipelago.

Keywords:   loyalty, World War II, Mariana Islands, liberation, Chamorros, Guam, indigenous cultural agency, American colonialism, Japanese colonialism

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