Saturday, January 06, 2007

Famoksaiyan Sakkan Hugua

Ti bai kedagi hamyo, when I along with my cousin Alfred Peredo Flores Jr. and our friends Josette Lujan Quinata and Destiny Tedtaotao were planning the Famoksaiyan conference that took place last April, I never would have imagined what we would have ended up doing.

Since that conference we have had group meetings to team build, strategize and bring more people into Famoksaiyan in Guam, the Bay Area and Long Beach. Members of Famoksaiyan were also instrumental in organizing the recent trip by six Chamorros to testify before the United Nation's Committee on Decolonization.

Famoksaiyan also helped coordinate two huge events related to the decolonization of Guam and the revitalization of Chamorro culture and political activistm that have taken place over the past few months. First there was the United Nation's Report Back that took place at the La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley. This evening was attended by more than 100 people, half of which weren't Chamorro or even from Guam, but had heard about the event either through word of mouth or the half a dozen radio interviews we had done. The program wove together presentations about Guams' precontact history, its colonial history and then a mixture of updates on its current colonial status, as well as what people in the states can do.

The second event just took place a few days ago titled Decolonizing Our Lives, and was patterned after the Report Back with a few notable differences. The audience for the Berkeley event was largely non-Chamorros or Chamorros who have been raised in the states, and so the program took this into account by providing a more creative and aesthetic presentation in order to capture the imagination of those watching and listening. The audience for Decolonizing Our Lives was diverse for sure, with many young people whether high school or college age kids attending. But also mixed in were the older generation of activists who have been struggling for decades with the issues that I have just starting to work on. Given the limited time we had to organize this event, the fact that the military increases in question are far from abstract but very real and concrete in Guam, as well as the fact that many people in the audience would already be familiar with the topics we would discuss, we scaled things down quite a bit to focus less on the form, but more on the content, providing a typhon of information that addressed decolonization in Guam from numerous angles.

I am constantly surprised at how things turn out. Despite the fact that Famoksaiyan is not a formal organization, and has neither a clear mission or non-profit status, it has already gone on to do great things, and started to effect some changes both in the states and on Guam. I am constantly given credit for the existence of Famoksaiyan, but I really wish that people would stop this. For this most recent event, I take very little credit. The majority of the credit goes to Victoria Leon Guerrero, who literally worked her daggan off for the past two weeks, making this event possible and sensational. Of course many others helped, both in speaking, presenting, getting the word out, making the event run smoothly, lao gi este na biahi annok yan ti puniyon na Si Victoria mas muna'possible este.

If you are interested in learning more about Famoksaiyan, I have some links and options for you.

If you would like to join Famoksaiyan, please email me at or sign up for the group listserv.

If you would just like to receive information about what Famoksaiyan is up to and from Famoksaiyan, whether it be new pieces concerning happenings in Guam, the Pacific and Chamorro communities throughout the world, then sign up for Famoksaiyan's Friends listserv.

Or, as a bonus treat for the new year, I'm pasting below all the links to the interviews that members of Famoksaiyan did over the past few months with regards to the current state of affairs on Guam and the most recent trip to the United Nations. Na'magof hao, ya na'banidosu hao lokkue put i bida-niniha i manhoben.


November 9th, 2006 - Apex Express

And at the UN, the indigenous people of Guam called for the world to recognize their plight. Hear Victoria Leon Guerrero, Mike Tuncap and Erica Benton talk about how the US military base build-up on Guam will further erode their rights. We will also have music from Guam from Chris Barnett.


November 17th, 2006 - Full Circle

Military Land Expansion in Guam


November 20th, 2006 - Women's Magazine

Catalina Vazquez talks to two women from Guam, one of the last colonies in the world, about the U.S. military occupation and militarization of Guam and their recent visit to the United Nations to get support for the independence of Guam and to stop the military's plans to increase that occupation.


November 21st, 2006 - Flashpoints

An Indigenous Chamorro group from Guam reports back from a delegation to the UN to protest expanding US militarization on their island.


December 11th, 2006 - The Morning Show

Impact of U.S. Military bases on Guam (indigenously called ‘Guahan')

Victoria Leon Guerrero is an author of semi-autobiographical children's book about growing up on Guahan called "Lola's Journey Home” and is working on her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Mills College. Julian Aguon, writer-activist from the island of Guahan (Guam), is the author of the new book “The Fire This Time: Essays on Life Under US Occupation." Michael Lujan Bevacqua is a Ph.D candidate in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, San Diego and the editor of the Minagahet (Truth) Zine,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow I'm glad this issue is getting covered.


Related Posts with Thumbnails