Friday, October 27, 2006

Famoksaiyan: Decolonizing Chamorro Histories, Identities and Futures

For several months now, myself along with a number of other Chamorros and people from Guam have been working to develop our group called Famoksaiyan.

Famoksaiyan is the Chamorro word meaning, "the place or time to nurture and grow" and the "time to paddle ahead and move forward." It began as a conference, Famoksaiyan: Decolonizing Chamorro Histories, Identities and Futures which took place April 14 and 15th of this year in San Diego, where more then 60 Chamorro and other allies from around the country (and even a few who flew from Guam) attended to present their academic or activist work. With that many people, gathered together all concerned about doing something for the future of Guam and Chamorros, it was inevitable that something concrete and committed to effecting political change would emerge from that meeting.

Ya i hiniyong este na dinaña Famoksaiyan. We've had several meetings since that first one in April. The first in Berkeley and Oakland in May, the second in Guam in August, and the next is scheduled for November 19th at the Guam Communications Network Office in Long Beach.

If any random Chamorros or people from Guam happen to wander into this blog and would like to know more about Famoksaiyan, you can email me, check out our myspace page, or sign up for the listserv.

I'm posting this here, because it has relevance to the issues to the ones that me, Madel and Angie are all working on or working with. At some point I'll post here the draft mission statement/goal of the group, but for the moment I'll just make some cursory comments. Famoksaiyan is first and foremost an organization committed to decolonization. There are different ways that this can be taken, the most commonly known, an intervention which appeals to legal frameworks and formal requests. For the handful of non-self-governing territories left in the world, this means bowing before and begging the United Nations and your governing power for autonomy or sovereignty. To this end, members of Famoksaiyan participated in and helped plan a landmark trip to New York, just this month, to meet with mainland social justice and anti-war activist groups and also testify before the United Nations Committee on Decolonization.

For alas, this framework is limited, because of the fact that its ability to "recognize" colonization is severly limited. While Guam makes it onto the list as one of the world's last "official" colonies, this legal world is unable to address productively (for a number of reasons which have to be blamed primarily on nations such as the United States) the instances of colonization which continue to thrive, but have been renamed, or hidden within the folds of some fictional legal maze. It is for this reason, that Famoksaiyan is also committed to forms of decolonization which must and do take place everyday. But more on that later, both in our podcasts and in our work.

Esta ki ayu, estague i listan i fina'pos gi i miteng:

Hafa Adai Todus Hamyo,

I'm pasting below the tentative schedule and other information for the Famoksaiyan Southern California Meeting in Long Beach on November 19th at the Guam Communications Network Office.

If you are interested in attending please get in touch with me so we can have an estimate for how much food to provide. If you know someone, have friends or relatives in the area who would be interested please get them in touch with me, or please give me their contact info and I'll invite them. This meeting is not just for Chamorros, but for anyone who is concerned about effecting the future of Guam and about connecting Chamorros from the states and the islands in productive cultural and political ways.

Part of the reasoning behind scheduling the meeting for this date is to take advantage of the National Pacific Islander Education Network meeting which is taking place the day before (November 18th) in Long Beach as well. This conference is geared towards helping Pacific Islander high school students apply for college and financial aid, and also help current college students network with other Pacific Islanders and learn about higher educational options. Me, my friend Madel and i primu-hu Si Alfred will be running two of the conference's workshops.

For more info you can check out this

Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions.

Sahuma Minagahet ya Na'suha Dinagi


Tentative Schedule
Diñanan Famoksaiyan VI Southern California

Guam Communications Network
4201 Long Beach Blvd. Suite 218
Long Beach, CA 90807

November 19, 2006
10 am – 5 pm

10:00 – 10:30: Tiempon Hafa Adai yan Mañanan Si Yu’us!

10:30 – 11:00: Famoksaiyan update
How Famoksaiyan started, what has happened since April 2006 and the first conference. Where is it headed.

11:00 – 12:00: United Nations report back
A report back on the recent trip Famoksaiyan members participated in to the United Nations in New York. It will cover where Guam is at as a colony, what role the United States and the United Nations have in keeping it as such, and what power they have in changing that.

12:00 – 1:00: Na’talo’ani
Food provided by the family of Josette Lujan Quinata

1:00 – 2:00: Lepblon Famoksaiyan
An update on the Famoksaiyan book, and what will be in it. A call for consciousness articles on the experiences and dreams of young Chamorros from the islands and the states.

2:00 – 3:00: Chamorros and the military
A review of the historical and statistical relationship between Chamorros and the United States military. What the military has done for Guam, meaning both good and bad. This will be followed by a discussion about what Chamorros in the states can do to help ensure that the relationship between the people of Guam and the military is one of partnership and equality.

3:00 – 4:00: Language and Culture
A conversation about what we can do to revitalize and promote Chamorro language and culture, with the hopes of creating some concrete plans and groups.

4:00 – 5:00: Sustaining/Funding Famoksaiyan A discussion about how Famoksaiyan can operate, can work, can sustain itself, and what its organization should or can be.


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