Thursday, July 7, 2011


In 1891, the office of Gobernadorcillo, or village leader, of Inarajan was up for election.  Not everyone voted; not even every male.  The voters, or electors, were about a dozen men, made up of current and former office holders in the village.  They were called the principales or principalía, in Spanish.

The electors in that year for Inarajan were : Juan Galvez Naputi, Julian Maria Naputi, Geronimo Naputi San Nicolas, Jose Meno San Nicolas, Mariano Baza Paulino, Mariano Charguane Cheguiña, Fernando Guinto Guevara, Jose Mellado Diego, Pedro Borja Delgado, Juan Meno Afaisen, Joaquin Naputi Meno and Joaquin Tedpahogo San Nicolas.  Twelve in all.

Three names were submitted for the office of Gobernadorcillo : Joaquin Naputi Meno, Geronimo Naputi San Nicolas and Jose Evaristo Dueñas, the last one being the only one of the three who was not also an elector.  Dueñas, however, was the current holder of the position of Gobernadorcillo.

The votes were cast : Joaquin Naputi Meno received 6 votes; Geronimo Naputi San Nicolas received 5.  Those were the only votes recorded.  We do not know if this meant that Dueñas received one (to make 12 ballots) or none at all (blank ballot).

There was no separation of church and state and the parish priest, Påle' José Lambán, played a part in the process.  He could write his opinion on the three candidates and endorse one of them or someone else.  Lambán did not support any of the three.  He was very candid about one of the candidates, who was, in Lambán's opinion, unfit for office.  He endorsed someone not even on the list; a Vicente Mendiola Dueñas, who, oddly enough, was the son of one of the three candidates - Jose Evaristo Dueñas.

All of this was consultative, even the votes by the principalía.  Manila had the last word and it appointed Jose Evaristo Dueñas to serve another term as Gobernadorcillo of Inarajan from 1891 till 1893.  The votation, therefore, was almost meaningless.

In many of the critiques written by the parish priests on the candidates, it often appears that the candidates did not speak or write Spanish very well.  Spanish was never the main language spoken by the Chamorros.  Many knew some; far more knew almost none.  The few who spoke and wrote it well had a certain advantage over the others.  This was not much of advantage, however, for there were few opportunities for material advancement through government work anyway.  Most everyone was content with farming and fishing.  You didn't need Spanish for that.

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