Everything is all set for today’s Fanohge: March for CHamoru Self-Determination, which is expected to be the largest gathering of a non-political nature in recent years.
A diverse coalition of individuals and organizations are participating in the march. According to the organizers, the event is open to everyone. It is non-partisan and not in favor of any particular political status.
“It is not meant to be liberal or conservative or represent any particular political ideology. Everyone who calls Guam home is encouraged to participate and express their support for the CHamoru people as a family, a company, an organization or even on behalf of themselves,” said organizer and UOG professor Michael Bevacqua in a release.
The march is from Adelup to the U.S. District Court and it aims to provide a symbolic demonstration of unity around the values of respect and inafa’maolek, with regards to the issue of CHamoru self determination.
Participants are encouraged to gather in front of Adelup at 8 a.m. today. A blessing and opening ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m. The march will start at 9 a.m. and proceed to the District Court.
After returning to Adelup, a short closing ceremony will take place.
For those unable to join the march, a sitting area with canopies will be provided. Water stations will also be set up along the march path.
The speakers include Lisa Natividad, Jamela Santos, and former UOG president and longtime Chamorro self-determination activist Robert Underwood. There will also be sing-alongs and musical numbers by well-known performers.
The Fanohge March Committee says the march will take place “maseha uchan pat somnak” (rain or shine).
Six maga’taotao, or honored individuals, have been invited to hold the official banner for the march.
The six include educator Maria Teehan; public auditor and former Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz; master of CHamoru culture Jill Benavente; former GDOE superintendent and educator Nerissa Underwood; former senator Hope Cristobal; and police officer Angel Ray Santos, who is also the son of the late senator Angel Santos.
Part of the rationale for the event is the recent affirmation of the Dave Davis case in federal court.
But Dr. Robert Underwood stressed that the recent court ruling in the Dave Davis case should not deter the island’s quest for self determination.
According to Underwood, the statement has to be made that it’s not over for Guam’s self-determination and that island leaders must reaffirm support for Chamorro self-determination.
“Chamorro self-determination has a long historical, moral, and legal basis. It is an issue which fulfills a commitment to the people of Guam at the time of the Treaty of Paris in 1898, which transferred Guam from Spain to the United States. It was an act of conquest, but an action that made a commitment to the native inhabitants,” Underwood said.
Underwood said today’s generation is more open to self-determination compared to when he first started advocating for it 40 years ago.
“It’s a very different feeling today. During the ’80s, the concept was new and a little misunderstood. And what’s most engaging about it is that today’s self-determination advocates are multi-generation,” Underwood said.
According to the organizers, today’s self-determination march is also meant to provide a space where the island community can build towards a better future in which the CHamoru people remain respected with their rights and their place in this island protected.
The march is sponsored by all three political status task forces in a show of unity, to show that regardless of what the island might want for the future of Guam, all can be united in the idea that supporting Chamoru self-determination is an important first step to a better future for Guam.