The introductory chapter first sets out the book's purpose, which is to examine the multiple and competing cultural and political stakes in the historic and contemporary effort to canonize Diego Luis de San Vitores, the seventeenth-century founder of the glorious (or notorious) Spanish Catholic Church on Guam. Why have modern-day Chamorros revived the effort to canonize San Vitores? More pointedly, what does the effort tell us about highly political processes of indigenous cultural and identity construction and historical consciousness, particularly in highly colonized places like Guam? The chapter then highlights the story of indigenous Catholicism on a heavily colonized island. First it gives an overview of the island's political history, framed generally by the predicament of indigenous cultural survival through competing colonialisms. Next, it provides a shorter overview of the centrality of San Vitores' mission in this colonial legacy. Finally, it concludes with the other intellectual and political stakes in the Chamorro Catholic story, including the implications for critical scholarship forged in relation to Native Pacific studies, Pacific Area studies, and cultural studies.
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