Feds sue Guam over Chamorro land restrictions

Activist and Chamorro Nation Maga'lahi Angel L.G. Santos leads a demonstration/

protest,demanding access to traditional Chamorro fishing grounds.Other concerned

citizens and public officials joined in the historic event at Rt. 3A, also known as Potts

Junction. Undated 1990s file photo by Eduardo C Siguenza.

The U.S. Department of Justice on Friday sued the Chamorro Land Trust Commission alleging it violates the Fair Housing Act by implementing land and housing programs that are exclusive to Chamorro natives.

The civil suit is asking the federal court to award monetary damages to all victims of the commission’s “discriminatory practices,” denying lease and applications for related housing benefits to non-Chamorro natives.

In suing the local government, DOJ cited the case of an African-American man, who was evicted from the home he had built on a CLTA plot after the death of his Chamorro wife, who was the party to the lease. The couple had over time built a three-bedroom home while living in a tent on the property.

But during a public hearing on his claim to the land, the administrative director and commissioners “inquired into whether he was ‘a person that’s qualified to apply,’ and specifically, whether he was ‘blood Chamorro’ or an ‘outsider’ who was ‘married to a local girl.”