As part of Humanities Guåhan’s Unincorporated project, we presented a five-part series of webinars featuring CHamoru scholars, civil servants, creative writers and artists in conversation as they shared their work, views, and visions for the future on issues of civic engagement, voting rights, and self-determination. These webinars can be viewed on Humanities Guåhan’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/humanitiesguahan.
The webinar series launched with Ti Måmakpo’: CHamoru Self-Determination, a webinar featuring celebrated historian, and former Congressional Delegate Dr. Robert Underwood in conversation with community advocate and poet Selina Onedera-Salas. They discussed civic engagement in Guåhan and the origins, issues and stories of CHamoru self-determination and representation.
Dr. Robert Underwood
In the second webinar, Words and Reflections from the Commission on Decolonization, Melvin Won Pat-Borja, the Commission’s Executive Director and President of the Department of CHamoru Affairs, highlighted the history of the establishment of the Commission, and discussed its current work within the community, specifically educational and outreach programs to inform the public about the decolonization process and the three political status options — Free Association, Independence, and Statehood. The presentation also featured a special address from the Commission on Decolonization Chairwoman Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero.
Melvin Won Pat-Borja
The third webinar in the Unincorporated series, Art & Sovereignty, highlighted three CHamoru artists' reflections on representation, voting, and CHamoru self-determination. Painter Ric Castro, filmmaker Cara Flores and photographer and carver Kerri Ann “Ifit” Na’puti Borja presented examples within their own artworks, while reflecting with one another on thoughts about and responses to democracy and CHamoru self-determination that have inspired them as artists and are inspired by art. The conversation was facilitated by University of Guam assistant professor, apprentice carver and Humanities Guåhan Board member Dr. Melissa Taitano.
Dr. Melissa Taitano
Kerri Ann “Ifit”
The fourth webinar, Navigating the Law, featured Attorney General Leevin T. Camacho in conversation with Attorney Vanessa Williams exploring the history of voting in Guam, political status, and recent related court cases. Mr. Camacho is Guam's fifth elected attorney general. During his law career, he has argued over 15 appeals before the Supreme Court of Guam, litigated land rights and environmental justice cases, and also served as local counsel in a lawsuit seeking to extend voting rights to U.S. citizens living in the territories. Vanessa Lee Williams is a CHamoru litigator and advocate for civil rights in Guam.
Leevin T. Camacho
Attorney Vanessa Williams
In the fifth and final webinar, Voices from Unincorporated, three contributors to the project’s online and print magazine — scholar and Northern Marianas Humanities Council Board Chairwoman Dr. Theresa Arriola, artist Angela Santos and poet Teresita Flores — discuss their individual work and the overall themes and topics of the magazine. The webinar is facilitated by project humanities scholar and consultant Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua, and concludes with a performance by CHamoru musician Joe Garrido.
Dr. Theresa Arriola