Print version of this study guide or all six.

1 of 6 Study guides for individuals and/or small groups


Political Science, Civics, Government, World History, Guam History, CHamoru Studies


High School, 9-12


Time required

Research/inquiry 20 – 40 minutes

Reflection 60 – 120 minutes

Materials required

Note: Reflection papers can be emailed to instructor to remain paperless


Research and Reflect on Guam’s Quest for Self-Determination.

Inquiry statement

The United States began its colonial administration of Guam in 1898. Today, more than 120 years later, Guam remains a colony of the US as an unincorporated territory. Because of this colonial status, the island and its people lack full self-government and guaranteed civil rights afforded to other US citizens.

Early Civil Rights and Non-US Citizenship (1898-1944)

When the US began its occupation of Guam at the close of the 19th century, CHamorus were not consulted as to whether they wished for Guam to become an American colony. They had already endured 240 years of Spanish colonialism forced upon them by soldiers and missionaries. From 1898, when Guam was ceded to the US after the Spanish-American War and up to World War II, more than 30 different naval officers were assigned to rule Guam with autocratic authority.

Japan’s occupation of Guam during World War II from 1941 to 1944 interrupted US authority on the island, but after the war, Guam returned to its previous role as a US military outpost—and the military governors returned.

I. Documentary

Independent or group viewing of Lazaro Quinata’s documentary on Guam’s Quest for Self-determination on (run time: 8:00 minutes).

II. Entries

Read aloud designated entries on

III. Reflection Questions

Students assigned to write a 2-3 page paper based on the reflection questions posed. Encourage students to think critically, to hasso, and use their imaginations and share their voices. Questions can be specific to the particular exercise or general to the project.

Suggested reflection
  • Do you think these efforts made by the people of Guam during the early Naval Era were important? Why or why not?
  • Is this effort important today? Why or why not?
  • What should be our next step to move forward?

Guampedia study guides in this series

  1. Early Civil Rights and Non-US Citizenship (1898-1944)
  2. Post War Reconstruction and Guam Congress Walkout
  3. Organic Act of Guam (1950)
  4. Guamanian Era (1960s – 1970s)
  5. Contemporary Era (1980s – Present)
  6. CHamoru Efforts