Monday, August 18, 2014


Territorial Party Candidates in Saipan

"Popular" and "Territorial" were political labels, not only on Guam, but also in Saipan, once upon a time.

On Guam, the Popular Party morphed into the Democratic Party in 1960, while the Territorials struggled on a few more years, disappearing by 1968 when most (not all) of its members became Republicans.

In Saipan, the differences between the Populars and the Territorials also centered on whether to reunify with Guam or to seek its own political arrangement directly with the U.S.

Many of Saipan's business leaders opposed reunification and thus were Territorials. Saipan's Carolinian community felt they would be more of a minority among even more Chamorros if Saipan merged politically with Guam and they, too, supported the Territorials. Rota and Tinian, already overshadowed by Saipan, feared being minimized even further by uniting with Guam and thus the majority there also supported the Territorials.

Here's what Tan Esco had to say about it :

~ Gi un tiempo eståba dos na pattida giya Saipan, i Territorial yan i Popular. Håfa na diferensia?
~ At one time there were two parties on Saipan, the Territorial and the Popular. What was the difference?

~ Ilek-ñiha na i Popular mamopble ha' na inetnon yan i Territorial i inetnon i man riko.
~ They said that the Popular were only the poor group and the Territorial was the group of the rich.

~ Ennaogue' siha. Pues hame man Popular ham.
~ That was it. Well we were Popular.

~ Ya muna' diferensiao lokkue' todo i dos i uno ya-ña eyi i reunification.
~ And what also made both of them different was that one wanted reunification.

~ Hami ni Popular.
~ We the Populars.

~ Yan-miyo.
~ You wanted it.

~ Lao i Territorial åhe' sa' para u direct. Eyi ilek-ña na para u direct U.S.
~ But the Territorials didn't because they wanted it direct. What they called direct U.S.

~ Ennaogue' siha fina' cho'cho'-ñiha.
~ That's what they were doing.

So Tan Esco, though a business woman herself, supported reunification with Guam and was a Popular Party member. The Populars felt that merging with Guam offered the best political and economic advantages for the northern Marianas; in general, towards becoming part of the American family.

The Populars really had the advantage for many years, obtaining majorities in Saipan's political bodies. Twice the people of Saipan voted for reunification (in 1957 and 1963). But, on Guam, in 1969, reunification was voted down. But the voter turn-out was low (32%).

Imagine if reunification had been achieved in the early 1970s.

Learn more about the issue in :

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