LETTER TO THE EDITOR

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March 7, 2002

In your article about foreign workers on Saipan, it appears to me that you are saying Chamorros are "foreigners"? If that is so then you have made an error and committed an injustice on a wonderful group of people.

[See: Foreigners Dominate Saipan Work Force] 

I am an American citizen, originally from Florida and now live on Saipan. I guarantee you that every Chamorro here would consider all non-Chamorros to be foreigners. All Chamorros are U.S. citizens.

The name "Saipan" is a Yapese word meaning "the land where no one lives." For centuries, the Carolinian Islanders and the Yapese visited Saipan, when the winds were right, for a holiday. At that time, there were no permanent residents.

During German and then the Japanese occupation, Chamorros from Guam moved here to escape the harsh living imposed upon them on Guam. Then, during the Japanese occupation, the Japanese found that sugar cane grew well on Saipan; thus, they forcibly moved Chamorros from Guam to Saipan to work in the cane fields as slave labor.

Since they were the first to establish a permanent domicile on an island where "no one lived" indicates to me that the Chamorros are accurate: all non-Chamorros are foreigners. I believe you owe the Chamorros of Saipan an apology.

Richard Reddy Email: pacpetro@vzpacifica.net 

[Editor: PIR’s news item did not intend to include Chamorros among residents classified as foreigners, only as one of the three largest ethnic groups. The three, in order, are Filipinos, Chamorros and Chinese.]

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