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5 December 2012
Native American heritage vandalised

There is a remote Native American tribal homeland in California (USA) which is known as Volcanic Tableland. The area is rich in lava boulders which have been carved with spiritual symbols for over 3,500 years. But recently these ancient petroglyphs have been desecrated and vandalised. This was not some random act of vandalism but was a deliberate act of sabotage. Some of the petroglyphs had been hacked and sawn with deep cuts and some had even been bodily removed. This would have required not only ladders but also heavy power tools and generators.
     The U.S. Bureau of land Management has offered rewards for information leading to their return but they are not hopeful, despite the harsh penalties if caught, including heavy fines and up to five years imprisonment.
     The Paiute-Shoshone tribe, to whom these petroglyphs belong, are devastated by this loss and Bureau of Land Management field office manager, Bernadette Lovato, is quoted as saying "Their culture and spiritual beliefs have been horribly violated. We will do everything in our power to bring those pieces back". The tribal historic preservation officer, Raymond Andrews, added "We still use this sacred place  as a kind of church, to educate tribal members and children about our historical and spiritual connections, so our tribal elders are appalled by what happened here".

Edited from The Los Angeles Times (18 November 2012)

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