The Organic Act Explained

Independent Guåhan to offer Teach-In on The Organic Act, its past, present and future
For Immediate Release, October 13, 2019- Independent Guåhan (IG) invites the public to attend a Teach-In titled “The Organic Act Explained” on Thursday, October 17thfrom 6 pm – 7:30 pm at University of Guam, Humanities and Social Sciences Building Room 106. This event is free and open to the public and will also be live streamed on the Independent Guåhan Facebook page (
Recently, Guam’s non-voting delegate to the US Congress Michael San Nicolas introduced a bill in Washington D.C. to amend the Organic Act for Guam, which would require that a public referendum be held prior to any tax increase for the island. The delegate also has plans to introduce future amendments, in order to compel prompt payment of tax refunds for local residents. Discussion on these proposed reforms has been unfortunately limited, in part by a general lack of knowledge and understanding about Guam’s…

Third Options

An interesting discussion on the possibilities of a "third" option when thinking about decolonization in the Pacific. In Guam, I have written about the risks or dangers of "fourth kinds" or "fourth options," but I still found this article to be enlightening. 
In Guam, I refer to the fourth kind as potential political status traps. Decolonization in the most general sense is about achieving a genuine level of self-governance. There are, as we can see in the world today, a wide variety of arrangements whereby a colonizer or administering power can call a place self-governing, while still maintaining colonial control. 
For example, when looking at the United States, Puerto Rico is a "commonwealth" and isn't supposed to be a colony or non-self-governing territory anymore. But if you compare the status of Guam and Puerto Rico, their level of self-governance, they are almost in the exact same position, with only a fancy title separating them. Even t…

"Naked Racial Spoils Systems"

The clock is running out for the Government of Guam to decide if they plan to appeal the recent 9th Circuit Court's affirmation of the Dave Davis case. After the federal district judge in Guam, Francis Tydingco-Gatewood ruled in Davis' favor in 2017, the government of Guam appealed. They lost that appeal earlier this year. In a few weeks the Leon Guerrero administration will reveal their plans for the Davis case and hopefully the issue of a self-determination plebiscite in general. 

For those unfamiliar, the Davis case deals with a non-binding political status plebiscite codified in Guam law, that would be limited to only those who were made US citizens by the 1950 Organic Act and their descendants. Although not strictly a racial definition, the US federal courts have ruled that this classification known in Guam as "native inhabitants" is unconstitutional. 

The question that remains for Maga'håga Lou now is, what is Guam's next step? As she is the head of Guam&…

Grito de Lares

Recently at the Fanhita: Our Continuing Quests for Decolonization, I and the several hundred other attendees received updates on Puerto Rico from Wilma Reveron-Collazo. Her presentation "Puerto Rico Actually" provided a powerful genealogy of Puerto Rico's movement for decolonization, as well as American attempts to keep the island colonized or to hide its continuing colonization. 
Puerto Rico occupies an interesting place in the imaginary of Guam. It is a place very distant from us in geographic terms, but we nonetheless share a similar history of Spanish colonialism and a similar present of American colonialism. At a time when Puerto Rico and Cuba were developing their own nationalist and revolutionary movements, the same movements, albeit on a smaller level, were also developing on Guam. Both Guam and Puerto Rico exist in territorial/colonial relationships with the US, although they have different names. Puerto Rico is referred to as a commonwealth, although you would…

Fanohge: March for CHamoru Self-Determination


The Private War of Pito Santos

This month I reread Island in Agony by Tony Palomo. I have actually read it many times, but decided to take a look at it again as I was writing my weekly columns for the Pacific Daily News about World War II in Guam, and that book had been my first, comprehensive and in-depth look at it when I was a graduate student. In contrast to books by Don Farrell or Robert Rogers which also cover to varying extends the Japanese occupation of Guam, Island in Agony, feels very Chamoru and is in most ways written for Chamorus. When you read the book, you can see Tony Palomo's voice clearly trying to sound like an average American newspaperman. But in how he frames the story and what he chooses to include, you can tell he is trying to write something that will tell the Chamoru side of the story, that will stand as a testament to the Chamoru experience.

Most chronicles of the war focus, as you might expect on the militaries involved. The great titans that clash over Guam. Not much attention is g…

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