Guam – Antonio Artero Sablan, the maga’lahen I Nasion CHamoru of Guam, wants to be dismissed from federal jury duty, saying he refuses to acknowledge a system that he said upheld land-grabbing by the U.S. government.
In a letter he sent to Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood last week Friday, listed a 10-point argument, starting with, “I do not wish to participate in the very system that ruled in favor of the confiscation or stealing of the lands of the CHamoru colonized people.”
The leader of I Nasion CHamoru of Guam also cited grievances, such as the U.S. government’s imposition of the Organic Act on Guam, which he said stripped him of his “moral pride” and “dehumanized” him through what he called “the unjust laws of this supreme colonial government the United States of America now ruling its colonial territory of Guam.”
“The reason why I objected to and resisted to serve as a juror because this is the very court, the U.S. District Court that took our land, demoralized our people, that pretty much took our resources, such as our land and air and sea,” Sablan said.
Sablan’s family was among the local clans, whose ancestral lands were acquired by the U.S. government after the war.
“What are you going to say? We have no rights? No say-so whatsoever? It’s totally unfair and it’s purely. It’s pure colonialism,” Sablan said in our interview.
Sablan was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War while attending a university in California.
“That’s true and all due respect to the thousands of young men, and older men now, who serves in the military honorably, what’s lacking here is a voice in the entire system that governs us,” he said.
But the maga’lahen said he does not feel he is a full-fledged citizen of the United States. “That is correct. I never asked to be an American citizen. My parents never voted to be an American citizen and we were just handed down for the convenience of the United States,” he said.
Sablan cited also in his request for dismissal the thousands of acres of land that was seized by the military for the establishment of various bases of operations. “Many other islands in the South-Pacific have endured the atrocities of the war and they were not taken. We have been taken for the very reason because we are strategically important to the United States,” he said.
Guam, which takes pride in its patriotism, has the nation’s highest enlistment rate per capita.
Sablan, however, said Guam needs to reassess its values.
“If you welcome the relationship with the United States, learn more as to what is our value, learn more as to what is our right,” he said. “Make your decision, make your judgment. Do we just give it away for free?”
He also noted that being a military post makes Guam a magnet for attack. “We are constantly being threatened by nuclear warhead on us and we are not getting any compensation or rent for the value of our resources,” Sablan said.
Sablan was instructed by the court to follow up on March 15 to find out whether or not his request for dismissal has been approved.