Sunday, November 20, 2016

Statement from the Chamorro Tribe


There has been a small but determined movement to push Chamorros towards tribal/Native American status for a few years now. There are those who believe it to be the best or only path forward for the Chamorro people given the colonial frameworks they are ensnared by. The statement below is from The Chamorro Tribe itself, which has been advocating this in various forms for about a decade (as far as I can tell). This idea resurfaces every couple of years, usually when a politician decides to take up the cause as a way of providing a seemingly simple solution to a very complicated problem, namely decolonization. A few years ago Senator Judith Gutherz was advocating for it. This past year Felix Camacho in his race for non-voting delegate advocated the same thing. I am getting ready to catch a flight and so I can't talk much about this now. But in time I plan to write more. For now here is the statement of the Chairman of the Chamorro Tribe, Frank Schacher. It can be found on their website.

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A Statement from the Chairman of the Chamorro Tribe 

One of the most important things that we can garner as a Native American Tribe is true U.S. Citizenship.  Right now, we are "Statutory Citizens", that means we received our citizenship through the passage of the Organic Act. The Organic Act is United States Code 48 Section 8A.

Unfortunately, Article 14 of the United States Constitution has never been amended to include citizenship of unincorporated territories.  The United States Constitution states there are only two ways to become a United States Citizen, you are either born a citizen or you are naturalized. You cannot be naturalized as a Statutory Citizen. Only certain Amendments of the Constitution and those Amendments that the Supreme Court recognize as being Basic Human Rights apply to us.

The only true way for Guam and the Chamorro people to get United States true citizenship, which means full protection and full Constitutional rights, is either Guam becomes a State, which is not going to happen because we do not have the population base and we are too far from the contiguous 48 States.

 The only other way for us to get Constitutional citizenship is to become registered as a native American tribe so that we as a people become incorporated to the United States and the Indian Naturalization Act would automatically Naturalize us, thereby, making us legal Constitutional Citizens of the United States and affording us all protections and rights under the Constitution of the United States and making us eligible for all types of benefits as well as giving us additional Constitutional rights, because Native Americans enjoy more Constitutional rights than regular Americans.  Native Americans have the Constitutional right to discriminate based on race to protect their culture, heritage and race. 

Throughout the history of our relationship with the United States we have been the victims of deceit, theft, subjugation, discrimination, abandonment, and slow, subversive, genocide. All under the United States policy of Benevolent Assimilation towards the Chamorro people of Guam.  

 While the majority of the Chamorro people of Guam enjoy thinking of ourselves as Americans, the truth is, we are not recognized by the Constitution as American citizens, nor do we enjoy the full scope of rights and protection under the Constitution.

 On August 1, 1950, Congress approved the Guam Organic Act and declared Guam to be an unincorporated territory of the United States (48 U.S.C.). This Act changed our political status as U.S. Nationals and granted the Native Inhabitants of Guam (Chamorros) statutory, unconstitutional citizenship.  This Act, is also a direct violation of Article 6 of the Constitution of the United States of America.  

As a colony of the United States, prior to the Japanese invasion, all military and civilian dependents, and all civilian contractors were evacuated from Guam in anticipation of the Japanese invasion. The Chamorro people were left to the mercy of the Japanese with just a token force of U.S. Navy personnel to surrender the island;

On December 8, 1941 Guam was captured by the Japanese. No words could ever fully describe the inhuman atrocities committed by the Japanese upon the Chamorros who had been abandoned;

The naval and aerial bombardment carpeting Guam for 21 days and nights by the United States preceding the reoccupation of Guam more than two-and-a-half years later killed more Chamorros than the Japanese did and caused irreversible ecological destruction;

The United States forgave the nation of Japan for the atrocities committed against the Chamorro people, without consideration of the Chamorro people or their land;

The Non-Self Governing Territory of Guam became a Trust Territory of the United States of America under Chapter XI of the Charter of the United Nations;

Chapters XII and XIII of the Charter of the United Nations provides for the establishment of an International Trusteeship System, the basic objectives of which, among others, are to promote the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the inhabitants of Trust Territories and to promote their progressive development towards self government or independence;

Principle VI of United Nations General Assembly Resolution 1541 of 1960, states that a Non-Self Governing Territory can reach a full measure of self government by: (a) emergence as a sovereign independent state; (b) free association with an independent state; or (c) integration with an independent state;

The United States of America is a signatory of the Charter of the United Nations;

On August 1st, 1950 the Guam Organic Act was approved by Congress, this Act was written by the Dept. of the Navy without any input, or approval from the Chamorro people of Guam;

The Chamorro people do not enjoy full, equal rights, and protection as Constitutional Citizens of the United States, under the Organic Act of Guam;

The Chamorro people of Guam have had over one third of their island unconstitutionally condemned by the United States; (click to view 1979 Land Docs. navy airforce land use plan.pdf and navy guam land use plan.pdf )

Chapter VIII "Equal Rights and Self Determination of Peoples" of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe's "Helsinki Accord," delineates that participating states will respect the equal rights of peoples and their right to self determination, acting at all times in conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations;

The United States of America is a signatory of the "Helsinki Accord;"

The Chamorro people of Guam have been exposed to radiation fall-out from atomic bomb tests conducted by the United States;

The Chamorro people of Guam where exposed to dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) for over two decades by the United States;

The United States military's use, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials, toxins, and contaminants within Guam without the free, prior and informed consent of the Chamorro people since World War II, including Agent Orange, Agent Purple, dioxins, heavy metals, and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), continues to negatively affect Guam's people and land, and the effects of these hazardous materials, toxics, and contaminants within Guam remain undocumented, untreated, and unmitigated;

The incidences of cancer in the Chamorro people of Guam are far out of proportion to the incidences in non-contaminated areas, and nasopharyngeal cancer incidences far outweigh all other cancer incidences in Guam;

The combination of radiation exposure, chemical contamination, ecological destruction, and the uncontrolled introduction of invasive species of plants, insects, and animals has destroyed the Chamorro People of Guam's ability to sustain themselves through traditional means;

The formation of United States military installations and Federal preserves has restricted the rights of the Chamorro people from the harvesting of their natural resources;
Restrictions were placed on studying and perpetuating the history, culture, and language of the Chamorro people by the United States until Congress' enactment of the Organic Act in 1950;

Although the United States surrendered ownership of Guam upon ratification of the Charter of the United Nations, President George W. Bush recently ordered the establishment of the Marianas Trench National Monument. Thereby incorporating into the United States waters belonging to the Chamorro people.

These are but a few of the wrongs which have been and continue to be unjustly perpetrated upon Chamorros.

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