Leadership at Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz joined Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero and the Guam State Historic Preservation Office in participating in a cultural ritual at the Sabånan Fadang burial site Tuesday.

The burial site includes seven grave pits comprised of multiple individuals, with the final count pending analysis. 

"The ritual is the first of its kind as the ceremonies are typically held later, as required under Guam law, when monuments are erected for reburial ceremonies. Four grave pits were originally found in 2020, with an additional three grave pits found between Oct. 29 and Nov. 2 during monument construction," a release from Camp Blaz stated.

The ceremony was proposed by Patrick Lujan, the Guam SHPO, at the governor's request. Lujan said it was important that the remains found at the new military installation be properly honored.

The ritual began with a traditional CHamoru chant and was fallowed by a symbolic procession around the burial grounds, which were adorned with limestone rock borders and arrangements of medicinal native ferns that would have been used in the late Latte period. 

Lujan said as part of the ceremony, the island's elected officials each poured a handful of dirt on each grave. 

Lujan called the event "truly special" for the CHamoru people "since it's the first time we will be able to cover up our ancestors with our native hands and our native soil." 

"Never before has this ritual been done. We have disturbed their resting place that has been there for a thousand years and we hope this solemn ritual will be the final time our ancestors of Sabånan Fadang will be interrupted from their resting place," he added. 

Officials were followed by MCB Camp Blaz cultural resources staff member who ensured complete coverage, the release stated.

Lujan and Gov. Leon Guerrero thanked the Marine Corps for allowing the ceremony and the monument. 

"Our administration is encouraged that our military partners recognize the necessity of paying our respects to our ancestors and the land they cared for and cultivated, and where they were eventually laid to rest," Leon Guerrero said. "Symbolic acts such as this represent a sacred and traditional obligation of the CHamoru people and we stand committed to ensuring that our people have the opportunity to honor our heritage and our ancestors wherever possible."

In addition to the monument, Camp Blaz will build a reinterment crypt for the reburial of any potential fragmentary remains discovered during future development, and a marker will be installed at the Mågua’ settlement site about half a mile away from the monument.

Also at the event were Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio, Speaker Sen. Therese M. Terlaje, the Guam Indigenous Heritage Alliance, the Guam Preservation Trust, Para i Probechuin i Taotao-ta, the Guam Ancestral Lands Commission, Guam Museum curator Miget Lujan-Bevacqua, and military leaders and select archaeologists and historians, the release stated.

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