December 8, 2022
We are thrilled that the Modern Languages Association is awarding its fourth MLA Prize for Studies in Native American Literatures, Cultures, and Languages to Craig Santos Perez, associate professor of English at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa, for his book Navigating CHamoru Poetry: Indigeneity, Aesthetics, and Decolonization! The prize is awarded for an outstanding scholarly study of Native American literature, culture, or languages written by a member of the association.
The MLA Prize for Studies in Native American Literatures, Cultures, or Languages is one of nineteen awards that will be presented on 6 January 2023, during the association’s annual convention, to be held in San Francisco. The members of the selection committee were Deanna Reder (Simon Fraser Univ.); Robbie Richardson (Princeton Univ.); and Cheryl L. Suzack (Univ. of Toronto), chair. The committee’s citation for the winning book reads:
Craig Santos Perez’s Navigating CHamoru Poetry: Indigeneity, Aesthetics, and Decolonization explores the intricate connections and layered histories represented by CHamoru poetry in its addressing the annexation, militarization, and political loss resulting from colonial expansion on Guam. Perez explores how several generations of CHamoru poets have illuminated CHamoru values of inafa’maolek (interdependence), chenchule’ (reciprocity), mamåhla (shame), and respetu (respect) as part of a continuum of resistance to colonization and global imperialism. A CHamoru poet himself, Perez sensitively explores Indigenous local and transnational aesthetics and provides a decolonial path that centers movement and Indigenous epistemologies in dialogue with other Pacific and Indigenous cultures. Perez’s work, urging us to turn our attention to the ongoing Indigenous struggles against American imperialism in Guam, emerges as a key text in Indigenous studies.
The MLA Prize for Studies in Native American Literatures, Cultures, and Languages was established in 2014 and is awarded under the auspices of the Committee on Honors and Awards.