“They are going back on their promise,” said Cynthia Parada, a councilwoman with the La Posta Band of Mission Indians speaking of the Navy’s new $1 billion project south of Silver Strand State Beach which will house Naval Base Coronado’s new SEAL training center.
The 12 tribes that make up the Kumeyaay Nation want the 60-acre campus and 1.5 million square feet of buildings to be built “a short distance so as not to desecrate what members call a sacred site.”
According to Prada, in 2012 the remains of a young boy estimated to be 7,000 years old were discovered in the area south of Silver Strand State Beach. And it was at that point the Native American groups claim they were told by military officials that the remains and area would "not be disturbed for another 7,000 years."
The new Navy SEAL training center would include “spaces for SEAL Teams, logistical support buildings, training facilities, classrooms and more.”
Failure to come to an agreement between Navy Officials and the Kumeyaay Nation have motivated concerned Native Americans to protest in the street. Gathered in front of the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado dozens of tribe members held signs protesting the build on sacred ground.
Marine veteran Kenny Meza, the Vice-Chairman of the Jamul Indian Village, who served two tour in Vietnam, said, “It’s Kumeyaay land. When you bury a loved one, you take them home and you do not disturb them.”
The Navy insists that it has ensured a 100 foot buffer around “all eligible archaeological sites and environmentally sensitive areas.”
Prada likened the building of the new complex on ancient burial grounds to be the same as someone digging up bodies at the Arlington Cemetery.
“Those people are the reason why we are here,” Parada said. “They gave us our life, they gave us our knowledge, they gave us our spirituality, and they fought for us to be here. We owe everything to them. They are our heroes. “
Both the Navy and the Tribes hope to find an equitable solution to the matter and continue to schedule talks, however, no agreement has been made at this time.
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