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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sleepless in Wonderland: The Real Big Fish

As a child growing up on Guam, I heard many legends.  Some I learned at school and some my parents told me.  One legend that has been on my mind this past month, is the legend of thebig fish that ate Guam.  You remember the legend, don't you?  It explains why Guam is so narrow in the middle.  As I was told, many many years ago a very large fish was eating away at our island.  Many strong men tried to stop the fish, but none succeeded.  At this time, the young women of Guam had beautiful long hair.  One day the women decided to weave their hair in to a net.  With the net made from their hair the women caught the big fish and saved the land and people from the monstrous fish.
The reason this legend has been on my mind, is because I've been looking at many maps of Guam recently.   Yes, our island is narrow in the middle, but I've also noticed that there are many parts of our island that is innaccessible to the people of Guam.  It's as if the big fish has returned.  This big fish is feasting on the graves of our ancestors and land that is lush and beautiful.  Sometimes this big fish spits out the the land, returning it to us, but by that time much of the land is contaminated. 
What will our island look like 4 years from now?  How much of it will be contaminated by the big fish?  Where will we be 20 years from now? Will we be telling our grandchildren the story of the fish that annhilated our island? 
We must gather together, like the women in the original legend, to defend our home, before there is nothing left to defend.

This is an image of Guam, with the areas our new big fish has eaten photo shopped out, by Nella.  Remember much of the "eaten land" is coastal.  This was created from a map of Guam that showed DOD land as of 1991.  I had a hard time finding a more current map.


  1. Thanks Drea, I always like hearing stories from far away. I wouldn't like to see the size of the teeth on that fish though!

  2. Creative contrast! That is one of my favorite local legends and to tie the similarity of the land loss is great. Women do have special role in speaking out and making things happen when it comes to the issue of Guahan's militarization which you make quite clear in your entries. Very inspirational, empowering and I can't wait to see what this will spin off to creatively for you and your activist friends.

  3. Another wonderful entry Drea! I will be sharing this one as usual. =o)

  4. I love this legend. Your story telling invokes the wonderful, mystical elements of this legend and does more to warn than anything else I have read.

  5. Drea - Thanks for your comment on my blog ( I haven't had an opportunity to update this blog as much as I'd like; I feel so disconnected here in Northern Michigan. Definitely a far cry from my time in the Pacific.

    I'm assuming the increase in military is because of some bases in Okinawa closing, correct? I know many friends and family members are leaving Pohnpei to get construction jobs on Guam, but the lack of regard for nature by the US Military is arrogant and alarming. What can I do?


  6. Hi! What a beautiful blog! I like your design :D I'm from Poland and I have a blog too: Please, visit me. Regards,
    I'll be so glad if you leave me a comment in my cbox.Bailon


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