Independence for Guåhan Task Force launches Fanhita campaign


GUAM—The Independence for Guåhan Task Force held its second general assembly last Sept. 22 at the main pavilion of the Chamorro Village in Hagåtña.

More than 70 people gathered to listen to presentations, pay tribute to a Chamorro educational pioneer and to help coordinate small family and organization-based conversations meant to diversify the ways in which our community is educated about decolonization and independence.

The meeting opened with a tribute to Dr. Bernadita Camacho-Dungca, a Chamorro linguist and indigenous rights activist best known for writing the Inifresi, who passed away earlier this year. The Inifresi calls on the people of Guam to pledge to protect and defend the precious natural and cultural resources of their island. It was in this spirit that this month’s meeting focused on various ways in which these core elements of our lives are being threatened by Guam’s use as a strategic base by the United States.

Guam’s media and elected leaders often portray the U.S. bases on island as keeping Guam safe, and thus, community members regularly ask the task force how an independent Guam will prevent attacks from North Korea and China. Responding directly to this question, the task force’s co-chair Victoria-Lola Leon Guerrero, challenged the audience to more closely examine why Guam is threated by these nations in the first place. Weaving together statements from military commanders and government officials both from the U.S. and Asia, she argued that any current threats to Guam are not aimed at the island or the people themselves, but rather at the U.S. military’s offensive presence on the island. A presence that as an unincorporated territory, Guam has no formal authority over and no say in the actions of.

Co-chair of the task force’s Educational Development Committee, attorney Ana Won Pat-Borja conducted the first in a monthly series of educational presentations on successful independent nations that Guam could use as self-governance models. She presented on Singapore, one of the “Four Asian Tigers” and widely considered to be one of the richest countries in the world. Singapore is slightly larger than Guam in terms of landmass, and has particularly been successful at trade. With control of the island’s port, an independent Guam could expand its trade industry and boost the economy.

The meeting concluded with co-chair of the Campaigns Committee Melvin Won Pat-Borja introducing the Fanhita initiative, which aims to bring the Task Force’s educational outreach directly into the homes and offices of Guam. The Task Force is offering to organize educational conversations called faninåyan with smaller groups that are organized by interested members of the community. The meeting ended with several dozen individuals committing to organizing their family or co-workers to host such gatherings.

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. The next general assembly will take place Oct. 27 from 6pm to 7:30pm at the main pavilion in the Chamorro Village.

For more information, please contact Independent Guåhan chairperson Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua at (671) 988-7106, email, or visit

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