Thursday, January 19, 2023


By Tim Rohr

As already demonstrated multiple times in this blog, Guam "historian," Michael Bevacqua, insists that the killing of Chamorro children by their own mothers is a practice "consistent with CHamoru values" - and, in fact, is a functionally proud expression of "matrilineal" authority and power. 

Fellow CHamoru historian, LAURA MARIE TORRES SOUDER (as Souder sets out her own name in a sworn affidavit) presents a radically different view from Bevacqua's.

In support of what we now know as "Belle's Law," P.L. 20-134, Souder filed an affidavit stating:

I have personally interviewed in-depth in Chamorro...traditional Chamorro healers, known as ‘suruhana’ to document their practices, methods of healing, and also the social attitudes and consequences of specific treatments including those which induce the termination of pregnancy. One suruhana admitted that she administered abortive treatments. She told me that she knew what she was doing was not culturally acceptable…In other words, she recognized the deviancy of her behavior. The suruhana and all others I have interviewed informed me that while a few healers were known to dispense treatments for abortion, none of them associated that type of treatment with healing or curative “amot” (medicine).

My informants spoke honestly about the shame and abhorrence that was associated with the practice of intentionally destroying a life. It is a well established fact that when abortions are practiced by suruhana they are always performed in secret and with shame. This secrecy has been and continues to be a significant indicator that those who perform or have abortions recognize that the act is defined as culturally deviant. They feel shame and do not wish to be known for fear of social reprisal. 

Historical evidence further indicates that incidences of collective acts of abortion and suicide in the darkest moments of Chamorro history during the Spanish era were aberrant and must be interpreted for what they were - - acts of ultimate defiance against genocide, total subjugation, and colonial servitude.

 It would be no surprise if Mr. Bevacqua "pooh-poohed" any of my intrepid expositions of his warped version of CHamoru history - given that I am a "haole."  However, the sworn interjections of Ms. Souder, a person whose curriculum vitae (as set forth in her affidavit) appears to heavily outweigh Mr. Bevacqua's, is another matter. 

Whether Ms. Souder still stands behind what she filed under penalty of perjury thirty years ago is a question. But given the resurgent importance of "Belle's Law" in the wake of Dobbs...

Well. We shall see.


Listen to Bob Klitzkie on Tall Tales address this HERE

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