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Resolution 191 

Relative to urging Congressional Delegate Madeline Z. Bordallo  (D-Guam) to request from the United States Congress full acknowledgment of the Chamorro people of Guam as Native Americans and full inclusion under 25 U.S.C. Chapter 1, 5 83.3 Registration Requirements of Indian Tribes-Definitions.   


Government of Guam v United States of America 

 
RELATED LINKS: 

United States Insular Areas

Charter of the United Nations 

CLICK TO VIEW THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS-1945 

 
RELATED LINKS:
 
Resolutions Adopted on the Report of the Fourth Committee: 
United Nations 459th Plenary Meeting 27 November 1953

 Treaty of Paris 1898 

 Helsinki Accord 1975 Final Act

Island Law Website


Historical Documents (Organic Act) 

LAWS OF THE 81st CONGRESS-2nd SESSION 

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ORGANIC ACT OF GUAM  

HEARING BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS  

PROVIDING A CIVIL GOVERNMENT FOR GUAM AND OTHER PURPOSES 

REPORT FROM COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS: MR. O'MAHONEY


THE ROAD TO RIGHTS

Freedom of expression is undeniably guaranteed both as a First Amendment issue and under specific federal statutes, regulations and executive orders. Many Americans don’t realize this was not always the case. Until 1978, American Indians on reservations had no religious rights and were specifically barred from practicing traditional ceremonies. These efforts were driven by fear of uprisings by Native populations, most notably epitomized by the massacre at Wounded Knee, Dec. 29, 1890, when Lakota men, women and children were gunned down while gathering for a Ghost Dance, a spiritual practice.
 
Historically, the federal government sought to eradicate all forms of traditional spiritual practice and belief on reservations through use of boarding schools (separating children from parents), prohibiting use of Native languages, and making gatherings for ceremonial purposes illegal.  The expressed intent was to “civilize” Native peoples; a policy begun under treaties well before The Trail of Tears forced removal marches in the 1830s with Cherokee and other Eastern tribes. The result was a sustained federal policy of social and cultural annihilation.
 
The justification for this denial of religious freedom, inexplicably enough, was that Native peoples were sovereign nations by treaty and not granted the freedoms that American “citizens” claimed as fundamental rights.  Under “sovereignty,” the U.S. government occupied the reservations, kept control of the populations through military might, imposed arbitrary civil orders and prevented them from exercising freedoms guaranteed Americans under the U.S. Constitution, including the First Amendment freedom of religion that is bedrock to the Bill of Rights.
 
This changed in 1978 with The American Indian Religious Freedom Act, and subsequent amendment.
 
It states, that, by act of Congress, Aug. 11, 1978 (U.S. Code, Title 42, Chapter 21, Subchapter I, 1996) it is “the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise {their} traditional religions . . . . including but not limited to . . . . use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.” 
 
Flowing from the right to worship freely is the recognition that sacred sites, lands taken and/or controlled by the federal government that are traditionally held holy by Native Americans, should not be barred from access.  This also includes objects, artifacts and human remains.
 
From this consideration, more legislation was passed, including:
 
-- Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act -- 104 STAT. 3048 Public Law 101-601 -- NOV. 16, 1990
-- Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 -- Public Law 96-95; 16 U.S.C. 470aa-mm
-- Various executive orders, including Executive Order 13007, May 24, 1996, designating “Sacred Sites.”

Law Research & Registry by: Dan Meader