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


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


High School, College


Research/Inquiry 20 – 40 Minutes

Reflection 60 – 120 Minutes

Materials Required

Access to Guampedia.com and a computer

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

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.

Guamanian Era (1960s-1970s)

For many CHamorus, the 1950 passage of the Organic Act seemed a welcome reward after a long drive for self-government and US citizenship. But doubts about the rights and powers afforded by the Organic Act arose very soon after its passage. Although the island received civil government, some Guam leaders argue that the island continues to lack self-government due to the complete oversight powers that the US Congress maintains over Guam. The US citizenship granted by the Organic Act has also been questioned, as residents of Guam cannot vote in US national elections as other citizens do, and the US Constitution that defines and guarantees civil rights does not necessarily apply to Guam.

I. Documentary

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

II. Entries

Read aloud designated entries on guampedia.com

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

  • After the Guam Organic Act was put into effect in 1950, Guam’s leaders were still dissatisfied with the working relationship Guam had with the federal government.
  • What were some of the dissatisfaction and how did they attempt to address them?
    • What worked?
    • What still needs to be fixed?

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