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Garapan ancestral remains to be reburied at IPI on Aug. 21

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THE ancestral remains found at the construction site of Imperial Pacific International casino hotel resort in Garapan will be reburied in the area on Aug. 21, Variety learned.

The reinterment will begin with a funeral procession at 8:30 a.m. from the Historic Preservation Office bunker near the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport and proceed to the main entrance of IPI casino. The  first “kulu” or conch will be blown as soon as the lead vehicle enters the property line and other “kulus” will be blown until the ceremony is completed. There will be eight “kulus.”

Traditional chants will be recited at the main entrance as soon as the vehicles arrive, and will continue throughout the ceremony.

The remains will be unloaded from the vehicle one set at a time by pall bearers, and will be carried through the main entrance of the casino  and toward a ramp that leads to the grave site, which will be sealed with a concrete lid.

Matua Council for Chamorro Advancement president Liana Hofschneider said although she advocates for the reburial of ancestral remains as soon as possible, there is a process that should be followed.

She noted that an archaeological data recovery report is still in draft form. “But what do we know about it? … Did we bring it out to the people?  Is it a proper reburial if the structure looks like a septic tank?” Hofschneider asked.

“Who came up with that structure? Did they ask our people? Is it really up to the [Historic Preservation Office] director and the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs secretary to decide on that?”

Hofschneider said the Chamorro ancestors’ descendants were not even consulted.

“We are the cultural descendants, but we were not given the opportunity to see the [archaeological data recovery report],” she said, adding that the Matua group opposes the reburial because the diggings violated both federal and local laws.

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