By Pacific Island Times News Staff
A group called “No Ko” is petitioning the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities to delist a traditional healer from the Guam delegation to the 13th Festival of the Pacific Arts and Culture in Hawaii.
Frank “Ko” San Nicolas, a suruhånu and port police officer who was twice acquitted of sexual assault charges, is a member of Guam's traditional healing team that will be sent to FestPac, which is set to be held from June 6 to 16.
“Although a grave injustice was carried out on July 27, 2022, when Ko was acquitted of sexual assault, several survivors have shared their experiences publicly and maintain that Ko violated their trust, their bodies and their spirits,” reads the petition launched on change.org.
More than 2,500 delegates from 28 Pacific island nations and territories are expected to gather in Hawaii for the region’s largest cultural celebration, themed "Regenerating Oceania."
Guam's government-funded delegation includes visual artists, artisans, cultural performers and traditional healers.
“This disgraces all other delegates from Guam and damages what should be an honorable representation of our island at a gathering that connects cultural practitioners and artists from throughout the Pacific,” the petition reads.
San Nicolas, a suruhånu, was acquitted of sexual assault in 2021 and 2022. After his acquittal, San Nicolas got his job back at the Port Authority of Guam and received more than $156,000 in back pay, plus $40,000 in legal fees.
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The petition organizers noted that delegates were selected before the festival was postponed due to Covid-19 and CAHA has since retained the list.
"We must demand that CAHA and the Fest Pac committee withdraw Ko San Nicolas from the delegation immediately," the petition said. "This is a step toward healing and justice that this government and community can take right now."
Angie Taitague, CAHA's acting executive director, said she is seeking Attorney General Doug Moylan's legal opinion on the matter.
The Pacific Island Times sought comments from San Nicolas but has not received a response.
Read the entire text of the petition here.