Julian Aguon, a Chamoru human rights scholar and recognized international activist on Micronesian and Chamoru issues, published his third book, What We Bury At Night: Disposable Humanity, in early 2008. Julian is a third year student at the William S. Richardson School of Law and the author of two other books, The Fire this Time and Just Left of the Setting Sun.

Julian received the Cohen International Human Rights Fellowship from the Sam L. Cohen Foundation to conduct research throughout Micronesia during the summer of 2007. His work culminated in this groundbreaking book.

What We Bury at Night is a series of essays describing the present day realities of the U.S.-Micronesia relationship through the eyes of the people on the ground who are disappearing. Both elders and youth tell of the continuing harm of the U.S. colonial project in Micronesia, revealing how that project continues to starve the imaginations of entire peoples.

Made up of more than 2,000 islands and atolls in three major archipelagos, the Carolines, the Marshalls, and the Marianas, Micronesia was known from the last World War until the 1970s as the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. It includes the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau (Belau), and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, less Guam, which was cut from the rest after the Spanish-American War and lumped with the other 1898 “Unfortunates:” the Philippines; Puerto Rico; and Cuba. In What We Bury at Night, Aguon argues that while the world looks away, this region of the planet is staring down death – and mostly losing. Current U.S. militarist and corporate plans for the region now threaten to destroy the life-affirming values that bind and sustain these ancient civilizations by deepening dispossession of the people.

For Aguon, the fate of Micronesia is the fate of sustainable humanity. Micronesia is at a crossroads, as is the human race. It is the region least “affected” by the increasingly global culture of conspicuous consumption and individualistic materialism. If the last region on earth – in which, among the majority of the population, communal living based on interconnectedness, extended families, shared resources, non-linear thinking, and a sustainable relationship with the natural environment is the norm – is allowed to be destroyed, the future of humanity is truly in jeopardy. When the imagination of Indigenous youth and the viability of sustainable living are allowed to die, so does hope for the entire human race. Micronesia is one of the last corners on earth where people, on the whole, still pattern life in humane and interdependent arrangements built on sustaining, life-supporting values. This resilience, perhaps, is an offering of beauty – Micronesia’s contribution to the world.