Chants of Re-enchantment

Chamorro Spiritual Resistance to Colonial Domination

in Social Analysis
D. S. Farrer University of Guam

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James D. Sellmann University of Guam

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The Chamorro people inhabit an archipelago known as the Mariana Islands located in the western Pacific Ocean. Seventeenth-century Chamorros took ancestral skulls into warfare against the Spanish in the period of the Spanish conquest. The possession of such skulls manifested profound symbolic power. In the aftermath of the war, the survivors converted to Catholicism, amalgamating their ancient religious practices with that faith. Resistance through the centuries against Spanish, Japanese, and American colonial power has been anchored in Chamorro cultural continuity, albeit in an ostensibly fragmented and augmented form. A site of strategic US military bases, Guam now anticipates further military build-up. War magic and warrior religion are lenses that enable the study of colonial domination where the battle lines fault across military, economic, and political frames toward cultural fronts.

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Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology


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