by Michele Catahay
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Members of I Nasion Chamoru ("The Chamorro Nation") were at the Chief Quipua Park in Hagatna late yesterday afternoon to protest various concerns in the community, most notably the upcoming massive military buildup on Guam. The organization's, maga lahi (the highest ranking male), Vicente Garrido, believes the buildup is not a good thing for the island.
While a Japanese delegation visiting from Okinawa is on Guam, Garrido says he wants them to tell the local community the real reason the Okinawans want United States Marines to move out of their island. "There must be a good reason why," he suggested. "Otherwise, if it's really good for them, they're not going to send those Marines to Guam because it's going to help the economy...that's what they say. There must be some reason why. I want those people in charge of Okinawa to tell us why they want those Marines out of Okinawa."
While some continue to fight against the move, others are more concerned about the taking of land at Ritidian and Tiyan. One such activist, Katherine McCollum, continues to fight against the taking of indigenous land. "We are threatened everyday; Tiyan, especially with the enclosure that the Guam International Airport Authority has put on the families up there in closing their properties with the fences and there are issues about sewage problems.
My family is being charged for sewage, which are services they're not getting," she told KUAM News.
McCollum says when people suffer it hurts families, adding that she wants to see these families build homes and live in their homes as equal private property owners. Meanwhile, the group continues to fight for self-determination, return of lands and vows to continue to fight against what they feel is the military contamination of the land.