Opinion: Chamorro people need tribal recognition
"As our government plans to begin the education portion of our quest towards political self determination, there’s another avenue that appears to bear more fruit than determining our island’s political status. That avenue is having our people recognized as a Native American tribe. Attempts to gain recognition of the Chamorro people as Native American tribes don’t effect the Guam quest for political self determination.

In fact, I view it as an enhancement to the current relationship with the U.S. Government.

Currently Chamorros are entitled to 2nd class U.S. Citizenship thanks to the passage of the Organic Act and the signing of the Treaty of Paris over a century ago. I say 2nd class citizenship or statutory citizenship because we don’t vote for president and we do not have equal representation in congress. We elect a delegate to congress, but they have no voting power on the floor. What makes matters worse is only certain parts of the U.S. Constitution and Basic Human Rights apply to Chamorro people because the U.S. Supreme Court recognized them and gave us those rights to 2nd class citizenship.

If Chamorro’s are recognized as a Native American tribe, members will be incorporated into an already existing federal law called the United States and the Indian naturalization Act. If the United States and Indian naturalization Act applies to members of the Chamorro Tribe, our existence as 2nd class U.S. citizens will end. Members of this Chamorro Tribe will be able to cast their vote for President, we might even get a vote that counts in the Electoral College and we will have equal voting representation in the U.S. Congress.

All it takes to be recognized as Native American is the approval of the Secretary of the U.S. department of interior. It doesn’t require an act of congress or special consideration from the president, but if it does happen, Guam and it’s Chamorro Native American tribe members will begin to reap real benefits from the federal government. "

Get the Story:
John Davis: The fast lane to first-class U.S. citizenship (KUAM 11/17)

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