08 August 2012

THE DECOLONISATION PAPERS: The right of self-determination of the Chamorro people

Occasional papers on the self-determination/decolonisation process


GMF - P.O. Box 24295                                                           Email:  trinit@ite.net
Barrigada, GU 96921                                                               Tel:  671-969-8551

                                                                       July 11, 2012

Statement by Ms. Trinidad Torres, Pilong Maga’Haga 

of Taotaomona Native Rights


Taotaomona Native Rights, Chamoru Nation of Guahan, and Chamoru

Cultural Development and Research Institute

5th Session of the Expert Mechanism 

on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Mr. Chairperson, Members of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, distinguished government delegates; and honorable representatives of indigenous peoples and organizations:

Thank you for allowing me to speak here for my Chamorro people. We Chamorros are the aboriginal, indigenous native inhabitants of the United States’ un-incorporated, non self-governing territory in the Pacific, the Island of Guahan, known as Guam. In other words, Guam is a colony of the United States, and we Chamorros are U.S. subjects! Guam has been a colony of the U.S. since it was ceded in 1898 after the Spanish-American War.

We are pursuing our self-determination with more vigor at the present time. However, we are people of a small island inundated with a large influx of people from other areas and other countries. These large numbers of people are allowed by the U.S. to emigrate to Guam and to settle without our sayso or informing us, and with this colonization process have resulted in overwhelming our native population, making us a minority in our own homeland and displaced a lot of our people in jobs and from our lands.

The U.S. imposed its Organic Act of Guam of 1950 which created the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of its colonial government without the consent of our people. We do need all the help of the United Nations. We need the presence of the United Nations and its participation towards the exercise of our self-determination and to act as active observers during our plebiscite when we choose our political status in determining our relationship with the United States either with the option for statehood, or freely associated with the United States, or independence. Our situation in pursuing our self-determination means we are going up against the strongest, most powerful nation -- the U.S. -- which has continuously been blocking us in the exercise of our self-determination.

We believe that by the United Nations taking a firm and more proactive stand for the rights of indigenous peoples, it will be also helping to put back its member States, most especially the United States back to its rightful position as one of the original creators of the United Nations body to carry out its commitment, to right the injustices and inequalities and unnecessary human sufferings that indigenous peoples are enduring and living through day by day. And, we also all need to work in the spirit of humankind. When it comes to unnecessary human sufferings -- enough is enough!

Thank you. Saina ma’ase’.