Desecration at Bears Ears
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Last week the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition tweeted a disturbing image showing bullet holes in a rock art panel in the Bears Ears region. This kind of vandalism and desecration of sacred sites is hardly unusual in the area—pothunting and other forms of historical destruction have long been a sort of tradition among the white settlers and their descendants, especially in southeastern Utah. Few archaeological sites have not been dug or scraped clean of artifacts, and nearly every accessible rock art site has been graffitied or used for target practice.
It may be possible to attribute those long-ago acts of vandalism to simple ignorance: Maybe those olden time folks didn’t understand what they were doing. They just need to be educated. Maybe. The same cannot be said, however, for more recent perpetrators, which includes whoever shot up the aforementioned panel. This clearly was not someone innocently using a blank piece of rock as a target (that’s not okay, either, by the way) who didn’t see the rock art. This seems to have been done with malicious intent. And, according to the Coalition’s Twitter thread, this sort of vandalism is on the rise in the region.