Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We are Guahan Hike to Pagat

The We Are Guahan Coalition is organizing a hike to Pagat Caves this Saturday, January 2nd.

Pagat Caves is a beautiful location which was once an Ancient Chamorro village. Numerous artifacts and latte can still be found there in the pristine limestone jungle.

The proposed military buildup of Guam would block off public access to this location amongst others on the Eastern coast of Guam, in order to build a live-fire training range for Marines being transferred from Okinawa.

For those interested in joining the hike, we'll be meeting first at Winchell's in Mangilao at 9 am. If you come bring lots of water, hiking shoes, mosquito repellent, sun screen and wear hiking or tennis shoes.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Women Against Militarism Statement

Below is the conference statement from the the conference "CHinemma', Nina'maolek, yan Inarespetu para Direchon Taotao" which translates to “Resistance, Resilience and Respect for Human Rights” and was the 7th International Meeting of the Network of Women Against Militarism, that took place on Guam on September 14-19, 2009.

The conference was a truly historic event for Guam and for the region, and hopefully, given the militarized future that lies ahead for Guam, it will not be the last of its kind here.

************************

With the theme “Resistance, Resilience and Respect for Human Rights” [CHinemma', Nina'maolek, yan Inarespetu para Direchon Taotao], the International Women’s Network Against Militarism concluded its 7th International Women’s Conference held in Guam on September 14-19, 2009. Participants from Australia, Belau, Chuuk, Guahan, Hawai’i, Japan, Okinawa, Northern Marianas Islands, Palau, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, South Korea and mainland United States, took notice of the increasing militarization in their countries and its impact on the socio-cultural, political, economic and environmental aspects particularly on women and their communities. Country reports as well as panel presentations showed the pattern of militarization in said countries, as well as in other parts of the world. Some reports also emphasized the relationship between militarism and colonialism and called attention to the negative effects of such relationship.

The US military’s ‘global defense posture” means more military intervention by seeking more access to more territories through “visiting” agreements, basing agreements, expansion of bases and waging both conventional and unconventional wars, thus undermining the sovereignty of peoples, denying them of their right to self-determination and of their patrimony.

Amidst global financial and economic crises that has shaken the whole world and the global superpowers led by the US and aided by its allies in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia and Japan, military build ups in the region continue. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have claimed thousands of lives especially from the civilian populations, are continuing. Apart from creating a culture of violence that especially affect women, youth and the elderly, environmental impacts have been noted by the participants, contributing significantly to the destruction of indigenous societies and global climate change. War exercises and trainings continue, in the name of the “anti-terrorism” campaigns in many parts of the world, particularly with former colonies in the Asia-Pacific region. We are aware that the legitimate actions against terrorist acts against the civilian populations are necessary, but must not be used as a pretext to justify military interventions that in the end terrorize civilian populations and create a culture of violence.

The US government in its realignment plan is expanding military power in Asia-Pacific, including the relocation plan of 8,000 Marines and their 9,000 dependents from Okinawa to Guahan that would go with building a new military facility in Okinawa. The meeting denounced this military expansion package plan in either place, and is firm in standing in solidarity with the Guahan people. The meeting forwards the following demands:

We ask women of “host” countries to push their governments to send foreign troops back to the US.

We urge the American people especially women to urge the US government for policies that respect the sovereignty of other countries and denounce the continuing wars of aggression and for demilitarization; instead the US government and its superpower allies to rechanneling a big portion of their military budgets towards health programs for its peoples especially women and children, for livelihood programs and secured jobs, and for the general welfare of their citizens.

Stop the expansion of bases in Guahan and other parts of the world!

End all military agreements that support US military hegemony!

Demand US responsibility to clean up the toxic wastes they left behind in the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

Pull out US troops from the Philippines and other countries!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More Responses to the DEIS



DEIS States Marines Won't Increase Crime but Micronesian Migrants Will

Guam - Along with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement the military also conducted a stand alone study on the socio-economic impact of the military buildup. A section of the report covers how the buildup will impact crime and how the military believes young local men will test themselves against marines in fights.

The Department of Defense has identified several likely social impacts of the military buildup. According to the Draft EIS socio economic study marines will not have an impact on Guam's overall crime and social order. Instead the report states that other factors related to the buildup may cause this. In fact the report blames in-migrants from the Freely Associated States of Micronesia as the likely cause. Their numbers are expected to increase due to more job opportunities. According to the DEIS these migrants from within Micronesia "have high crime rates associated with adapting to less traditional social structures"

University of Guam instructor Victoria Leon Guerrero says this is a surprising take on the marines impact to crime considering the fact that many Okinawan protests against the marines were fueled by instances of rape and violence. She says that by not taking any responsibility for the possible increase in crime instead blaming Micronesian immigrants the DEIS is “...insulting to our region”.

University of Guam instructor Michael Lujan Bevacqua says that the assumption that Micronesians will raise the crime rate rather than the marines even borders on racism. In fact he says “In some places it would be considered racist”. Bevacua adds that this is obviously scapegoating certain populations and that finding a scapegoat is one of the roots of racism.

While the report lays most of the blame of crime on Micronesian migrants in the very next paragraph it admits that there is “...a potential for more prostitution, alcohol or substance abuse and family violence associated with young military populations (including sailors taking shore leave after weeks at sea)”.

As for the potential of violence and fights the Department of Defense attributes most of the blame to the local population. The DEIS states "The particular reputation of marines as fighters could well trigger a transitional period of adjustment in which local young men test themselves against marines in fights" Bevacqua says this too is borderline racism adding that he's surprised that they can make these statements with a “..straight face”.

While the DEIS doesn't appear to own up to increased crime and violence it does admit that the expansion of non-chamorro voting populations could affect the proportion of chamorro office-holders and government workers. This could also affect the outcomes of any future votes about Guam's political status. Leon Guerrero says it's simply unjust to allow a transient population that is only here for a couple of years to affect the political status of and island like Guam. She adds that it takes away a human right that is reserved for the native Chamorro people.

Leon Guerrero encourages everyone to read as much of the Draft EIS as possible and then provide comments during the EIS comment period.

Written by :
Clynt Ridgell
Pacific News Center

Monday, November 16, 2009

Demonstration on 11/20 at ITC Intersection

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20TH
4:00PM to
7:00 PM
at the ITC Intersection

For Immediate Release
from the Guåhan Coalition for Peace and Justice
November 18, 2009

EIS Process Worthy of ProtestCommunity to Respond this Friday
The Guåhan Coalition for Peace and Justice will lead the community in a response to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scheduled for release this Friday, November 20.

The EIS is expected to report the impacts the proposed military build-up and population boom will have on Guam’s environment. However, it was not conducted in a manner that demonstrated a true assessment of the social, cultural and political implications an increased military presence will have on the island’s people. Local residents and their elected officials were largely excluded from the process of gathering information and making recommendations for this study.

The EIS is an 11,000-page document, and the community will have 90 days to respond. This does not provide a sufficient opportunity for local residents to thoroughly investigate its findings and voice their concerns. The Department of Defense is already finalizing their plans for the build-up, without first taking into consideration the comments and concerns from local residents and leaders. An 11,000-page visual will be presented at Friday’s event to represent the enormity of the EIS.

The Coalition, which is made up of grassroots organizations and individuals advocating for the political, cultural, social, environmental and human rights for the people of Guam, will gather at 4 p.m. Friday at the ITC intersection in Tamuning to express these and other concerns about the EIS.

When: Friday, November 20, 2009, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Where: ITC Intersection
What: A Community Action Response to the Release of the EIS
Who: Guåhan Coaltion for Peace and Justice
For More Information: Call Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero at 735-2747 or email reclaimguahan@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Famoksaiyan Wins Rising Peacemaker Prize

On September 24th, 2009, the Chamorro organization Famoksaiyan received the Rising Peacemaker Prize from The Agape Foundation during the foundation's 40th Anniversary/5th Annual Peace Prize event at the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center in San Francisco, CA. Each year, Agape commemorates the International Day of Peace by honoring peacemakers dedicated to nonviolent social change. The Rising Peacemaker Prize awards groups or individuals that have made a significant contribution, for five years or less, to create peace in their national or international communities. Famoksaiyan, which started in 2006 and translates into "the time or place of nurturing or growing" or "the time to paddle forward," has worked to effect positive change for Chamorro communities in the Mariana Islands and the United States. Nominated for the prize by Margo Okazawa-Rey, the group received a cash award as well as a contract with the media consultant group Spark Action. Angela Tennison, Jon Blas, and Craig Santos Perez represented Famoksaiyan at the event.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ti Kabales

This blog will be undergoing some changes for a little bit.

Famoksaiyan itself has been undergoing a bunch of changes and taking some breaks over the past year, and so now hopefully it'll be reconstituting itself.
The blog is being redone in order to prepare for that eventual return.

Bira magi ta'lo.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Information on War Reparations

War Reparations is once again an issue in the US Congress. The National Defense Authorization Act is being debated in the conference committee, and is currently part of the House version of the bill, but not the Senate version. In the next day or so, a decision will be made about whether or not Chamorros get war reparations this time around, or have to wait once again.

***************

H.R. 2647 EH
TITLE XVI -- THE GUAM WORLD WAR II LOYALTY RECOGNITION ACT
111TH CONGRESS
- TITLE SUMMARY -

 On December 8, 1941, just after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Imperial Japanese forces attacked, invaded, and seized control of the island of Guam, a United States Territory. The island of Guam, inhabited by 22,000 U.S. nationals, was occupied for nearly three years. During this difficult and painful period, the people of Guam remained steadfastly loyal to the United States. For their loyalty and patriotism to the United States, they were subjected to public beheadings, beatings, rape, forced labor, and forced marches. In the closing days of the occupation, all residents were forced into concentration camps.

 Congress passed the Guam Meritorious Claims Act of 1945 within weeks after the termination of hostilities to provide “immediate relief to the people of Guam.”

 The 107th Congress passed the Guam War Claims Review Commission Act (P.L. 107-333) to establish a Commission to determine whether there was parity of war claims paid to the residents of Guam as compared with awards made to other similarly affected U.S. citizens or nationals during World War II.

 The Commission reported to Congress with findings and recommendations in 2004. The Commission found that:

o Congress was misinformed when it excluded Guam from coverage under Title II of the War Claims Act of 1948, further amended in 1962.

o The people in Guam did not receive the same compensation as other similarly affected U.S. citizens and nationals.

o The United States Government has a “moral obligation” to provide redress to the people of Guam.

 Title XVI is based upon the recommendations of the Guam War Claims Review Commission.

 In the 110th Congress, the House of Representatives passed the corresponding bill to Title XVI (then H.R. 1595) with over a two-thirds majority, with a recorded vote of 288 yeas to 133 nays. The Senate was unable to pass it before adjourning for the year.

 Congresswoman Bordallo reintroduced the bill in the 111th Congress as H.R. 44. The bill has the support of 88 bipartisan cosponsors. Prominent co-sponsors include the Chairman and past Ranking Members of the Committees on Natural Resources and the Judiciary, members of the leadership on both sides of the aisle, and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

 H.R. 44 passed the House of Representatives with strong bi-partisan support on February 23, 2009. The final vote was 299 yeas to 99 nays.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Schedule of Events for Women's Conference

7th MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF WOMEN AGAINST MILITARISM

CHinemma’, Nina’maolek, yan Inarespetu para Direchon Taotao
RESISTANCE, RESILIENCE, AND RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Location: University of Guam (Mangilao) & Carmel on the Hill Retreat Center (Malojloj), Guåhan
Dates: September 14-19, 2009
Sponsoring Organizations:Conscious Living; Famoksaiyan; Fuetsan Famalao’an; Guåhan Coalition for Peace and Justice; Guåhan Indigenous Collective; GUAHAN Project; Global Fund for Women; GFT Local Union; Office of Minority Health Resource Center; Sage Project, Incorporated; Women and Gender Studies Program, University of Guam

CONFERENCE AGENDA

September 14 (Monday) Pre-Conference Session
*Registration Required*
Location : Conference Room, Catholic Social Services

8:30am – 4:30pm
“Human Trafficking 101: Identifying Victims, Examining Policy Frameworks, and Building a Transnational Movement”
This workshop will present a general discussion of human trafficking, explore diasporic trends from Asia to other parts of the world, examine policy frameworks to effectively combat human trafficking, and identify steps towards building a transnational movement in the Asia-Pacific region.
Facilitated by: SAGE, Inc. [San Francisco, California]
Facilitators: Annie Fukushima [California], Aida Santos-Maranan [Philippines], and a Representative from South Korea

September 15 (Tuesday) Public Forum - Free Event
*No registration required*
Location : University of Guam

6:30pm – 8:30pm
“International Strategies of Resistance Promoting Human Rights”
Moderator: Jamela Santos
Presenters:
Suzuyo Takazato [Okinawa]
Representative [South Korea]
Carmen Valencia [Vieques, Puerto Rico]
Terry Keko’olani : DMZ Hawai'i / Aloha 'Aina [Hawai'i]
Ana Maria Nemenzo [Philippines]

SEPTEMBER 17, 2009 (Thursday) COMMUNITY CONFERENCE
*Registration Required Unless Stated Otherwise*
Location: Leon Guerrero Building Lecture Hall, University of Guam

8:30am – 8:40am
Welcoming Remarks: Dr. LisaLinda Natividad : Guahan Coalition for Peace and Justice

8:40am – 9:15am
“Rethinking Peace and Security: Genuine Security
as Rooted in the United Nation’s Concept of Human Security”
Speaker: Dr. Gwyn Kirk : Women for Genuine Security [San Francisco, California]

9:15am – 11:45pm
Panel Presentation:
“Beyond the Military Economy: Exploring Alternatives for Sustainability”
Moderator: Sabina Perez
Presenters:
Alma Bulawan [Buklod, Philippines]
Dr. Hannah Middleton : Australian Anti-Bases Campaign [Sydney, Australia]
Dr. Miyumi Tanji : Curtin University of Technology [Perth, Australia]
Isabella Sumang [Republic of Belau]

11:45am – 12:45pm
LUNCH

12:45pm – 2:45pm
Panel Presentation:
“Environmental Contamination and Toxicity:
Reclaiming Our Physical Environments Through Clean-Up, Health and Healing Practices”
Moderator: Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero
Presenters:
You Kyoung Ko [South Korea]
Abacca Anjain-Maddison [Republic of the Marshall Islands]
Maria Reinat [Puerto Rico]
Dolly Yanan : Metro Subic Network [Philippines]

2:45pm – 3:00pm
BREAK

3:00pm – 4:30pm
Panel Presentation:
“Comparative Strategies to Promote Security for Women and Children”
Moderator: Nicole Santos
Presenters:
Suzuyo Takazato [Okinawa]
Representative : Fuetsan Famalao'an [Guåhan]
Corazon Lotlot Requirzo : Kaisa Ka [Philippines]

5:00pm Peace Walk (Free Event)
Location: Chief Kepuha Park, Hagåtña
Facilitator: Lisa Baza : Conscious Living [Guåhan]

SEPTEMBER 18, 2009 (Friday) COMMUNITY CONFERENCE
*Registration Required Unless Stated Otherwise *
Location: Carmel on the Hill Retreat Center, Malojloj
Focus: “Where do we go from here?”

8:00am – 8:30am
Registration and Continental Breakfast
Country Representatives’ breakfast meeting

8:30am – 9:00am
Welcoming Remarks and Review of day’s tasks

9:00am – 11:00am Panel Presentation (Free Event)
Location: Carmel on the Hill Retreat Center
“Human Trafficking and Prostitution: Towards a Woman-Centered Policy Framework”
Moderator: Dr. Vivian Dames
Presenters:
Annie Fukushima : University of California at Berkeley [United States]
Bok Nim Yu : Director, Dasi Hamkke Center [South Korea]
Aida Santos : WeDpro, Inc. [Philippines]
Lauri Ogumoro, Karidat Esperanza House [Commonwealth of the North Mariana Islands]
Sue Gilbey [Adelaide, Australia]

11:00am – 12:00pm
Regional/Country working group meetings to develop specific short-term and long-term goals

12:00pm – 1:30pm
LUNCH

1:30pm – 4:30pm
Connecting Regional/Country working group short-term and long-term goals; Setting national and international initiatives. Discussion of future actions.

4:30pm – 5:00pm
Conference Wrap Up & announcement of Art Celebration

6:30pm – 10:00pm Art Celebration (Free Event)
“Fuetsan I Lina’la’ : Famalao’an I Tano’ // Strength of Life : Women of the Land”
Women’s Exhibit, Music and Poetry, Sale of international women-made goods, film screening of Along the Fenceline: Women’s Voices on Peace and Security, Demilitarizing Fashion Show

Thursday, August 6, 2009

7th Meeting of the International Network of Women Against Militarization

7TH MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL NETWORK OF WOMEN AGAINST MILITARISM

Resistance, Resilience, and Respect for Human Rights
CHinemma’, Nina’maolek, yan Inarespetu para Direchon Taotao

Location: University of Guam, Mangilao, Guåhan
Dates: September 14-19, 2009

Women across the globe have endured tremendous struggles to protect their families and survive during times of war and unrest. It is from these struggles that women have gained the strength to fight for peace. This September, they will gather on the island of Guam for the 7th Meeting of the International Network of Women Against Militarism themed, “Resistance, Resilience and Respect for Human Rights”.

The five-day conference will bring together women from Japan, Okinawa, South Korea, Hawaii, Philippines, Australia, Republic of Belau, Marshall Islands, Guam, United States, Puerto Rico and Saipan – all of whom have felt the tremendous impacts of US military bases in their homelands.

The International Network of Women Against Militarism has been meeting since 1997 to share information and strategize about the negative effects of US military operations. These effects include military violence against women and girls, the plight of mixed-race Amerasian children abandoned by US military fathers, environmental contamination, cultural degradation and the distortion of local economies. They focus on how military institutions, values, policies and operations impact communities, especially women.

The United States has had a strong military presence on Guam for more than a century, and occupies nearly one-third of the island. Guam, which has been dubbed “the tip of the spear” by the US Department of Defense, is in the midst of an unprecedented military build-up as the US plans to move 17,000 Marines and their dependents from Okinawa to the island. The conference comes at a critical time in Guam’s history, and aims to bring international attention to the concerns being raised about the proposed build-up.

The conference will feature workshops and public forums on human trafficking and prostitution; political arrangements with the United States; rethinking peace and security; exploring alternatives for economic sustainability; environmental contamination and toxicity; and much more.

There will also be a historical tour of the island; a community vigil to honor the past and heal for the future; a public art event featuring local and international artists; and many opportunities to network and establish goals for the future.

For more information please contact: Dr. LisaLinda Natividad at lisanati@yahoo.com or (671) 735-2962.

Sponsoring Organizations: Conscious Living; Famoksaiyan; Fuetsan Famalao’an; Guåhan Coalition for Peace and Justice; Guåhan Indigenous Collective; GUAHAN Project; Global Fund for Women; Office of Minority Health Resource Center; Sage Project, Incorporated; Women and Gender Studies Program, University of Guam.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Isla Para Ladrones

Click this link and check out below the lyrics for a beautiful song titled "Isla Para Ladrones" by the band J.R. Jones.

Its a contemporary sound, but with a curious ancient feel as well. Its a rock song about Chamorros and their long-standing struggles. The title for those who don't know refers to the name that Guam and Chamorros were given by the Spanish, which called them "thieves" and their land an island full of them.

This is a conscious song not just in the sense that it is a rethinking of history and culture and Chamorro identity, but that its also made with the explicit intent that it be used as a tool for the creating of consciousness and the supporting of movements on Guam and amongst Chamorros for their sovereignty and decolonization. According to the band's description this song is "dedicated to our ancestors and to the undying efforts of the Nasion Chamoru. Our intentions with this song is to help promote the spirit of the Nasion Chamoru and to increase an awareness of it's efforts."

Gof gefpa'go este fina'tinas-niha. Debi di ta sappote todu i artists kalang este siha.

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Isla Para Ladrones by J.R. Jones

Kahulu Chamoru, mungga manao
Fan hongge Chamoru, para I taotao (repeat)

In 1521, Magellan sailed the ocean blue
Landed on our island from whence the wind blew
Massacred our islands, burned our homes,
How can it compare to a boat, iron, and rope?
How could we defend against bullets and guns
Against armada fleets with slings and stone?
Branded by a name to last through all of time
Listen up manuelos we’re accused of a crime

Kahulu Chamoru, mungga manao

Pale San Vitores, Legaspi and his crew
Dubbed us thieves and savages, like animals in a zoo
La Islas La Drones is what we are named
For cultural clashes for the food and warmth we gave
These Euro-ruffians changed our sacred way of life
promoting new gods, new diseases and strife
Does this make us thieves, to be robbed of culture
A tiny spec of land amongst wolves and vultures

Kahulu Chamoru, mungga manao
Fan hongge Chamoru, para I taotao

In 1941 a new terror washed ashore
Pillaged our islands turned our beaches into gore
This beast from the east was unstoppable, too strong
Native naiveties could not fight what was wrong
They raped our daughters and they killed our sons
Slanted eyed aliens from the Land of the rising sun
How can we forgive all these crimes of war
Will it bring our chelus back from oh so very far?

Kahulu Chamoru, mungga manao
Fan hongge Chamoru, para I taotao
(repeat)

Finally, a friend came and gave us liberation
Red white and blue were there colors of his nation
This strange new creature seemed so friendly and so kind
Gave us his candy, made us drink his wine
Little did we know what intentions he had
Until we lost our culture, our government, our land
La Islas La Drones is the island for thieves
Hafa lai Chamoru ko pun sungun ha
este?

Kahulu Chamoru, mungga manao
Fan hongge Chamoru, para I taotao
(repeat)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Reclaim Guahan Rally a Success

Youth Activists Take Center Stage
Monday, 25 May 2009
by Jude Lizama
Marianas Variety News Staff

EDUCATE, express, empower. This was the central theme of the Reclaim Guåhan Rally [Chule’ Tatte Guåhan] staged on Saturday by young activists at the Skinner’s Plaza in Hagåtña.

One of the event coordinators, Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, expressed her sentiments about the ongoing military buildup, which many in the community see as a “done deal.”

“I’d like to challenge our community to begin to envision that it isn’t a done deal. We currently remain an unincorporated territory of the United States. We belong to but are not a part of the United States,” she said.

“If we, as a community, support the Chamorro people’s right to self- determination to choose our relationship with our without the United States, then we can change these things. We can stop things like the military buildup from happening.”

Leon Guerrero said the only way to stop the military buildup is to acknowledge that the local population is entitled to choose they want for their future and to be able to decide as a community.

Accompanying Leon Guerrero onstage was Krista Flores, from Mt. Carmel Catholic School, who read the “Collective Bill of Rights for Guåhan,” which was one of the class’ pre-graduation assignments.

The bill of rights drafted by MCS student states that “the people of Guam should always be free. The people can overrule the Department of Interior. The military should give back our land. We must keep the island clean and green. The elected governor should have to deliver on every promise made. The Guam flag will be raised above all other flags.”


Creative thinking

Amid talks of self-determination and indigenous rights, the rally also served as an outlet for community networking, platform for free thinking, enjoyment of art and literature, and an appreciation for the island’s different cultures.

“I’m very excited. I’m glad to be a part of something very positive, something that’s by the people and for the people. Basically, if it’s a good thing, I’m down; I’m in,” said Jovan Tamayo, who spoke with the Variety while contributing to a collective poem that was on display at the plaza. “I’d definitely like to help in any way that I can. That’s why I’m here, and I’d like to think that’s why everyone else is here as well.”

“Some of the organizers are good friends of ours. A lot of them are poets too,” said Melvin Won Pat Borja, Sinangån-ta Outreach coordinator. “When they were organizing this event, we heard that they wanted some youth poets since it is a youth rally.”

“It was good timing for us because we just finished up our program so we had our core base of poets that could do something like this,” he added.

Won Pat Borja said the rally sought to encourage critical thinking about the things that are happening around Guam.

“It feels really amazing. I’m not indigenous to the island. I’m Filipino. I’ve come to call the island home. Being a part of this really means a lot to me,” said John Norman Sarmiento, a member of Sinangån-ta Outreach.

“I’ve always wanted to help change the island ever since I was a little boy and I think doing this is a vehicle of change for me because we can reach out to the youth in so many different ways,” he said. “We’re teaching the youth in ways that teachers thought they could only do in classrooms. Like Melvin said, we’re proving that wrong.”

Young poet and Yona resident J Rae Tedtaotao read a powerful piece titled “Territory” written last April. “It fit the whole theme so I read it today,” she said.

“I’m really glad that a lot of people have come out. I’m honored to be up on the stage and speaking,” said Tedtaotao. “I call on anyone else to put your minds together, your writing, and do anything to express yourself and see what you can do to help our island and keep our culture alive.”

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Reclaim Guahan


Reclaim Guåhan: Chule' Tatte Guåhan

A Community Rally to Educate, Express and Empower
Hosted by Guåhan Youth

Saturday, May 23
2:00pm - 8:00pm
Skinners Plaza

The people of Guam have been watching in silence as the future of our island drastically changes before our eyes. Due to our political status and current leadership, we have had little-to-no say in plans for our future.

A collective of youth and grassroots organizations have come together to organize a rally for change entitled “Reclaim Guåhan: Chule’ Tatte Guåhan.” The collective aims to break the silence and empower people to express what they envision for our island.

The rally will take place May 23, 2009 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Skinner’s Plaza and will feature honored speakers, poetry, local bands, art, film showings, carabao rides and much more. The rally will end with a candle light vigil at 7: 30 p.m.

“Reclaim Guåhan: Chule’ Tatte Guåhan” will be a space for education, expression and empowerment. The people of Guam are invited to:

• Learn about the most critical issues affecting our island, including political status, the military build-up, going green and protecting the land, the threats to Chamorro culture and ways of life, and the importance of uniting as a community during this time. Information tables with personal notes, creative work, research, documentaries, and other published literature pertaining to these issues will be available.

•Speak out on open mics and express things normally only discussed around the BBQ grill or in the outdoor kitchen (kusinan sanhiyong). Only there will be more people listening and sharing.

•Contribute to the “UNITED art PEACE,” a 12-by-6 foot wall for expression.

•Share and listen to stories from our past, and create stories for our present and future.

•Ask questions and seek answers from each other.

•Come together consciously to be more aware of how we exist as a people.

•Promote and practice unity by being open to different ideas and accepting of people's opinions.

•Take actions that will make a difference.

•Embrace diversity and celebrate the struggles we experience together.

For more information please email reclaimguahan@gmail.com.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ceremony for Angel Santos

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2009

Nasion Chamoru – A candlelight vigil will be held on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 6:00pm at the Angel L.G. Santos’ Latte Stone Park in Hagatna, Guam. Tomorrow marks Angel Santos’ 50th birthday and we will honor his life by coming together as an island community, to include a viewing of his life through his words. The entire island community is welcome to attend the service.

The late Senator Angel L.G. Santos sparked a movement of Chamoru consciousness that has lasted since his untimely passing in 2003. He has been credited with taking the risk of defying both local and federal government authorities and altering the thinking of the Chamoru people. He fought for the implementation of the Chamoru Land Trust Act, the return of excess federal lands, uncovered toxic wastes on private property kept quite by military authorities, wrote and lectured on the social injustices of the Chamoru people, and championed human rights especially for Indigenous Peoples from around the globe.

Santos died soon after spending half a year in a Federal Prison for a misdemeanor that of clearing the land his grandfather once owned but taken away by the Federal Government. His lasting legacy continues on through his words reminding us that

“We cannot be passive or silent when human beings endure suffering or humiliation. We must step forward and take sides.

We must assist immediately. At times, we may fail. At times, we may make mistakes. But we must never make the mistake of failing to try. People deserve nothing less.”

Santos is survived by his family and his children, Angel Ray Anthony Santos, IV, Sheila Marie Santos Indalecio, Christopher Ray Pangelinan Santos, Vanessa Joy Gumataotao Santos, Francince Nicole Gumataotao Santos (deceased), Brandon Scott Gumataotao Santos, Maga'Lahi Taga Hurao Santos-Salas, Ke’puha Hirao Santos-Salas, Sosanbra Elisha Santos-Salas.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Re-Intering of Ancient Chamorro Remains at the Fiesta Hotel

On January 30th, 2009 the remains of 88 Ancient Chamorros which were discovered and unearthed during the remodeling of the Fiesta Hotel in Tumon were re-interned at a small monument near the hotel's parking lot. A ceremony was held in their honor, asking forgiveness for the desecration and also to honor them in their reburial.







Saturday, January 17, 2009

Petition to Protect Dandan

Please consider signing the petition below titled "To Prevent the Construction of a Mounded Landfill on top of Inarajan Watershed at Layon, in Dandan, Municipality of Inarajan." The full text of the petition is pasted below, but you can click here to sign it online.

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To: Attorney General of the U.S. & Department of Justice
A PETITION:
TO URGENTLY REQUEST THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IMMEDIATELY STOP ANY AND ALL FURTHER ACTION RELATIVE TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF A LANDFILL ABOVE THE INARAJAN WATERSHET AT LAYON, IN DANDAN, MUNICIPALITY OF INARAJAN, UNITED STATES TERRITORY OF GUAM BASED ON THE ENUMERATED STATEMENTS OF FACT APPENDED HEREIN;

AND

TO URGENTLY REQUEST THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE IMMEDIATELY INVESTIGATE INAPPROPRIATE ACTIONS TAKEN OR PERMITTED BY THE U.S. DISTRICT COURT, THE U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE IN GUAM, AND THE U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY-REGION NINE, RELATIVE TO FAILURE TO FOLLOW CONSENT DECREE REQUIREMENTS AND INTERFERING WITH AND IMPEDING THE ESTABLISHED STATUATORY PROCESS FOR PRIVATE ENTERPRISE TO DEVELOP A LANDFILL IN GUAM.

By affixing their signature to this petition, each of the undersigned petitioners agrees with and supports the following statements of fact relative to requesting a halt to any action relative to construction of a landfill above the Inarajan Watershed at Layon, in Dandan, Municipality of Inarajan, United States Territory of Guam:

1. ENDANGERMENT OF WATER RESOURCES.
The area in and around the selected landfill site has a number of rivers and tributaries flowing through it, all part of Inarajan Watershed. According to “Assessment of Viability of Ground Water and Surface Water Resources for the Guam Waterworks Authority Water Resources Master Plan” dated December, 2004, reservoirs placed at the Inarajan and Tinaga Rivers could produce a sustainable flow of nearly 8 million gallons of fresh water per day, enough to provide for 23% of Guam’s residents.

Chief Hydrogeologist Martin G. Steinpress of environmental engineers and consultants Brown and Caldwell (B&C) wrote the following to the General Manager of Guam Waterworks Authority.

(a) “Although GWA’s Fena surface water reservoir and Ugum diversion currently supply southern Guam, future needs may require groundwater development. Since groundwater beneath Layon falls within the G-1 Resource Zone category, it must be protected to drinking water quality standards.”

(b) “The SEIS acknowledges that the Inarajan River has been identified as potential site for a surface water dam and/or reservoir. SEIS Figure 3-1 also shows proposed reservoir and/or diversion sites on the Tinago River…both of these proposed sites would be downstream of the proposed landfill site.”

(c) “In spite of the SEIS claim that “no plans are currently in place to develop groundwater or surface water supplies in the Layon Area…GWA considers (the Inarajan and Tinago Rivers) as potentially viable and necessary for the future water supply needs. In fact, the pre-draft Guam Water Budget Report…recommends that consideration be given to investigating the feasibility of diversions at other rivers in addition to the Ugam…”

A landfill located in this area could potentially endanger a valuable source of fresh water for Guam’s future growth and development. Placing the landfill over this precious natural resource would be as foolish as placing the landfill over Guam’s northern aquifer.

2. VIOLATIONS OF EXISTING PUBLIC LAWS. THE CONSENT DECREE REQUIRES THAT ALL LOCAL LAWS BE FOLLOWED.

(a) Public Law 23-95, enacted in 1996, and amended in 2008 by Public Law 29-116 clearly identifies the exact location for the sanitary landfill, Parcel B of Lot No. 439-R1, Guatali, Santa Rita, Guam. This law has not been amended or repealed to change the designated site for the landfill and the Legislature has reaffirmed, in P.L. 29-116, that the Guatali site is the only authorized site for a landfill in Guam. The Consent Decree (CV-02-00022) requires that all local laws be followed.

(b) Guam EPA and Public Works violated the site selection process required by the Consent Decree (CV-02-00022), by selecting only a single final site instead of three (3) final sites as required. The Sabanan Batea and Lomfit sites that were listed with Layon/Dandan by Guam EPA and Public Works were never eligible to be considered as landfill sites.

(c) The 2006 Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) designating the Layon/Dandan site is invalid. Only the Legislature is authorized to designate Guam’s landfill site. The Consent Decree requires that all local laws be followed.

(d) The 2006 SWMP which requires an Economic Impact Statement (EIS), for all costs to the public of over Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000) did not include an Economic Impact Statement, but did contain a certification by the Guam EPA administrator that it would not cost the general public in excess of $500,000. The estimated cost of the landfill alone is approximately $190 Million.

(e) Guam law requires the Administration to produce an EIS in the year following its submission if one does not accompany the SWMP. No EIS has been produced to date, in violation of local law. The Consent Decree requires that all local laws be followed.

3. IMPROPER ATTEMPTS BY U.S. EPA AND THE U.S. ATTORNEY TO VIOLATE THE INTENT OF THE CONSENT DECREE AND TO BLOCK FREE ENTERPRISE IN GUAM.

(a) An email, dated November 29, 2007, from Pankaj Arora of U.S. EPA – Region 9, Superfund Division in San Francisco, CA, to the Administrator and staff of Guam EPA, who hold the responsibility of reviewing permit applications to build a privately owned landfill, is evidence of U.S. EPA’s determination to block free enterprise. These Federal entities have placed pressure on Guam EPA to keep a private company from starting a legitimate business so that the Federal government can force the Government of Guam to build a landfill in an inappropriate site. The subject line of the email is “Review of Guatali documents,” and the email states in part:
“I would like to re-emphasize one issue that has been on the table for a few weeks now. According to USEPA (U.S. Govt.) Dandan is the selected site for the new landfill. The Dandan site was proposed by GovGuam under the Consent Decree and accepted by the US as part of the Consent Decree. Therefore, there should not be any confusion about the Dandan site being the new landfill site.

“Last week, I was surprised to see that a permit application was submitted to Guam EPA for the Guatali site. The permit application ties the Guatali site to the Consent decree. This is unacceptable to the US. As stated earlier, Dandan is the site for the new landfill that was proposed by GovGuam and accepted by the US. Please ensure that Guam EPA is working under the guidelines and requirements of the Consent Decree.”

(b) Attached to Mr. Arora’s email was an email from Mikel W. Schwab, US Attorney, Civil chief, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Guam & the NMI, U.S. Department of Justice, to instruct Guam EPA. In part it reads as follows:
“Pankaj,
“It has to be understood that there is no more debate about where the site will be. To comply with the Consent Decree the site chosen, Dan Dan, must remain the focus of all efforts.”
“If the Government of Guam wants to pursue a ‘waste to energy’ scheme, they are free to do so. But, that has nothing to do with, and cannot distract from, their obligation under Federal Court Order to open the landfill at Dandan.”
“If anyone is attempting to go back to the debate and search phase about where the landfill should be placed, they are in defiance of the Consent Decree. They are also indulging in the malady that has led us to this problem. A correct and proper decision has been made and it will be enforced by the Federal Court.”
“Dandan is the location of the new landfill that the Government of Guam must build.”

Through these e-mails, and perhaps through other e-mails and by other means, the U.S. EPA and U.S. Attorney have instructed Guam EPA to deprive a private business of its right to pursue a landfill at Guatali, which violates Section 10(b) of the Consent Decree that states:
“…upon the opening of a properly licensed and permitted municipal solid waste
landfill…no further dumping of any kind will be permitted at the Ordot Dump.”
This does NOT state that it must be a Government of Guam municipal solid waste landfill. In fact, nothing in the Consent Decree states that the landfill CANNOT be privately owned.

These actions are also a violation of several Guam public laws, including P.L. 23-95 and P.L. 29-116. The Consent Decree (CV-02-00022) requires that all local laws be followed.

4. PROHIBITIVBELY ENORMOUS COSTS TO THE PEOPLE OF GUAM.
In addition to the extremely expensive landfill that is required to be constructed over an important source of fresh water, a landfill at Layon/Dandan will place an incredible strain on infrastructure designed for rural traffic on a tropical island, not heavy industrial traffic as a landfill will require. Less than 10% of Guam’s population travels on Inarajan’s scenic primary and secondary roadways on a daily basis, and the roads are woefully inadequate to support the increase in volume of traffic and weight of the vehicles that will need to have access to a landfill at Layon/Dandan on a daily basis. Virtually all roads are two lanes, one in each direction. Shoulders are often non-existent, and bridges are unsuitable for a constant flow of heavy trucks and equipment. The massive infrastructure upgrades necessary to replace bridges, install traffic signals, acquire easements to widen and improve roadways and turning lanes and to create new shoulders for highways from Agat south to Inarajan and Layon, and then north to Yona, including the Cross Island Road, in order to accommodate the massive increase in volume of traffic solid waste is transported from all over the island, and from the military bases, to the site, will cost Guam’s people many hundreds of millions of dollars.

5. HARMING SOUTHERN GUAM AS A TOURIST DESTINATION AND ATTRACTION.
Tourism is Guam’s most important industry. Southern Guam is one of our island’s greatest tourist attractions. The south is the most picturesque area of our island and the lifestyle in the south still portrays much of the traditional Chamorro culture, as compared to the very urbanized lifestyle in northern Guam. Much of what makes the south unique and attractive would be lost with the establishment of a landfill that is visited daily by dozens of heavy, foul-smelling garbage trucks on formerly scenic and charming roads and bridges that have been “modernized” into steel, concrete and asphalt monoliths to accommodate the landfill.

Sincerely,