I first traveled to the United Nations to testify in 2007. I
testified along with two other Marie Auyong and Rima Miles before
the Fourth Committee on the situation in Guam. We came in the wake
of a larger delegation the year before which featured Victoria Leon
Guerrero, Julian Aguon, Sabina Perez, Fanai Castro, Tiffany Lacsado
and Kerri Ann Borja. That trip represented a big moment in sort of
post-nation Chamoru/Angel Santos activism in Guam and the diaspora.
The trip first came from a conference in San Diego that I along
with a few others had organized in April 2006 about decolonization
and Chamoru issues. It was, as far as any of us could tell, the
first of its kind in the diaspora. The gathering of so many
critical and conscious Chamorus in one place led to a great number
of things, one of which was a period of new engagement around the
Chamorus had been traveling on and off to the UN since 1982. There
were high points, usually when the Government of Guam wanted to try
to shame the US about something or draw more attention to something
the US was ignoring, but for the most part, only one or two people,
or no one would travel to the UN to testify. That trip in 2006
wasn't organized by anyone with government of Guam connections, but
rather activists either raised in the diaspora or just in the
states for school, who wanted to draw attention to the military
buildup that had been announced back home.
2006 was a high point, as the group met with countries and UN
officials, who were all eager to see some activity in Guam again
around decolonization. The first year I attended was simply a
placeholder, a reminder that even if we hadn't returned with the
same intensity, we were still there and did not want to be
dismissed or forgotten. I hadn't even planned on testifying, but
was asked at the last minute and ended up flying out with just a
day or two notice.
Another larger group returned in 2008, but even in my short time
within the UN infrastructure I was struck by a number of things.
Once the luster and grandness of the place wore off, you were left
with a hollowness, especially coming from a colony. As I wrote in
my dissertation, the UN gift shop was a particularly depressing
spectacle, as flags from nearly every UN member were there, but
none for the colonies.
As much as testifying there before the Fourth Com...