Senator launches inquiry on human remains found at Camp Blaz

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Senator Telena Nelson (PNC file photo)

In light of what she says is the lack of information and transparency surrounding the discovery of additional human remains at the construction site of Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz in Dededo, the oversight chair of Guåhan Preservation is seeking clarification from the Guam State Historic Preservation Office.

Senator Telena Cruz Nelson sent a Sunshine Reform Act request to the Acting State Historic Preservation Officer on March 24, 2021, requesting the following:

· Any and all information, including preliminary or final reports, issued by the Guam Historic Resources Division, also known as the Guam State Historic Preservation Office, relative to the findings of human remains at or near the construction site of Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz in Years 2020 and 2021

· Any and all information, including preliminary or final reports, issued by the Guam Historic Resources Division, also known as the Guam State Historic Preservation Office, relative to the actions and or directives that instructed and or guided the discovery and subsequent removal of human remains at or near the construction site of Marine Corps Base Camp Blaz in Years 2020 and 2021

Additional discoveries

“It has come to our community’s attention that in recent months, there have been additional discoveries of human remains at the future Marine Corps Base, but there has been very little information disclosed about these discoveries, including the condition in which they were found and what action was taken with them,” said Senator Nelson. “It is important to remember that this construction site is not only the site of the future Marine Corps Base, it is a living museum containing significant CHamoru artifacts, remnants of the ancient village of Måguak (Magua’), and the remains of our ancestors who lived and were laid to eternal rest there.”

Information on the latest findings have not been shared with the legislative oversight committee on Guåhan Preservation, which is chaired by Sen. Nelson, and public information has been only sparingly shared in recent media reports. In responding to community concerns over a reported “12 burials across four gravesites” – eight more than reported in 2020 – Sen. Nelson intends to confirm details.

“It is questionable that the SHPO defends this nondisclosure of information under the National Historic Preservation Act, which ‘protects information about the location, character or ownership of historic properties from public disclosure when disclosure could result in a significant invasion of privacy, damage to the historic property or impede the use of a traditional religious site by practitioners,’” Nelson said. “However, the reality is that Måguak (Magua’) is located within a secure base with restricted access, and our people have historically fought to protect the land it sits on.”

“As more remains of our ancestors have been uncovered after centuries of undisturbed peace, it is only proper for our people to engage our spirit of inafa’maolek and extend our cultural practice of showing respect,” Nelson said.

(Senator Telena Nelson Release)

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