FIRST GUAM CONGRESS MEETS
February 3, 1917
The American Governor at the time, Roy Smith, decided it might be good to gather prominent people of the Chamorro community, all appointed by him, to form an advisory council with no powers, but with the grand name of the Guam Congress. They met once a month, with no pay. Many of Guam's elite, like Tomas Anderson Calvo (great grandfather of today's Governor Eddie Calvo) and Jose Martinez Torres (grandfather of former First Lady Geri Gutierrez), were members. By 1930, the group had lost nearly all of its energy, and Governor Bradley dissolved it in favor of a more purposeful body, although still consultative.
The usual agenda? The pot holes in that village. The stray dogs in another village. Yes, village problems.
But this seeming participation in the civic affairs of their own homeland nurtured the desire of some Chamorros to one day take a greater role in making decisions that affected them and their island.
Governor Smith wasn't doing anything particularly new. The Spanish had always some sort of local council made up of Chamorros, to offer advice and to vote, consultatively, for village officials. But this was the first time such a body was formed on an island-wide basis.