Independent Guåhan (IG) invites the public to attend their special Mes Chamoru General Assembly (GA), on Thursday, May 29 from 6:00 – 7:30 PM at the Main Pavilion of the Chamorro Village in Hagåtña. As the island celebrates Mes Chamoru, Independent Guåhan will discuss the role that culture plays in community empowerment and healing the wounds of the past and present. This special GA will be bilingual in English and Chamoru.
From brutal sexual assaults, to suicides, to drug and alcohol abuse, recent local headlines have been horrific. Our island is gripped in a public health crisis while the government is rocked by an impending financial crisis. In the midst of all these headlines some local leaders have determined that agencies such as the Commission on Decolonization and the Department of Chamoru Affairs are not priority funding areas and may be abolished. This rationale is tied to the assumption that even if Chamorus are the indigenous people of this island, their culture, their rights and their self-determination are not essential.
In this month’s educational presentation, IG will challenge these assumptions about our island’s problems and how to fix them. First, many of these issues are part of classic colonial conditions that require the addressing of damage caused by colonialism. Second, the financial crisis and other problems can be traced directly to our island’s status as an unincorporated territory. Through decolonization and the prioritizing of Chamoru culture, language, history and values, we can solve many of the problems plaguing our island today.
At each GA, Independent Guåhan honors a maga’taotao or a notable figure who has helped push the islands towards decolonization. For Mes Chamoru, IG will be honoring the work of the late Antonio M. Palomo who dedicated his life to telling the story of our people and ensuring that the Chamoru perspective was valued in our community. As a journalist, writer, politician, educator and long-time director for the Guam Museum, he continually sought to empower the Chamoru people in taking control of the writing and telling of their own history. His efforts continue to inspire us today.