The CHamoru Registry was created by Senator Hope A. Cristobal in December 1996, to record “the progress and identity of the CHamoru people.” The law says the registry would be used for historical, ethnological and genealogical purposes, as well as for the future exercise of self-determination by the indigenous people of Guam.

The CHamoru Registry defined CHamoru people as all those born on or residing on Guam on 11 April 1899, including those temporarily absent from the island on that date and who were Spanish subjects [under Spanish control] who after that date continued to reside in Guam or other territory over which the United States exercises sovereignty and have taken no affirmative steps to preserve or acquire foreign nationality.