Bill 59 allows Guam to tell its story surrounding the first encounter

by Rikki Orsini, Senior Policy Advisor
Office of Senator Kelly Marsh (Taitano), PhD.

Hagåtna, Guam – In March 1521, I Manaotao Mo′na (CHamoru ancestors) discovered a Spanish expedition in their waters that went on to become the first expedition to have circumnavigated the world. Five hundred years later, in 2021, the people of Guam will have an opportunity to tell their story about their experiences in the midst of the first encounter between Pacific Islanders and Westerners.

Senator Kelly Marsh (Taitano) introduced Bill No. 59-35 (COR), which establishes a provisional commission to ensure that CHamoru perspectives are given a respectful place in the recognition of the 500th year since the first circumnavigation of the earth and that Guam be given a special place in research, discussions, and related events.

Senator Marsh (Taitano) stated, “I am honored to have been asked to introduce this significant legislation on behalf of I Kumisión. This bill will allow the people of Guam, who have been overlooked, unheard, poorly understood, and under examined throughout history, to have their story surrounding the historic encounter heard and shared with the rest of the world.”

As its oversight chairperson, Senator Marsh (Taitano) introduced Bill 59 on behalf of I Kumisión i Fino’ CHamoru yan i Fina’nå’guen i Historia yan i Lina’la’ i Taotao Tåno’ (Commission on CHamoru Language and the Teaching of the History and Culture of the Indigenous People of Guam).

I Gé’helo’ (Kumisión Chairperson) Hope Alvarez Cristobal concluded, “It’s imperative that the people of Guam have official representation during this international recognition. Guam was an important stopping point for this global encounter in the 16th century and continues to be so today in the 21st century.”

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