REPATRIATION OF CHAMORRO REMAINS IS UP TO GUAM

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By Benhur C. Saladores

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands (March 27, 2000 – Saipan Tribune)---The CNMI may not be able to accept ancestral Chamorro remains for repatriation from a Hawaiian museum as Guam has already set out a policy for their re-burial, according to Gov. Pedro P. Tenorio.

Responding to a request by Norbert Perez of the "Bring Our Ancestors Home Foundation" based in Honolulu, he urged him instead to discuss the matter with the government of Guam.

The local chief executive said former Guam Gov. Joseph Ada signed an executive order designating GovGuam's Department of Parks and Recreation as the responsible agency for determining a re-burial location.

"I suggest that you raise this matter with the director so that final disposition of the remains can be completed in accordance with established Government of Guam policy," said Mr. Tenorio.

Mr. Perez earlier had written to the CNMI governor seeking his approval to have the remains currently being stored at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu returned to the Northern Marianas.

He said the effort to repatriate the remains has been hampered as Guam has chosen to make a political issue out of it, adding that the foundation has agreed to lobby the Hawaiian government to have them interred here.

"I share your desire to have those remains returned for appropriate final disposition. However, I understand that these remains were originally removed from Guam and that the policy for their disposition is set forth [in the executive order]," said Mr. Tenorio.

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

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