Sen.Therese Terlaje is calling for all clearing of historic sites on Guam by the U.S. Department of Defense to stop immediately.
"This must stop now. The clearing of latte and lusong from Magua and the disturbance of the adjacent burial grounds is a serious mistake and a grave injustice to Chamorro heritage and future generations," stated Terlaje in a press release issued Wednesday.
Terlaje was informed during a July 13 informational briefing on Magua by the state historic preservation officer that a latte-period human burial site had been found and a survey of the adjacent area was underway in order to determine the full scope of the burial grounds, according to the release.
"I was informed recently that three additional burials were found. These multiple discoveries of burials follow the past refusal by U.S. Department of Defense to preserve Magua in place, and DOD's deliberate removal of latte-period latte, lusong, earth ovens, tools, pottery and other artifacts from the area," the release stated.
According to the release, prior to being cleared Magua was listed as a site eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
"The unilateral decision by DOD to clear latte and other rare village artifacts that survived thousands of years in known historic sites eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, to unilaterally deem them culturally insignificant or not worthy of avoidance, is contrary to international standards of protection of indigenous cultures, and reminds us of the generations of harm that continues to be perpetuated by the land takings. The DOD has not sufficiently altered its destructive plans for Magua, Litekyan or Haputo despite our input in the 'consultation' process under NEPA and NHPA," stated Terlaje.
Terlaje: Halt work until agreement is reached
Sen. Terlaje called upon the leadership at Adelup and in Washington, D.C., to support her demand for a halt of all clearings.
"I call on our governor, congressman, government agencies and all leaders to halt all further clearing by DOD in the Magua, Haputo, Litekyan and Fena sites until the U.S. agrees to preservation in place of ancient villages and cultural sites on military controlled property on Guam, and agrees to grant open access to these sites to Guam's children," stated the senator.