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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Recognition of Chamorros as ‘Native Americans’ sought
Governor also urged to appoint special representative for 902 talks

Sen. Victor B. Hocog (R-Rota) pre-filed yesterday a resolution urging Delegate Gregorio Kilili C. Sablan (Ind-MP) to request U.S. Congress “to officially acknowledge the Chamorro people of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands as Native Americans” to further protect their culture.

The Chamorro people of the CNMI are a distinct cultural ethnic group that has existed for thousands of years. They have continued to practice their own language, traditions, and cultural practices despite centuries of having the islands under Spanish, German, Japanese, and American control.

Hocog’s Senate Resolution 18-10, to be introduced at the Senate’s session on Rota Friday morning, seeks Sablan’s help in including the Chamorro people in the definition of “Native Americans” under federal law.

“Visible and verifiable evidences are slowly occurring with respect to dramatic changes in the language, traditions, and culture of the people of the Northern Mariana Islands thereby affording the Chamorro people of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands full integration and inclusion under 25 U.S.C. 450(b)(e) as a Native American Indian Tribe, known as I Man Chamorro Na Taotaogui,” the resolution reads.

902 talks rep

Hocog also pre-filed a resolution requesting Gov. Eloy S. Inos to appoint a special representative for 902 talks to discuss matters that are currently affecting the relationship between the NMI and the U.S. pursuant to Section 902 of the Covenant.

The senator cited specific issues that needed NMI-U.S. discussions, including federalization of labor and immigration, the National Marine Monument, the U.S. Interior report on status of foreign workers in the CNMI, and submerged lands.

Section 902 of the CNMI’s Covenant with the U.S. allows for periodic consultations between the Commonwealth and federal governments “on all matters affecting the relationship between them.”

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