KEY FACTS ABOUT GUAHAN (Guam)
Guahan is located in the Mariana Islands in the Micronesian region of the pacific. Guahan is the Chamoru name of Guam, which means “we have.” It is the southernmost island of the Mariana Islands, and the largest island in Micronesia. It has a total land area of 212 square miles, excluding reef formations. Chamorus are the indigenous population of the Mariana Islands and have lived on these islands for nearly 4,000 years.
In 1521, Guahan was used as a stopping point for ships of Spanish colonial expeditions. They restocked with food and fresh water en route between Asia and the Americas.
In 1898, Guahan was sold to the U.S., along with Cuba, Philippines, Puerto Rico under Article 3 of the Treaty of Paris following the Spanish American War.
For over 30 years, Chamorus have sent delegations to the United Nations to testify to Guam’s colonization and Chamoru’s sacred and inalienable right to Self Determination, as affirmed by General Resolutions 1514 and 1541, and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
On August 13, 2007 a group of Guam’s maga ‘haga and others voiced opposition to the increased military build up of Guam at a meeting with U.S. Congressional Representatives. The U.S. military is increasing its presence on Guahan in order to house troops that will be transferred from Okinawa. This entails a hyper-militarized build-up that extends beyond Guahan to include the islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas – particularly Tinian and Pagan for live firing range complexes.
The many health, environmental, cultural, and political impacts of increased militarization on Guam include contamination of lands, waters, air, and bodies. Also, reduction in biodiversity, infringement of human rights to self-determination of the indigenous people, political minoritization, an increased loss of indigenous culture, and increased cost.
Hita Guahan! Chamoru Testimonies to the United Nations New York, NY – 2008
Chamoru Delegation Recommendations to the United Nations Fourth Committee: Special Political and Decolonization Committee, 7 October 2008
La Plante, Matthew D. U.S. Territories: A Recruiters Paradise. Salt Lake Tribune, 8/5/07
Guam’s Women Leaders Say No to U.S. Military Build-Up, Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SW5aFuw5MDM. Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3e1jM0fKrE@feature=related
Military/Civilian Buildup Data Fact Sheet
Factsheet: Impacts of Increased Militarization of Guam
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Ladrones de la Isla/Thieves of the Island by Sabina Perez tells of Guam’s incorporation into U.S. national military defense scheme.
Hita I Manao’tao Yini Na Tano by Lisalinda Natividad speaks to the impacts of militarism and colonialism on Guam.
genuinesecurity.blogspot.com holds reports of the 7th International Women’s Network Against Militarism gathering which took place in Guam.