Monday, October 27, 2008

Chamorro Summit draws good crowd among youth

Monday, 27 October 2008 00:00 By Beau Hodai | Variety News Staff

An event to educate and involve young Chamorros in dialogue on the issue of Guam's right to self-determination was held Saturday at the Udr. Carlyle Corbin
niversity of Guam.

"I think it's important," said UOG student Shawnette Celes on the issue of Guam self-determination. "I think that it's something every country that has been occupied by another country needs to consider."

Former senator and founder of the Committee for Decolonization and the Chamorro Registry, Hope Cristobal, made a presentation on the right to self-determination as laid out by the United Nations.

"If, under the UN, it's a right that's given to everyone, then we should have that right as well," said Celes.

She said that when she returned to Guam from the mainland in 2000, she recalled protesters in the streets with signs demanding self-determination and that there was public discussion on the issue.

"I think it's about time that we started talking about this again," said Celes.

The summit was divided into two parts, or tracks, with the first track divided into four sections.

The first section was Cristobal's presentation on the right to self-determination as laid out by the United Nations. The second section was a presentation on the option of statehood while the third section focused on the option of free association and the fourth option discussed the option of all-out independence.

One committee dealt with legal strategies, another with issues of economic development. Two committees dealt with educational strategies and aspects of Chamorro education and one dealt with registering Chamorros to the Chamorro Registry.

Cristobal said she hopes the summit served not only to educate young Chamorros on the right to self determination but also served as a forum for discussion on the subject, encouraging a new generation to register as Chamorros.

Lisa Natividad, an organizer of the event and an assistant professor at the university in the division of social work, said that nearly 100 people attended the summit and that she was very pleased to see many new, younger faces mixing with more experienced activists who have been working for a long time on the issue.

Natividad said that the next summit is set to take place in early 2009 and that Dr. Carlyle Corbin, the UN's external minister of the Virgin Islands and proponent of self-determination, will speak at the event.

"His visit to the region is really very important to us," said Natividad. She said Corbin's insight from the international and legal view points would be very helpful in local discussion of the issue.

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