Terlaje reiterates need for preserving historic sites

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Sen. Therese Terlaje

Guam – Fourteen out of 100 historical sites discovered in the proposed Northwest Field live-fire training range near Ritidian will not be protected. A travesty, according to Senator Therese Terlaje, as she voiced her concerns during a two-day Programmatic Agreement workshop.

Terlaje said, in a release,  “the avoidance of adverse impacts to historic sites is not being fully achieved and instead the “data recovery” which is the removal of a sampling of archaeologically relevant material is often the option being utilized for several important historic sites.”

Terlaje asked Department of Defense officials to “preserve the historic properties as they are, in their place, and together with the landscape, for people to experience in person and for future technology to help decipher the history of the CHamoru people.”

In a release, Terlaje said she is also advocating for the nomination of historic sites adjacent to Ritidian and Finegayan to the National Register of Historic Properties. These sites are located near the proposed live-fire training range area.

Terlaje mentioned the entire archaeological district near Pugua Point, Double Reef, and Finegayan.

She said Guam’s State Historic Preservation Office had recommended this whole area for the historic registry. The request was rejected.

SHPO again asked the area to be reconsidered as a traditional cultural property (TCP) for preservation.

Terlaje said, “These PA (programmatic agreement) meetings remind us that the Navy is not required to avoid historic sites in their construction. The DOD may clear and grade and bulldoze these properties regardless of historical significance when their construction plans require it.”

She continued, “These historic and cultural sites are the last remnants of our story as a Chamorro people and must be preserved within the cultural landscape of our island to provide more depth and a better understanding of our ancestors.”