DOD documents say firing range not good for historical & cultural sites

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“Implementation of alternative 5 (Northwest field firing range) could cause direct adverse effects to 20 known NRHP-eligible archaeological sites.” – Final SEIS Chapter 5 pg. 393

Guam – Prutehi Litekyan or Save Ritidian members say the proposed marine base and firing range will not be good for the preservation of Guam’s cultural and historical sites and they point to documents prepared by the Department of Defense itself as proof.

“Slapping down a range near cultural sites especially sensitive cultural sites and being in an area where it’s got the range of endangered species and threatened species that it does in particular that its anything but good,” said Prutehi Litekyan member Kelly Taitano.

Taitano is responding to statements made by Marine Corps Activity Guam officials that the proposed marine base and firing range are good for the preservation of cultural and historical sites on Guam.

“That statement is a sign of ultimate disrespect to the Chamoru people. I have personal connection with the land that they are gonna put the firing range on. My grandfather lived up there for a time. My mom lived up there and they lived off the land. So, and to put a firing range next to our sacred places and destroying actually they would be destroying on the footprint of the firing range they will be destroying it says this on the document itself that they will destroy many of our cultural sites up on Northwest field and they would also definitely impact our sacred sites at Litekyan and the neighboring villages,” said Prutehi Litekyan member Sabina Flores.

Prutehi Litekyan members are referring to the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement which is a study that was conducted by the Department of Defense.

Chapter 5 pg. 393 of the Final SEIS states:

“Implementation of alternative 5 could cause direct adverse effects to 20 known NRHP-eligible archaeological sites. Potential indirect adverse effects could occur to three NRHP-eligible archaeological sites. Potential impacts could also occur to two NRHP-eligible sites (ghpi numbers 66-08-0012 and 66-08-0013), as a result of reduced access. In addition, culturally important natural resources could be directly impacted due to removal of limestone forest. Under this alternative, there would be more adverse effects from construction at NWF than any of the other LFTRC alternatives.”

“It’s affecting the villages of Urunao. It would be over Litekyan, Pahon and Hinapsan. That’s four ancestral villages which are going to be impacted,” said Taitano.

Chapter 5 pg. 400 of the Final SEIS states:

“Custody and control of 268 acres (108.5 ha) would be reassigned from DOI to DOD, and some areas that are currently accessible to the public would become restricted access areas. New restrictions on public access to the land and submerged lands encumbered by the NWF LFTRC could have long-term indirect adverse sociocultural impacts due to the potential that access restrictions to subsistence fishing and recreation areas would deteriorate social networks.”

“This idea that the military is the best protector of our cultural sites when in fact we know in history they’ve dug up our burials and they have yet to put them in a safe place and they continue to destroy our sites. How can we believe what they say if they’re not living up to their part of the bargain of protecting our burials?” asked Flores.

Prutehi Litekyan members say they hope the Governor of Guam will step in and find a way to stop the construction of a firing range complex at the Northwest field.