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Theft of artifacts feared as water levels drop

Tribal and federal officials are worried about the theft of artifacts along the Missouri River now that water levels are dropping, exposing burial sites and villages.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for monitoring areas on Lake Oahe. But with few officers for a large land base, tribal sites are at high risk to looting.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe try to monitor the area but they also lack adequate resources. Tim Mentz, the historic preservation officer at Standing Rock, said more than 20 tribal villages that were once under water are vulnerable to thefts.

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Artifact looting on the rise as Lake Oahe level falls (AP 4/18)