Native American Groups Protest Naval Base Expansion Near Imperial Beach
Kumeyaay Indian tribe members and supporters staged a protest Wednesday after the United States Navy launched a new phase of work to expand a base along the Strand near Imperial Beach, where they claim an ancient burial site is being disturbed.
The protestors gathered along California State Highway Route 75 across from the Naval Base Coronado Silver Strand Training Complex - South.
"We're not asking them to stop (the expansion). We're not asking them not to do it. All we're asking for is for them to not desecrate our ancestors, which would mean moving the border about four percent," said Cynthia Parada, councilperson for the La Posta Band of Mission Indians.
The Navy has ruled the 7,000-year-old burial ground was heavily disturbed when the Navy built a bunker at the site during World War II.
“There is no disturbed to us. Once our people are in the ground and they are there – That’s where our people were and that is where we should be respecting them," Parada said.
A Naval spokesman said there isn’t enough room to adjust the footprint of the new SEAL base because the site is so compact. The two sides have a meeting scheduled for Friday.