Water is an essential element for human life across the Pacific and around the world. Hånom is one of the six elements that are invoked each day by thousands across the island when reciting the Inifresi. At present, our access to clean and safe water sources is complicated by the U.S. Navy’s ownership of Fena Lake in the south and the potential damage to the northern aquifer outlined in the Record of Decision should the U.S. continue to increase its military presence on Guåhan.
As an independent country, we would be able to control access and use of these resources to ensure that future generations have clean and reliable water. Next week’s General Assembly will focus on policies an independent Guåhan can enact to ensure that our water is protected.
In light of recent developments in Washington D.C. over the possible passage of war reparations for Chamorros in Guam, we will also honor as our Maga’taotao for the month the late Senator Cecilia “Chilang” Bamba, who introduced the legislation for the first commission on the topic. Senator Bamba was a war survivor, a tireless advocate for the Chamorro people, a businesswoman, a mother of ten, and a former director of the Commission on Self-Determination. Senator Bamba was receiving her First Communion when Japanese bombs first brought the war to Guam in 1941. Like all Chamorros she suffered greatly during the war and emerged not only with gratitude when the U.S. returned in 1944, but also questions. “At the end of the war I had lost both my parents,” she was quoted saying in Daughters of the Island. “It was ironic though that the United States who liberated me from the enemy forces took over our land after Liberation – my resources for my livelihood. This really changed my life.” As an elected official, Senator Bamba led justice movements for the Chamorro people in terms of war reparations and compensation for land taking by the U.S. military after World War II.