The Classroom

The ClassroomThe newest wave of Pacific Islander migration to the United States and its territories comes from the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). So far numbering about 80,000, Micronesians can now be found in urbanized places in the Pacific region. They are the fastest growing migrant group, especially in locales such as the Territory of Guam and Hawai‘i. Yet little is known about them.

Breadfruit & Open Spaces tells the story of the Gill-Baza, a recently formed subdivision on Guam where many FSM residents bought undeveloped land and constructed dwellings. Such migrant “homes” and communities are often viewed as squatter slums lacking any cultural organization or rationale. However, interviews, photographs, and moving images convey much more nuanced understandings of diaspora and settlement, and can help develop and communicate significant ideas about community and belonging.

In her book, Steadfast Movement around Micronesia, Lola examines how people from Chuuk State in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) move about and their cultural interpretations of movement itself. Special consideration is made of movement on the atoll of Satowan in Chuuk State as associated with clan, lineage, and locality, as well as the influence of a system of local beliefs and attitudes based on combinations of age, marital status, and childbirth.

The ClassroomIn her journal article, Building Sense Out of Households: Migrants from Chuuk Re(create) Local Settlements on Guam, Lola focuses on the residents of the subdivision featured in the film. It aims to discover how migrants, particularly those from Chuuk, interpret cultural and social change within a process commonly known as urbanization and modernization.

A Lesson Plan for use alongside the documentary in high school and college classrooms is coming soon! The instructional material will seek to spur discussion about growing ethnic tensions between migrant communities and the larger host population in Guam and Hawai‘i, which often stereotypes them. It will encourage students and educators to frame the current mobility of FSM residents within larger political relationships, consider the economics of housing and land development, and address regional topics involving urbanization and the diaspora. 

The Book
Journal Article
Lesson Plan

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