25 Oct 2005

CNMI senator wants to set up fund for indigenous

4:12 pm on 25 October 2005

A Senator in the Northern Marianas Legislature says he wants indigenous people in the Commonwealth to benefit from a proposed list of those with CNMI descent.

Luis Crisostimo wants the Register of the Marianas Public Land Authority to be made into the first official list of people with at least 25 percent Chamorro or Carolinian blood.

Mr Crisostimo says that way only indigenous people would be able to buy land and benefit from the CNMI's natural resources.

The Senator is also proposing that interest gained on the government's trust fund be distributed to people on the list.

He says this it is time the people of the land were recognised.

"There's money for these people to receive in terms of yearly funds. It would be a similar royalty to like the state of Alaska and the Indian reservations, the Indian tribes, very similar to that. It's something that I feel, you know, I owe it to my people."

Mr Crisostimo says in the future he may look at decreasing the necessary blood links to less than 10 percent.