Showing posts from April, 2023

Angelo Villagomez: Famous at CAP

My employer puts out a monthly newsletter for staff and in this month's edition I was interviewed about some of my recent work.  I'm pasting it here for posterity. Angelo, could you give us an overview of the Under the Pala Pala project? What is the meaning of the name behind this project?   The name is “ Under the Pala Pala .” I'm from the island of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, which is in a region of the Pacific called Micronesia. When I was a kid I would go to my family’s farm, which had a pala pala. A pala pala is an outdoor structure where you would keep your lawn mower or bush cutter. When you are working on the ranch and you wanted to take a break, you might go sit under the pala pala, drink a soda or some water, have something to eat, and talk about the day's events. It’s similar to the “water cooler” for offices in DC.  This project came together because the Center for American Progress supports a learning network of Indigenous advocates for national

Q&A with Chamorro author Shay Galloway

The Valley of Sage and Juniper is a new novel by Chamorro first-time author Shay Galloway.  She recently sat down with Angelo Villagomez to discuss her book. Angelo: Can you tell me about your personal connection to the Marianas? Shay: My grandfather was the late Justice Ramon Garrido Villagomez from Saipan and my grandmother was Phyllis Eileen Selk from Guam.  They met while they were at University of Guam, married, and had a daughter, Tiana, who is my mother.  I was born in California, but lived in Saipan for a short time when I was very young.  I haven’t made it back since. Angelo: And what have you been doing since ever since? Shay: After living in California, we moved to Colorado and then Wyoming just outside of Jackson Hole when I was in highschool. I attended Utah State University and got a Bachelor’s in English, then a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Now I teach English composition at a community college in Washington State, where I

A Micronesian Perspective on Renaming the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument

That's me in Kiribati with Senator Kaure Babo of Kiribati and Senator Sherwood Tibon of the Marshall Islands. President Biden recently announced a process to rename the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument “in recognition of the deep and enduring cultural significance of this region to the ocean cultures of the Pacific.”  The government has already begun to undertake this renaming, and I was recently interviewed by government staff and was asked to share my thoughts.   I am the Conservation Representative for the government-organized Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Community Group .  I participate in workshops and meetings, and review draft documents to make recommendations to the government on the development of a management plan for the monument.  I am specifically tasked with bringing the perspectives of conservation organizations.  But I am also the lone Micronesian voice in the process. I found it odd that the presidential memo announcing the renam