Guam cultural resources receive attention
Guam artifacts will be on display at a proposed historic preservation interpretative exhibit at Naval Computer Telecommunications Station (NCTS), Finegayan, the future location of the Marine Corps Base on Guam.
Cultural resource managers from the Navy, Guam Preservation Trust and the National Park Service have begun initial discussions on the proposed project, which is currently in its conceptual phase.
Officials said the project is consistent with mitigations covered under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. In addition, it is in line with the Navy’s Policy for Cultural Resources.
“This proposal was born out of collaborative efforts between the Navy and our resource partners in an effort to preserve historic artifacts recovered during archaeological surveys on NCTS and to establish an area where the island community may visit to appreciate its significance,” said Shawn Arnold, cultural resources specialist, Joint Region Marianas.
“This area is the future site for the Marine Corps Base main cantonment and portions of the area had been previously cleared for military construction back in the 1950s.” GPT Chief Program Officer Joe Quinata explained the cultural significance of this project to the island community.
“The Guam Preservation Trust together with the support of the Guam Historic Resources Division are optimistic that an interpretative program of recovered artifacts will go a long way towards cultural preservation and a deeper understanding of how our ancestors may have lived,”
Quinata said. “This is a significant step in safeguarding Guam’s culture allowing our island community to bridge the present with its past. This collaboration also aligns with our vision that historic preservation on Guam is our entire community’s responsibility and we look forward to this program to preserve these elements of our heritage for future generations.”
Arnold said the concept calls for the display to be placed near the original site location, also referred to as the Magua area, on the future Marine Corps Base as well as a display at a facility located just outside the security gate of the main base where visitors may have convenient access. He added the facility may include recovered latte stones, lusongs and a hands-on interpretative learning feature for visitors. The team will meet regularly to continue discussions with the objective to establish the interpretative program in time to support the planned new Marine Corps Base.
Meanwhile, Guam officials on Tuesday held a dedication ceremony for the site of the Guam Cultural Repository at the University of Guam.
“This day has been a long time in the making. Securing authorization and $12 million in federal funding for the Guam Cultural Repository took many years of effort, spanning multiple Congresses and two presidential administrations to get where we are today,” Guam delegate Madeleine Bordallo said.
“Our work to secure this site was truly a whole of community effort—a One Guam effort—that will on a world-class cultural repository to house and catalogue our cherished cultural artifacts that are uncovered as the realignment progresses. Guam will benefit long after construction is complete, by having a central collection and preservation staff for other cultural artifacts and Chamorro heritage relics, found throughout the island in the years ahead. I am excited to kick off this project and look forward to continuing to champion the preservation and protection of Chamorro culture and our historical artifacts in Congress.”