Educates about Guam’s ‘unincorporated territory’ status
GUAM—The Independence for Guåhan Task Force held its first general assembly last Aug. 25 at the main pavilion of the Chamorro Village in Hagåtña.
More than 80 people gathered to listen to informational presentations, take educational materials and discuss their own questions or ideas about an independent Guåhan.
The Independence for Guåhan Task Force will continue to host general assemblies every month, in addition to other outreach activities, thus providing a regular forum for the community to ask questions, obtain information and sign up to promote decolonization and independence for the island.
This first general assembly was held in honor of Ed Benavente, a Chamorro teacher, leader at Sagan Kotturan Chamoru, and former Maga’låhi of the group Nasion Chamoru.
Benavente passed away in July, and dedicated much of his life to inspiring people to see the possibilities for an independent Guåhan.
Each general assembly will feature an informational presentation that focuses on an important aspect of the movement toward decolonization.
This first general assembly focused on what it means for Guam to be an unincorporated territory of the United States, or what is commonly referred to as “status quo.”
“Members of our community regularly ask why ‘status quo’ is not an option in Guam’s political status plebiscite,” said Independence co-chair Victoria Lola Leon Guerrero.
“We felt it was important to illustrate the many ways in which being an unincorporated territory has hindered our political and economic development and has impacted the social and cultural welfare of our community.”
Task force members shared the history of how Guam came to be a possession of the United States, and how the rights of those who live here are decided by U.S. Congress.
Zach, a 19-year-old attending the University of Guam who was at the meeting, expressed gratitude for the presentation.
“To think that Guam is a possession is like something from the 19th century,” he stated.
“It’s an outdated notion, something that shouldn’t exist anymore.
Learning this history really opened my eyes as to why Guam needs decolonization.”
The Independence for Guåhan Task Force believes these types of activities are vital and commends Gov. Eddie Calvo and the Commission on Decolonization for their recent proposal to hold regular village meetings on this issue starting early next month.
The next community discussion on decolonization will be hosted by the UOG Social Work and Chamorro Studies Programs at a forum focusing on decolonization updates from Guåhan and New Caledonia on Sept. 1 at the UOG CLASS Lecture Hall from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.
The next Independence for Guåhan general assembly is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 22, from 6pm to 7:30pm at the Main Pavilion of the Chamorro Village.
The educational focus for the evening will be on the concept of sovereignty.
For more information, please contact Independent Guåhan chairperson Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua at (671) 988‐7106, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.independentguahan.com.