- President Barack Obama
The ancient village of Pågat is located about three miles east of the village of Yigo, along Guahan's northeast coastline. The word Pågat translated to English is to give advice. The ancient village is a registered archaeological site in the Guam and National Register of Historic Places since 1974, a designation by the U. S. National Park Service for its historic significance.
According to archaeologists, Pågat village contains extensive cultural resources from the Latte Period (1000 A.D.). The Latte Period is reflected by remains of 15 to 20 sets of latte pillars used for foundations of structures, rock shelters, over 50 mounds of middens, and other artifacts such as basalt and limestone mortars, pounders, graters, stone bowls, fishing gear, abraders, hammer stones, weaving or thatching tools, chipped stone, scrapers, knives, gouges, adzes, sling stones, spear points, ornaments, and pottery. Radiocarbon dates have been obtained from the site. The dates range from the earliest at A.D. 770-970, to dates at 1080-1310, 1360-1480, and 1340-1440. The dates indicate that the site was occupied near the beginning of the Latte Period and was used during the Latte Period (A.D. 900-1521).
An analysis of faunal remains recovered from excavations at the site, indicate that mahi mahi and black marlin were among the fishes the early settlers ate. The bones of fruit bat, bird, rat, and turtle were recovered. Shellfish included shells from Strombus and Isognomun. These two mollusks are sand dwellers, and they may have been brought to the site since it lacks a sandy beach.
In 1672, a Spanish church was established at the site and recorded documents indicated that the Venerable Diego Luis de San Vitores S.J. (1627-1672), visited the village of Pågat to convert the Chamorro people to the Catholic religion. The church was later abandoned after the 1700s.
Today, Pågat village still remains as it did over two thousand years ago. The Suruhanos and Suruhanas or local healers seek advice from the spirits and herbs of our ancestors, the fishermen still come to make their catch, and the young and old still seek the refuge of the historic Pågat village to reflect and to be inspired to preserve our culture and our heritage.
The recent military plans for the build-up of Guahan have identified areas surrounding Pågat village as firing ranges for military training. If these firing ranges are built in the surrounding areas, the historic Pågat village will no longer be what it is today. There is so much to learn about our ancestors from the historic village of Pågat and the spiritual connection the Chamorro people feel for this ancient village. The community's desire to preserve and protect this significant historic site should be embraced and empowered.
Pågat is an ancient Chamorro village site, which continues to play a meaningful role in the cultural practice of the Chamorro people. The firing ranges would necessitate significant new limitations in access to the site, bring new security fencing and personnel to the area, and have the potential to cause direct physical harm to the irreplaceable resources at Pågat.
We call on President Obama to respect Guam’s unique cultural heritage and reconsider the proposed firing range location.