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Gathering Strength for our Journey Ahead
May 23-25, 2008
San Diego, California
Famoksaiyan is a group comprised of dedicated and passionate people who work on issues of decolonization, cultural and language revitalization and the dissemination of information regarding the proposed military build up of Guam. The organization’s first conference was held in San Diego, California, on April 14-15, 2006, and was titled “Famoksaiyan: Decolonizing Chamorro Histories, Identities and Futures.” The people who attended that first gathering left with the desire to transform the energy and excitement of the conference into something more sustainable.
Famoksaiyan translates into “the time or place of nurturing or growing,” or “the time to paddle forward.” And it was in this spirit that more than 70 Chamorros and individuals of other ethnic identities from Guam gathered together to share their work, ideas and stories in hope of effecting a positive change for Chamorro communities in the Marianas Islands and the United States.
In a short period of time, Famoksaiyan has organized and assisted in organizing several historic meetings, trips and conferences. Most prominently amongst these have been the following:
• Three trips to the United Nations to testify to the international community on the question of Guam.
• The “Decolonizing Our Lives” forum held at the University of Guam, which gathered more than 250 people. The event served to educate individuals about what different organizations are doing to facilitate Guam’s political and cultural decolonization.
• A second Famoksaiyan conference held on April 20-22, 2007, in Berkeley and Oakland, California. Titled Famoksaiyan: “Our Time to Paddle Forward,” Summit on Decolonization and Native Self-Determination, the conference brought together more than three hundred people to share and learn about the struggles of indigenous people in the Pacific and the Americas.
As part of Famoksaiyan’s continuing commitment to the decolonization of Chamorro lands and lives, we are pleased to announce in cooperation with Chamorro Hands in Education Links Unity (CHELU) Inc.:
Gathering our Strength for the Journey Ahead
Day 1 Friday, May 23, 2008 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Famoksaiyan Sustainability Meeting
CHELU Inc. Office
334 Willie James Jones Ave
San Diego, CA 92102
Day 2 May 24, 2008 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
I Salud i Taotao yan i Tano’
Joyce Beers Community Center
1220 Cleveland Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
Day 3 May 25, 2008 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Ma’cho’cho’cho’ para i Mamamaila
Sons and Daughters of Guam Club
334 Willie James Jones Ave
San Diego, CA 92102
In times past, knowledge, skills, family and village histories were passed down to the younger generations through different guma’ or houses, such as the guma’saga’ or the family home, or the guma’ulitao, the bachelor’s house. In these spaces young Chamorros, would be given the crucial knowledge of their family, clan and village genealogy, and also be imparted the necessary skills for tasks such as planting, fishing, navigation, debate and weaving. Through this inter-generational sharing, young Chamorros would be prepared to be productive, respectful and active members of both their clan and their village.
As Chamorros and their islands face uncertain futures due to various economic, health, environmental, military and social concerns, it is crucial that we come together to work towards developing progressive solutions to these problems. This year’s gathering hopes to continue the spirit of our ancestors by creating a guma’famoksaiyan, or a house where we can nurture each other, grow and strategize ways to continue paddling forward. We will do this by first, providing presentations and facilitating discussions about fundamental issues that are affecting our people and our islands, whether it be health and diet issues, the impending military buildup, the reality of Guam’s physical environment, the decolonization of Guam and the plight of the Chamorro language. Second, in the hopes of building a more progressive and critical Chamorro / Guam community, we will also convene working groups to discuss different projects and strategies to creatively and effectively confront the existing problems that face our island.
Attending the gathering is free, however donations will be taken throughout the weekend. Please contact Michael Lujan Bevacqua (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Leiana San Agustin Naholowaa (email@example.com) or visit the Guma’Famoksaiyan website at http://famoksaiyan.blogspot.com for more information.
Chamorro Hands in Education Links Unity, Inc. (CHE’LU) is the official fiscal sponsor of Famoksaiyan and the Guma’Famoksaiyan gathering in May 2008 in San Diego, California. CHE’LU is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and all donations made to Famoksaiyan are eligible for tax deduction. Neither CHE’LU nor Famoksaiyan support any political candidate, party or affiliation in compliance with the laws governing nonprofit institutions.