BOULEVARD, Calif. (Border Report) — More than 200 people showed up to gain access to a construction site along the border about 70 miles east of San Diego.
Initially, they were turned away by Border Patrol agents and personnel from the Army Corps of Engineers. But it wasn’t long before members of the Kumeyaay Nation and supporters were allowed in.
The Kumeyaay are native to what is now San Diego County and Northern Baja California, Mexico.
They claim an ancestral burial site sits under an area now scheduled for controlled blasts, which are expected to clear a path for the new border barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. Members of the tribe fear the explosions will disturb the burial grounds and other cultural materials.
“The people here are asking for a little compassion, kindness as to what’s going to happen to my great, great, great, great grandfather’s bones or all the sacred stuff that’s out there,” said Robert Wallace, a member of the Kumeyaay Nation.
The Border Patrol has said it has surveyed the land and determined it’s not an ancient sacred location.
“Based on prior environmental surveys and stakeholder coordination completed, no biological, cultural, or historical sites were identified within the blasting area located within the Roosevelt Reservation. In addition, CBP has and will continue to coordinate with federal land managers, state agencies, local governments, tribal governments, and other interested stakeholders.
“CBP has a cultural monitor present at the construction site to ensure that if any previously unidentified culturally sensitive artifacts are observed within the project area that construction is halted and the appropriate stakeholders are notified to include tribal nations. In addition, the environmental monitor is present to ensure construction best management practices are being implemented by the construction contractor.”
For the second time this week, the explosives work was postponed.