Chamorro self-determination discussed in summit
by Jason Salas, KUAM News
Saturday, December 29, 2007
The criticality of the need for self-determination for Guam's indigenous people was the topic of much discussion today at a summit at the University of Guam. "Protecting Our Way of Life and Ensuring Our Survival" sought to unite and educate Chamorros cross-generationally, and strengthen their awareness with the military forces to be transferred from Okinawa.
Dr. Richard Wyttenbach-Santos teaches a graduate class in such studies and sat in on the talks. He told KUAM News, "The island's become so diffused and so multicultural - is Chamorro self-determination a lost cause? And how do we get non-Chamorros to understand that this is the homeland of the Chamorro? Under international law they have the right to vote on their self-determination." And former senator Hope Cristobal said, "We foresee a rapid acceleration of our peoples assimilation and we also anticipate that it's going to greatly impact the Chamorro people, especially our right to self-determination."
One of the major themes touched upon was the importance of language and the preservation of spoken Chamoru by locals. Guest speakers included former congressman Robert Underwood, former Supreme Court chief justice B.J. Cruz, Senator Ben Pangelinan, Attorney Mike Phillips, and political strategist Josh Tenorio.