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HPO: 700 ancestral remains to be reburied in Garapan

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(HPO) — The CNMI Historic Preservation Office will hold a reinterment ceremony for over 700 ancestral remains in the village of Anaguan on Saipan.

These remains were found at the construction site of the Imperial Pacific Palace Resort and Casino in Garapan.

The reburial will commence with a formal departure of the remains from the CNMI State Historic Preservation Office at 8:30 a.m. this Friday, and they will be respectfully laid to rest on the grounds of the Imperial Pacific Palace Resort and Casino.

After fervent research, HPO has discovered a burial template for the reinterment of ancestral remains, based on written records of observations made by Spanish priests in the olden days during a traditional burial ritual.

The remains have been prepared, placed into cloth bags, then placed into woven baskets. They will then be carried onto the shoulders of pallbearers with police escort before being laid to rest.

As is tradition, conch shells will be blown to send a signal to the island that an important event is taking place, as well as to bid the remains farewell. Traditional chants will be recited.

HPO is no longer treating remains as archaeological findings to be placed in boxes and crypts. HPO is now observing appropriate cultural burial rituals to return the ancestral remains to where they were found.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the reinterment ceremony.

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