Independent Guåhan discusses need for stronger historic preservation laws at General Assembly May 31
Independent Guåhan (IG) invites the public to attend their May General Assembly (GA) on Thursday, May 31, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at the Main Pavilion of the Chamorro Village in Hagåtña. The educational discussion for the evening will focus on how an independent Guåhan can create stronger policies around the preservation of historic sites and cultural properties.
Guåhan has a unique and rich cultural heritage that manifests in the island’s food, historic locations, artifacts, buildings, landscape, and oral history. On an island that is becoming increasingly modernized and militarized, having strong laws for historic preservation is essential in protecting the unique identity of this island, that which makes Guåhan Guåhan. While many think that improvement must come at the cost of preservation, in reality, strong policies that promote and protect the island’s cultural resources will enhance its economy while also strengthening its sense of identity. The presentation will provide preservation policy models from Papua New Guinea and Palau that an independent Guåhan could draw inspiration from in its own efforts.
At each GA, Independent Guåhan honors a maga’taotao: a notable figure who has helped guide the island and the Chamoru people on their quest for self-determination. This month, IG will be honoring the exploits of Monsignor Oscar Lujan Calvo, “Påle’ Skåt,” the third-ever Chamoru Catholic priest, whose legacy looms large over recent Guam history. Ordained as a priest just months before the start of World War II, as a young man, he became an island leader during one of Guåhan’s darkest moments. In the postwar years, Påle’ Skåt facilitated dialogue between Chamoru and Japanese communities working to heal the wound of World War II, taught some of the first Chamoru language courses at the college level, and led a protest at the Pacific Daily News over their English-only policy. Påle’ Skåt dedicated his life to the promotion and preservation of Chamoru heritage, and Independent Guåhan is proud to honor his legacy.
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