Lapas attēli
PDF
ePub

considered hypocritical to exact the very blood and the lives of our people in service of this great Nation we call, quote “America" unquote, while at the same time perpetuating second-class citizenship through the colonial status we are currently subjected to? How much more, Mr. Chairman, must we give in order to receive what this great Nation promises? Is it just too much to ask that the reversal of this status begin with a congressional passage of the Guam Commonwealth Act which embodies the political process by which Chamorros will achieve self determination? The passage of the Guam Commonwealth Act would be a major step in the right direction. We believe that justice, freedom, truth, and liberty will all be enhanced by such action of yours. And will not America be the greater for that?

I humbly pray then that this great Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, and under your leadership, Mr. Chairman, will be able to uphold these ideals with truth and wisdom and right judgment and as you vote on the Guam Commonwealth Act.

[Speaking in Chamorro] “Dangkolo na si Yu'os ma’ase.” Thank you.

[The prepared statement of Rev. Apuron may be found at end of hearing.)

Mr. PETERSON. I'd like to thank the reverend for his testimony. Next we will introduce Jose Guevera, vice president of the Filipino Community of Guam. STATEMENT OF JOSE GUEVARA, VICE PRESIDENT, FILIPINO

COMMUNITY OF GUAM Mr. GUEVARA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, members of this committee, I am Jose Guevara, a resident of Guam and vice president of the Filipino Community of Guam. I am proud to say, Mr. Chairman, that about 30 percent of Guam's population today is of Filipino origin or decent and the Filipino community is an integral part of the wonderful island of Guam.

The Guam Commonwealth Act is a matter of considerable interest to the Filipino community of Guam. For those of us who have permanently made Guam our home, as opposed to those who eventually move to other parts of the United States, the issues raised in the Commonwealth Act cause us to come to terms with our history as Filipinos and our status as Americans.

Given the history of the political relations between our mother country, the Philippines, and our adopted home, the United States, Filipino-Americans understand the difficulties of colonial relationships. Our history as a Filipino also illustrates, like the American's experience itself, that colonialism is not a legitimate form of government.

There is a natural affinity amongst Filipinos to appreciate and understand the Commonwealth Act's proposal to establish an autonomous and internally self-governing entity called the Commonwealth of Guam. For those of us who make Guam our home, self government for us has even more meaning. The various ways in which the Commonwealth Act provides for the devolution of powers from the Congress to the people of Guam, will have an inescapable

impact to our economic potential—the stable economic patterns, the enactment of laws that make sense for our Guam, and maximization of our economic role in the Asian-Pacific region. These things will be done with no threat to the U.S. military needs.

Commonwealth is clearly not independence, which our mother country fought for, negotiated, and achieved. Nor is commonwealth Statehood as is being pursued by Puerto Rico. For three entities taken by the U.S. during the Spanish-American war of 1898, the Philippines was encouraged to pursue independence. Puerto Rico is now being encouraged to pursue Statehood, and Guam is being offered neither.

Recognizing this, the people of Guam have sought a middle road of autonomous commonwealth status on the road of decolonization. Because of Guam's uniqueness, and because no one is suggesting Guam should be a State, we believe special dispensation is necessary.

That's all, Mr. Chairman. And, thank you for giving us the opportunity to be heard.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Guevara may be found at end of hearing.)

Mr. PETERSON. I'm pleased to thank the gentleman for his testimony.

At this time we'll call on Debby Quinata, Nation of Chamoru.

STATEMENT OF DEBTRALYNNE K. QUINATA, NASION

CHAMORU Ms. QUINATA. [Speaking in Chamorro] "Hafa adai.” Greetings, Mr. Chairman, and distinguished members of the Committee on Resources.

My name is Debtralynne Quinata. I am a citizen of Guam, and I am Chamorro. I am here today on behalf of the Nation to testify in opposition to the Guam Commonwealth Act.

First, we would like to state for the record that we construe House Resolution 100 not a true exercise of Chamorro self determination, but merely a petition by U.S. citizens residing on Guam in 1987 to amend the present Organic Act of Guam.

Secondly, we oppose H.R. 100 because short of a true exercise of Chamorro self determination, this bill, under article 1 section 101, proposes to surrender our sovereignty. Sovereignty to all free nations of the world, which includes our native brothers and sisters of the Americas, is an inherent and sacred right that they would do anything in their power to protect and defend.

If Congress intends to accept that the Federal Government should have total sovereignty over Chamorros, not withstanding recognized treaty obligations and U.N. mandate, than we fear that this may have devastating repercussions. This act may also set a precedent over treatment and consideration of treaties and policies signed between Native Americans and the Federal Government.

The Chamorro Nation, therefore, will not play a part in opening the door that may jeopardize or extinguish the sovereignty of our native brothers and sisters simply because the government of Guam, with the consent of the Federal Government, chooses to unilaterally compromise our sovereignty.

Thirdly, the Chamorro Nation opposes H.R. 100 for the mere reason that even non-Chamorros were permitted to vote in political status elections in which the commonwealth status was selected. This is a clear violation of the Treaty of Paris, article 73 of the U.N. charter, and U.N. resolution 1514 and 1541 pertaining to the process of decolonization of colonial countries wherein they recognize the inalienable rights of Chamorro's self determination. The fact Chamorros have not been given the opportunity to exercise their right to self determination does not justify the government of Guam, a Federal instrumentality, having non-Chamorros vote on any political, social, or economic issue directly affecting the native Chamorros. This, we believe, is a grave injustice. And, although Chamorros now represent a minority, it does not give any government the right to preempt our existence. The Chamorro Nation vows never to remain silent on this issue until true exercise of Chamorro self determination is realized. Nor will we ever accept the idea of giving non-natives the absolute power and right to seize and hold our sovereignty and at their whim dictate our lives as indigenous people.

Self determination or decolonization is neither an individual or citizen right. It is the right of a distinct group of people the Chamorros—whom have a historical relationship with the United States. Therefore, it would be totally absurd to have U.S. military personnel who are stationed on Guam, foreigners who have been naturalized, and U.S. citizens from the States, voting on any interim petition that would require a political status change. Even within the political framework of the United States, U.S. citizens residing adjacent to reservations do not have the right to vote and pass policies affecting Native Americans.

Lastly, we Chamorros for many years have been placed under the auspices of the Department of Interior. This is an agency that has jurisdiction over Federal properties and animals. Today, we would like to proclaim that Chamorros are neither property nor animal.

In recent years we have seen this agency, with the blessing of the Federal Government, advocate and pass more laws to protect endangered species and the environment than laws to protect the indigenous people of Guam. In fact, in the 99 years of U.S. rule, laws were instead imposed to undermine our existence as a people; such as executive orders which prohibited the speaking of our language, the outlawing of many of our traditions, and the taking of our lands. One can only conclude that these acts are nothing more than a systematic process of genocide. Excuse me.

Members of Congress, December 1998, will mark 100 years of U.S. rule, and the Chamorros have yet to exercise their right to self determination. Our people have lived in the Marianas for over 4,000 years—a peace-loving people living in harmony with our neighbors and our surrounding environment. We Chamorros, like many other native peoples throughout the world, have committed no sin toward humanity. Our question, therefore, is pure: what in God's name have we done to deserve such mistreatment?

Rather than pursuing Commonwealth of Guam, we ask that you support Guam's public law 23–130 which establishes the Chamorro registry, and public law 23–147 establishing the Commission on

Decolonization for the implementation and exercise of Chamorroan self determination.

For these reasons we rely on your knowledge, compassion, and wisdom to put an end to these injustices. To right the wrong, and to free a people.

It is only fair, just, and the right thing to do. [Speaking in Chamorro] “Si Yu'os ma’ase."

[The prepared statement of Ms. Quinata may be found at end of hearing.]

Mr. PETERSON. I would like to thank the lady and all the panel members.

Do we have any questions for the panel?
The gentleman from Samoa.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It's a lot better than Somalia, as I've been given that. Thank you, nevertheless.

I would like to certainly welcome Mrs. Moses before the committee. It has been my privilege over the years to know very well the Governor Resio Moses-I think, now, Senator? Am I correct Mrs. Moses? Please do convey to him my personal regards and hope all is well in Palau.

Can I ask you Mrs. Moses, was there an original understanding between you and Senator Akaka and Murkowski about the wording about the language with reference to the three colleges of Micronesia? What was your understanding?

Ms. MOSES. Thank you very much.

Yes, we received copies of the original legislation that was first considered, and it did not contain section 3(c). Section 3(c) was added as a result of administration testimony to the measure.

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. OK. Was the original language that the Senate had provided for the three separate entities, to function as three separate entities?

Ms. MOSES. The original language that the Senators drafted for this issue was acceptable to all three colleges. It had sections-it only had two sections: sections (a) and (b).

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. As I recall, originally, when the College of Micronesia, when the endowment was set aside for the College of Micronesia, at that time there was only one College of Micronesia. Am I correct?

Ms. MOSES. That's correct.

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. And in the process now, you have Palau and the Marshalls also having a separate community college, is that it?

Ms. MOSES. That's right.

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. And how is it functioning right now with this endowment? Do all the proceeds go directly to the College of Micronesia?

Ms. MOSES. No, the endowment is—The College of Micronesia still exists only for land grant purposes. We named ourselves the College of Micronesia-FSM-we're the former Community College of Micronesia. So the endowment for the land grant has been separate all along, and the proceeds from the investment of the endowment go to support residential instructional programs at all three colleges as well as provide some matching funds for the land grant programs.

46-318 98 - 4

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. And in the process, as we were making amendments to the Federal statute, both colleges in Marshals and Palau, have they also gained land grant status?

Ms. MOSES. No. That's what we're seeking today.

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. So, basically they don't have land grant status, but the College of Micronesia-FSM has land grant status?

Ms. MOSES. No, I'm sorry, that's incorrect. The College of Micronesia, which is a college that was comprised of Palau and the Community College of Micronesia in the FSM, and the Marshalls is the college that has land grant status in the statute. That college does not—that college has been disbanded, essentially, for everything except land grant programs. And the reason for that is that in the statute, the College of Micronesia is designated as the land grant college for the former trust territory of the Pacific islands.

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. I understand that. So, basically, the administration does not support the idea of giving land grant status to both the colleges of the Marshalls and Palau. This is basically the problem?

Ms. MOSES. And College of Micronesia-FSM, because we don't have land grant status either. The College of Micronesia does. They're not the same.

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. No, I understand that. But, I'm just trying to get to the original purpose of the act which was to grant land grant status to the College of Micronesia, in its original form, with the $3 million endowment

Ms. MOSES. That's correct.

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. [continuing] interest drawn from there for use as you suggested earlier. So, the current law, as it now states, you still have the College of Micronesia-FSM, but without the land grant status because of the change of the Government?

Ms. MOSES. That's correct.

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Oh. OK. And so this is basically the problem that we're faced with.

Ms. MOSES. Yes.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. All right. Thank you, Mrs. Moses.

I was interested in the testimonies stated earlier by Mr. Howard and Ms. Quinata and your non-support of the proposed Commonwealth Act. You're taking this basically with the idea that as an indigenous people you don't want in any way to be associated with the United States? You want to be completely independent? Is that

Mr. HOWARD. No; it's that we're against the process as it now stands. We don't advocate any political status. It's the process.

Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. OK. All right.
Ms. Quinata?

Ms. QUINATA. I'd like to also—just for a little bit more clarification is that, again, we are not advocating any particular status, but I do not believe that the commonwealth status is not a status at all that is in the political framework other than an interim status. And that, above and beyond that, we have not done we don't have a true vote. We don't have the—we have not protected the indigenous people of Guam. We've allowed everybody to become involved in that particular process.

« iepriekšējāTurpināt »