Dear Mr. Dubrall: Thank you so much for your letter to me that appeared in this paper on June 12, 2014. You did an excellent job reminding readers of my consistent position since 1991 of the importance of those of Northern Marianas descent, as defined in Article 12 Section 4 of the CNMI Constitution. Coincidentally, that was the same year that my husband, Francisco Uludong, passed away. I encourage you to continue your research, and include in your work my husband as well. You will learn that, for over 35 years, we have worked in various ways to promote the interests of persons of Northern Marianas descent.
For your information, on Sept. 13, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, noting, among others, its concern “that indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing them from exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests… Recognizing [emphasis added] the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources… Convinced [emphasis added] that control by indigenous peoples over developments affecting them and their lands, territories and resources will enable them to maintain and strengthen their institutions, cultures and traditions, and to promote their development in accordance with their aspirations and needs.”
Mr. Dubrall, my work since the 1st Commonwealth Legislature has been to create a community that recognizes that the needs of the Chamorros and Carolinians come before everyone else’s. The failure of the Philippines, China, and other countries to create a satisfactory standard of living to prevent the exodus of their people to our island shores and elsewhere is secondary to the responsibility of the CNMI to the Chamorros and Carolinians. Please join me in putting the needs of the people of these islands first and foremost, so that all people—indigenous, NMD’s, expatriates, nonresident workers—that call the CNMI home can flourish together harmoniously. I will work until I can no longer, to ensure our islands do not go the way of countless countries around the world whose own indigenous people, as recognized by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, have become marginalized by more powerful, self-centered interests. Thank you for pointing out the consistency of my efforts for over three decades. Please bring your ideas to the table should you wish to assist in this endeavor.
Rep. Felicidad T. Ogumoro
Capital Hill, Saipan