The Fanohge Coalition held a virtual press conference on May 20, Wednesday morning to publicize a letter they’ve written to Guam’s elected leaders on moving forward with CHamoru self-determination.
Leaders from some 36 organizations, collectively called the Fanohge Coalition, signed onto the letter, calling on elected officials to keep up the fight for CHamoru self-determination and a plebiscite vote on Guam.
Their press conference comes just weeks after the Supreme Court’s decision denying Guam’s appeal in the Arnold “Dave” Davis case.
Organizers say the decision in that case has held Guam’s plebiscite vote hostage for nearly a decade but they can now move forward.
Samantha Marley Barnett, of Independent Guahan, said: “Dave Davis’ attorney Christian Adams has stated that his client had to wait nine years for justice. In reality, the CHamoru people have waited for justice on the matter of decolonization for centuries.”
In light of the federal court denial of GovGuam’s appeal, the group wants the Governor, lawmakers, and Congressman Michael San Nicolas to work with regional partners, the international community, and the international court system to move the self-determination issue forward.
Activist Victoria Lola Leon Guerrero said: “Guam is not alone, more than 80 places in the world have decolonized, there are 17 remaining non-self-governing territories in the world and Guam is one of them.”
The group says there are also options to amend local laws around the plebiscite. But they currently have no definitive plans for their next steps.
The group says they’re continuing their education campaigns and they’ll be producing an updated self-determination study for the community to read through the three options they’d be voting for.
These are: statehood, free association with the U.S., and complete independence from the U.S.
The group also says that despite the Davis ruling, a plebiscite vote would go forward as is.
“This group is not advocating for a plebiscite inclusive of all people voting. This group is very clearly articulating the right of the native inhabitants of Guam to exercise self-determination as the people who were colonized,” Leon Guerrero said.
The group held a Fanohge March last September with around 2000 people walking in support of self-determination. There’s no date yet for another such event with COVID-19 social distancing requirements still in place.
However, there is a petition online at change.org where the coalition is looking for community support.