NewsLocal News

Actions

Ancient Native American rock art vandalized in Utah County

poster (10).jpg
Posted at 6:58 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 23:04:33-04

WEST MOUNTAIN, Utah —Outrage grows in Utah County over the vandalism of ancient Native American rock art.

A member of the Navaho tribe, Eileen Quintana visits West Mountain with her family to pray and give offerings to indigenous ancestors.

"If you think about it, the voices are speaking to us 10,000 years back,” Quintana said.

Ancient indigenous rock art is carved into dozens of boulders on the mountain on the east side of Utah Lake.

“This place holds a lot of history,” Quintana said.

Many rock art pieces being damaged by recreational target shooters on federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

Other rock art was spray-painted over with swastikas and other damaging graffiti.

“To tell you the truth, it does really hurt,” Quintana said.

Desperate, Eileen reached out to state archeologists in April.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking,” said Elizabeth Hora, Utah State Historic Preservation Office public archaeologist.

The rock art shows how groups of people were organized, what they wore and what they ate, said Hora.

“We can see throughout time, people loved hunting big horned sheep. We see a lot of big-horned sheep on those rocks,” Hora added.

Hora believes most of the damage is unintentional. She thinks the recreational shooters don’t know the art is there, despite several warning signs which have been shot out.

Quintana said she’s also disturbed by the trash and illegal fires left behind, despite vandalism being a class A misdemeanor.

She hopes something can be done to preserve the sacred indigenous art.

“We should stop the shooting because this is very important to Utah,” Quintana said.

BLM Public Affairs Specialist Rachel Wootton tells FOX13 the bureau is reviewing the archaeological vandalism and recreational target shooting in the area.

Vandalism on public lands is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable with a fine and jail time.