The group included Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Larry Echo Hawk, the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Deputy Attorney General David Ogden, U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman, and FBI Agent Timothy Fuhrman.
They announced that the federal government would not tolerate the raiding and sales of antiquities.
“These archaeological treasures are precious and protecting them preserves a rich history and heritage. That is why the Justice Department will use all of its tools to vigorously enforce the laws designed to safeguard the cultural heritage of Native Americans,” said Deputy Attorney General Ogden.
“Let this case serve notice to anyone who is considering breaking these laws and trampling our nation’s cultural heritage that the BLM, the Department of Justice, and the federal government will track you down and bring you to justice,” said Secretary Salazar.
U.S. Attorney Tolman said, “Those who remove or damage artifacts on public or tribal lands take something from all of us. These treasures are the heritage of all Americans, and in many cases, the objects are sacred to Native Americans.
“The notion that you can take whatever you want from public lands is wrong. Individuals engaged in this kind of conduct will be investigated and prosecuted.”
“The problem American Indian tribes face of looters robbing them of their cultural patrimony is a major law enforcement issue for federal agencies responsible for enforcing historic preservation laws in Indian Country,” said Larry Echo Hawk. “Today’s action should give tribes reassurance that the Obama Administration is serious in preserving and protecting their cultural property.”
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