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April 6, 2016 @ 11:49 am

Ep. 240 “WWAD (What Would Anghet Do?): Lessons from the Writings and Activism of Angel Santos”

Ep. 240 “WWAD (What Would Anghet Do?): Lessons from the Writings and Activism of Angel Santos” (hosted by Dr. Vivian Dames and produced by Tom Maxedon with assistance from Alan Grossman) airs 4/1/16.  

On March 30, 2015, the Latte Stone Park in Hagåtña was officially renamed the Angel Leon Guerrero Santos Memorial Park to honor of the U.S. Air Force veteran, three-term senator, Democrat gubernatorial candidate in the 1998 election, and first Maga’lahi of Nasion Chamoru, who became an icon of Chamorro activism in the 1990s.  ‘Anghet' fought for the implementation of the Chamorro Land Trust Act and the return of excess federal land, uncovered toxic wastes on private properties kept quiet by military authorities, wrote and lectured on the social injustices of the Chamoru people, and championed human rights, especially for indigenous peoples. He passed away on July 3, 2003 at the age of  44, amidst rumors that he was poisoned while in federal detention for a misdemeanor charge of violating a court order to vacate land that once belonged to his grandfather. His death left, what some describe, as a void in the Chamorro rights movement. Who was this remarkable Chamorro man? What is his legacy? And what would he be doing now, at age 57,  if still alive ?  


This episode features a March 24 interview with Royce Kiniki Palomo Camacho, a 2015 graduate of the Master of Arts in English program at the University of Guam (UOG).  His thesis, entitled “The Writing on the Wall: 21st Century Imaginings of a Chamoru Rights Activist” received the UOG Presidential Thesis Award.  Camacho discusses the impetus for this research on the “language of resistance” of Angel Santos,  the method of rhetorical analysis, the texts and framework for this analysis, and his “discoveries” and “imaginings” as a researcher.  Royce is now an adjunct English instructor at UOG and also in training for a black belt in the martial art of jiujitsu.  This interview includes the song "Ko' Gaige Hamyu (Are You There?)” by Ron Eclavea and Tony Sanchez featuring a spoken word performance by Angel Santos. This song, which Camacho references in his thesis, is a call to Chamorros to remember their past and fight for their future.  A copy of this thesis is available at the RFK Library, University of Guam.

This interview is followed by brief comment from several individuals who knew Angel Santos in various capacities:  Ed Pocaigue was a staff assistant to Senator Santos in the 26th Guam Legislature when the senator co-chaired (with Senator Mark Forbes-R) the Blue Ribbon Panel Committee that commissioned an action report which provided evidence of radioactive contamination on Guam as a result of U.S. nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands.  Speaker Judith Won Pat was a fellow Democrat in the 23rd, 24th and 26th Guam Legislatures (1994-1998, and 2000-2002).  Danny‘Pågat' Jackson is the current Maga' lahi of Nasion Chamoru, and his wife, Josephine Jackson, is the secretary.  Scholar-activist Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua attended church services with Anghet and has written several pieces on his life and activism, including an interpretive essay for Guampedia and “Jumping the Fence: An Evaluation of Nasion Chamoru and Its Impact on Contemporary Guam”, a lecture presented at the 2nd Annual Marianas History Conference. August 30-31, 2013 [broadcast as Ep. 162 (9/6/13)  “Historicizing Chamorro Resistance, Subversion and Activism”]. Although Luke Duenas did not know Anghet personally, he represents a new generation of advocates who carry on his legacy.  A UOG social work senior, Luke organized student participation in a March 16 rally to oppose the Chamorro Land Trust Commission’s leasing of properties for commercial use and presented this as a case study in cause advocacy at the March 2016 Social Work Conference held on Guam.   

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