Correcting the record on Guam's self-determination plebiscite and independence as a status option

by Independent Guåhan
Stripes Guam

Correcting the Record on Guam's Self-Determination Plebiscite and Independence as a Status Option

Independent Guåhan is a group tasked with educating the island community about the need for Guam’s decolonization and the possibilities should our next political status be independence. This election we have seen more and more candidates talking about the need for decolonization, which is a positive sign of our community’s growth and increasing understanding about our place (or lack therefore) in the world. At the same time however, we have also seen the spreading of damaging misinformation meant to close the minds of people on Guam away from these important discussions. With the hope of clearing the record and ensuring reasoned and productive discussion, our group offers these points.

The holding of a plebiscite in which only a certain population is allowed to vote is not racist and is a normal activity in the decolonization of colonies. Political plebiscites for colonized and historically disenfranchised populations are standard in terms of global human rights conventions. A self-determination plebiscite Is not like a vote for senator or governor. It is a unique vote held in order to right a historical wrong. In the case of Guam’s self-determination vote it is a symbolic process meant to give voice to those who for centuries were silenced by multiple colonizers. A self-determination pleiscite is not the end of the decolonization conversation, but an important first step.

Should Independence be the next step in Guam’s political evolution, it is something that everyone on Guam can work towards and share. An independent Guåhan can help ensure that the Chamoru people remain respected and protected as the indigenous people of this island, but it will also be the chance for everyone to truly make it the island we deserve. The conversation around independence is not one of exclusion, but inclusion. It is a chance for everyone who loves Guam to pool their thoughts and skills in designing a government, an economy, an educational system and more that suits our unique place in the world.

Independent Guåhan wishes to express our respect and appreciation to those political candidates who have expressed their support and interest in a future political status option that will allow Guam to break away from the limiting chains of the past and present and gain a greater ability to determine its destiny. We commend them for their commitment to human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples.

For more information, please contact Dr. Michael Lujan Bevacqua at (671) 988-7106, email, or visit

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