Radio Actuality

Secretary Salazar Comments on Looting of American Indian Sites


Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar comments on yesterday’s federal indictments of thieves looting American Indian grave sites. The arrest of 23 suspects culminated a two FBI investigation turning up more than 250 artifacts valued at more than $335,000.

Topic / Summary / Transcript
Topic: Secretary Salazar says we will not tolerate this kind of crime and that sacred burial sites and archeological resources will be protected.
“This law enforcement action, which we announced in Salt Lake City, Utah involved four states; Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. What had happened is that over a period of time numerous individuals had been despoiling burial sites for Native Americans as well as stealing other artifacts off of our public lands. We will not tolerate that in the future and we will make sure that the laws of the country are enforced so that we’re protecting these sacred burial sites and at the same time we’re also protecting the archeological resources of our public lands.”

Topic: Secretary Salazar said the items were priceless in terms of the legacy and culture of Native Americans and the United States.
“It pains me to think the ancestors of our first Americans, who have been buried in these public lands in some cases for more than 10,000 years, are having their graves destroyed and robbed in order to provide a trade with respect to the sale these items. There is a priceless value to these items in terms of the legacy and the culture of Native Americans, but also the United States of America. So it troubles me very much and we as a country will take every step that we can that we enforce the laws of our country.”

Topic: Secretary Salazar said the bust opens a new chapter in enforcement of the archeological resource protection.
“The time for the United States government simply looking the other way and allowing this conduct to occur is over. This is a new chapter in terms of what we will do to protect these very important national assets and cultural resources that are priceless in nature.”