fbpx
 

On January 19, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reported that graffiti was discovered on property that it manages just west of Santa Fe along the Santa Fe River, the La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that some of the petroglyphs were defaced with a pentagram, a swastika and several racial slurs. According to the BLM, it was the third time the site had been vandalized in less than a year and the most damaging of the three incidents.

“This area is very sacred to the Pueblo people. We have direct ancestral ties to it, and our oral traditions, prayers, and stories are linked to these places,” said Santa Clara Pueblo’s Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Ben Chavarria to Outside magazine. “We go visit them on pilgrimages, for ceremonial reasons, and to teach future generations about our ancestors, traditions, and culture.”

Most of petroglyphs date between the 13th and 17th centuries, and some are dated older than 8,000 years old, including the iconic hump-backed flute player, Kokopelli

Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

Under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, it is a felony to desecrate or deface cultural sites and punishable by up to two years in prison and a $20,000 fine, or both. The Bureau of Land Management has been investigating the incident directly with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, but with little success. 

On Monday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that the agency is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading directly to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the vandalism committed at the La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

PetroglyphsSome of the vandalism. (Photo Courtesy of the FBI)

Earlier this year, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance announced that the organization is offering a $5,000 reward leading to the arrest of the individual(s) responsible for the desecration of the La Cieneguilla Petroglyph Site near Santa Fe, New Mexico. 

“Visitors from around the world come to New Mexico to admire wonderful Native American cultural resources like the La Cieneguilla Petroglyphs," said Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda of the Albuquerque FBI Division in a statement on Monday. "It's hard to believe someone would try to ruin these priceless works of art and show such disrespect for this area’s unique heritage. The FBI is asking anyone with information about this vandalism to come forward so we can ensure this crime doesn't go unpunished.”

Anyone with information about this vandalism is asked to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or online at tips.fbi.gov.

More Stories Like This

Native News Weekly (September 25, 2022): D.C. Briefs
Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola Hits the Ground Running: Her First Bill Introduced Clears Committee Two Days Later
EXCLUSIVE: Deb Haaland Q&A on Road to Healing Tour Progress
September 20 is National Voter Registration Day: Native Organizations Team Up to Increase Native Youth Voter Engagement
Tribal Business News Round-Up: Sept. 19

Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news? 

For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Author: Darren ThompsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Darren Thompson (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) is a staff reporter for Native News Online who is based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Thompson has reported on political unrest, tribal sovereignty, and Indigenous issues for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Indian Country Today, Native News Online, Powwows.com and Unicorn Riot. He has contributed to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Voice of America on various Indigenous issues in international conversation. He has a bachelor’s degree in Criminology & Law Studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.