Peace and Justice for Guam and the Pacific.
It is still online and features more than a thousand articles from a variety of sources dealing with issues of peace, militarization and culture primarily in Guam, but also in the wider Pacific. I was working on the draft of an article recently talking about Nasion Chamoru and their effect on Chamorro activism and Guam society. I found on that blog several articles and I wanted to share some of them below.
Mayors shuns Chamorro Nation
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Variety News Staff
July 16, 2007
senators yesterday gave the Japanese delegation a rundown of demands
that they want from the U.S. government in exchange for hosting the
8,000 troops that will be relocated from Okinawa, while Chamorro
activists told the delegation that they don't want the Marines to come
to Guam at all.
The delegation, however, declined to give audience to Chamorro Nation.
for infrastructure developments, healthcare, new schools, new
hospitals, environmental protection, social stability and peace: these
are among the things that senators said they expect the U.S. government
to provide to Guam.
All these, plus transparency. There are so
many questions left unanswered, Sen. Tony Unpingco, R-Santa Rita, said,
adding that Guam has not received enough information about the troops
"You've experienced what it's like to live in a
military base. We want to learn from you, so that when they come here,
they don't create the same problems," Unpingco told members of the Local
Government Mayors Association of Central Okinawa who are on Guam on a
"It's important for us to know what it's
like to have a big military base on a small island. We're hoping that
you can tell us its negative impact," minority leader Judi Won Pat,
Vice Speaker Eddie Calvo, R-Maite, said the business community sees the economic opportunities offered by the military buildup.
has different views about the relocation. Some people see this movement
as a positive development. I'd like to hear the perspectives on your
side," Calvo told the delegation.
But Okinawa City Mayor Mitsuko
Tohmon, head of the 18-member delegation, said her group is on Guam to
gather information pertinent to the military relocation.
purpose of our visit is to listen to your opinion," Tohmon said through
an interpreter. Japan and the US agreed to relocate 8,000 Marines and
their 9,000 dependents to Guam so we want to hear what's going on in
Guam. "We are representatives of our citizens. We are here to listen to
Among the senators, only Won Pat came on time to meet the
delegation members who arrived at the Legislature ahead of the 1:30 p.m.
schedule. The rest of the senators walked in 15 to 20 minutes late into
While waiting for the rest of the senators, Won
Pat allowed members of the Chamorro Nation to join the roundtable and
speak to the Okinawa officials.
"We're not invited to this
meeting, but we have to say how we feel because two big powers are
negotiating our future. Please step in and support us," activist Trini
Cathy McCollum said she laments that some people
only see the dollar sign without thinking that we want to go home to our
own lands that the federal government took away.
"Tell me, if
you know, the reason behind this military relocation. Guam is not ready
for this massive military buildup," said Ben Garrido, Maga'lahi of
Tohmon said she was confused by the presence of Chamorro Nation at the meeting.
thought we were to meet only with the Speaker and the senators. We want
to speak to the speaker and senators only, she said. We have heard
about what the Chamorro Nation has to say. We want to know your own
opinion as senators."
Won Pat gently asked the activists to
leave the roundtable. Shortly after, activist Howard Hemsing walked into
the session hall bringing a bunch of anti-military placards.
Won Pat said testimonies from Chamorro Nation indicate that Guam does not have a unanimous stance on the military expansion.
are those who want the Marines to come here because of the economic
benefits that the buildup offers. But not everyone on island wants them
here. There's a lot of people with a lot concerns about the impact of
increased military population on island," Won Pat said.
The delegation, which arrived Wednesday, leaves Guam today.
Activists demand back story on Marine migration
by Michele Catahay, KUAM News
Thursday, July 12, 2007
of I Nasion Chamoru ("The Chamorro Nation") were at the Chief Quipua
Park in Hagatna late yesterday afternoon to protest various concerns in
the community, most notably the upcoming massive military buildup on
Guam. The organization's, maga lahi (the highest ranking male), Vicente
Garrido, believes the buildup is not a good thing for the island.
a Japanese delegation visiting from Okinawa is on Guam, Garrido says he
wants them to tell the local community the real reason the Okinawans
want United States Marines to move out of their island. "There must be a
good reason why," he suggested. "Otherwise, if it's really good for
them, they're not going to send those Marines to Guam because it's going
to help the economy...that's what they say. There must be some reason
why. I want those people in charge of Okinawa to tell us why they want
those Marines out of Okinawa."
While some continue to fight
against the move, others are more concerned about the taking of land at
Ritidian and Tiyan. One such activist, Katherine McCollum, continues to
fight against the taking of indigenous land. "We are threatened
everyday; Tiyan, especially with the enclosure that the Guam
International Airport Authority has put on the families up there in
closing their properties with the fences and there are issues about
sewage problems. My family is being charged for sewage, which are
services they're not getting," she told KUAM News.
when people suffer it hurts families, adding that she wants to see these
families build homes and live in their homes as equal private property
owners. Meanwhile, the group continues to fight for self-determination,
return of lands and vows to continue to fight against what they feel is
the military contamination of the land.
'It's better being poor than dead'
THE Congressional hearing on
August 13 on the military buildup on Guam was intentionally planned as
to who should be allowed (now "invited") to testify. That's why there
was no mention in our local media about the deadline to submit your name
and testimony if you wanted to participate.
I "thank" our
delegate, Madeleine Bordallo and this administration for barring certain
activists such as Nasion Chamoru, who have been the most vocal and
outspoken against this impending catastrophe.
leaders know very well that they don't want the Virgin Islands delegate,
Donna Christensen, and the rest of the "Team U.S.A." Resources
Subcommitte members, to see and hear Nasion Chamoru testify that this
massive military buildup will ruin Guam. They only want to hear from
people who will give their "amen" and "sweet" testimony about how good
this military buildup will mean to our island, for the so-called
economic boom and opportunities.
Our senators who were "invited"
to participate in this field hearing should refuse the invitation since
it is not totally open to the community for public participation.
see this hearing, except for a few individuals, as nothing more than a
gathering of the puppets and carpetbaggers to show their commitment to
the military and in the interest of their deep pockets.
people, we are in a very critical crisis. Whereas, I say that this
massive military buildup will ruin Guam, I also say it would be better
being poor than dead!
Fan Ma'naitai (pray) yan si Yu'os enfanbinindisi. Biba Chamoru! Biba Taotao Ta'no!
VINCENTE "FA'ET" GARRIDO
Maga'lahi, Nasion Chamoru
The Marianas Variety
August 10, 2007
DEIS gives rise to a new breed of local advocates
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 04:03
by Zita Y. Taitano | Variety News Staff
A new voice to reckon with
draft environmental impact statement, released to the public in
November, sparked a wide array of concerns and serious inquiries from
residents and activists. It also gave rise to a new group of advocates
for local issues who have immediately made their mark in the community.
as We Are Guahan, the coalition is comprised of individuals from
various ethnic backgrounds. They are people who were either born and
raised on Guam or those who now call the island their home.
But group members Melvin Won Pat Borja and Victoria Leon Guerrero said they don’t want the group to be portrayed as “activists.”
admirable but to say We Are Guahan is an activist group is inaccurate;
we stray away from activism. Our goal is to inform; our goal is to
unite,” said Leon Guerrero.
Borja said their intention is simply
to be educated on the document, read it and then comment on it. “I think
that if we see what the plan is really about, the more informed we
are,” he said.
Borja said the
group actually started out with a bunch of friends who wanted to dissect
the draft environmental impact statement in order to understand what is
really being said in the 11,000-page document.
From there, the
group set up at various venues to promote residents to learn more about
the draft study. That was the goal of the Guam Music Festival held last
December at the Paseo Stadium.
Guerrero and other members including Monaeka De Oro informed
individuals they met about the document and passed out flyers on the
effects the buildup would have on Guam.
When the hearings began,
the group took a few steps further and spoke out against the buildup.
They set up tables and posters pinpointing sections of the draft study.
Among the posters that were on displayed was the name of the coalition.
“We felt the community really needed to be informed. We couldn’t be voiceless,” Leon Guerrero said.
They organized a hike to Pagat, where the military plans to build a firing range.
“We kind of switched gears and became more active in speaking out on these issues,” Leon Guerrero said.
From there, We Are Guahan was born.
Flores Mays speaks before a crowd on board the Atlantis Submarine prior
to Sunday’s snorkeling trip to Apra Harbor’s Western Shoals, where the
military plans dredging activities to accommodate more military vessels.
Leon Guerrero said the group, which has about 5,000 members,
started with members aged between 20s and 30s. The group membership has
since expanded to a wider spectrum.
“It’s really a diverse group,” Leon Guerrero said.
The group also includes biologists, educators and social workers, who are helping in the dissection of the huge draft report.
what’s cool about We are Guahan. We are all inclusive,” Leon Guerrero
said. “We welcome all perspectives and for people who are part of this
island, who have been part on this island and want to be part of this
island in the future.”
Are Guahan has received high praises from veteran activists including
Josephine Jackson, Danny “Pagat” Jackson, Hope Cristobal and Trini
“I give them kudos. I’m very proud of what they’re
doing,” said Josephine Jackson, a member of the Taotaomona Rights Group
and Nasion Chamoru. “We want our youth to go out. I’m so glad that they
did this that they came out to speak out on the draft impact report.”
She explained that the younger activists made it easier for manamkos such as herself to understand the draft study.
For more information about We Are Guahan, residents can log onto their website at www.weareguahan.com.