Topic ID #25160 - posted 11/30/2012 10:10 PM

Desecration: Unearthed Native Burial Site Causes Uproar


Desecration: Unearthed Native Burial Site Causes Uproar

One colossal misstep after another by government agencies transformed what was planned to be a two-acre family fishing pond in a tiny Apache County town into a swath of sprawling desecration.

It started with Arizona Game and Fish officials relying on an archaeologist who was not officially certified to survey the land for potential historic properties and offer advice during construction. They allowed unsupervised high school students to operate heavy earth-moving machinery over more than nine acres — just yards away from sacred Amity Pueblo. Even when workers saw bones and artifacts erupting from the ground, state officials tell New Times, the archaeologist gave them the okay to keep going.

Construction started on April 27, 2011, and wasn't halted until May 6. During that time, human remains and artifacts were dispersed over nine acres of land.

"We should have known better, but we didn't," admits Arizona Game and Fish Deputy Director Gary Hovatter.

Post ID#19887 - replied 12/1/2012 1:11 AM

Jennifer Palmer

So many failures on so many levels... Unbelievable.

Post ID#19888 - replied 12/2/2012 7:16 AM


Exactly, unbelievable. A monumental cluster, if this doesn't lead to a complete review of the entire process in AZ the resource protection laws there aren't worth a nickel...if collectors had done this the professionals there would have been screaming bloody murder, with good reason. I wonder if "we should have known better, but didn't" would be a valid defense in that case.

Post ID#19890 - replied 12/3/2012 5:41 AM


There are people in the federal government who think the laws only apply to the public, and then, only when the government "officials" choose. They try to cut corners and play fast and loose with interpretations of what the laws say. Fortunately, there are not that many of them. Unfortunately, most of them are in management. In New Mexico, the tribes sued over failure of the feds to consult with them as required by Section 106, and won. I hope they do it in AZ, too. Like it or not, they are sovereign nations and must be treated as such. This debacle is not just despicable, it is a major insult to the tribes and their rights and beliefs. I also hope that a whole bunch of people are fired. The incompetence and corruption exhibited must not be brushed aside as acceptable. By the way, I am a government archaeologist.

Post ID#19892 - replied 12/3/2012 4:48 PM


Well said, I agree.


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