THERE are two registries that were created by law to delineate the people of Guam who are entitled to self-determination. These registries are the Chamorro Registry and the Guam Decolonization Registry – neither of which is “race-based.”
The marked difference between the two is the definition of native inhabitants. In short, the Chamorro Registry defines native inhabitants as those who were inhabitants of Guam by April 11, 1899; those who were temporarily absent from the island at that time; and those who were born on the island prior to 1800 and their descendants.
The Guam Decolonization Registry defines native inhabitants as those who became U.S. Citizens by virtue of the 1950 Organic Act of Guam and their descendants.
When you hear “Chamorro-only,” keep in mind it is a phrase that is entirely inaccurate, misguided, undermining, and is a menacing misrepresentation of the mission of the Commission on Decolonization, the intent of the enabling legislation for both registries, and the many discussions that have taken place at various conferences and fora on-island and abroad.
Self-determination is not a synonym for any of the three status options, and the plebiscite is a mechanism by which the native inhabitants of Guam will now determine, for ourselves, what sort of relationship we wish to have with the United States.
Countless decisions have been made concerning our land, our water, and our airspace without sincere efforts at consultation with our people, who are left to deal with the aftermath of PCB-contamination, the effects of the Compact Impact Agreement, and wishy-washy buildup talk. These issues take effect as a result of the “status quo.” If it is change that you seek, the truest change we must impress upon is to the gray area that is beyond our legislature and beyond Adelup – it is the gray area between the people of Guam and the government of the United States of America.
Never mind the rhetoric of how this vote is racially-motivated or racially-biased – that is simply ill-intended rhetoric that seeks to undermine the process of our right to self-determination. Rather than relying on false reports and/or news articles that contain strong opinions over facts, ask the right people your questions and continue to stay informed and educated on the three status options.
Regardless of your ethnic identity, you may be qualified to register for the Guam Decolonization Registry. Registration clerks are available at the Guam Election Commission and at the office of Sen. Ben Pangelinan in Hagåtña.