Environment | Law

Protesters face charges for ride through archaeological site in Utah

Ancestral village on federal land in Recapture Canyon, Utah. Photo from Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

Protesters who participated in an illegal ATV ride through Recapture Canyon in Utah are under federal investigation.

As many as 40 to 50 people on ATVS rode through the canyon, which is home to ancestral Indian villages and other archaeological resources. The Bureau of Land Management was there and recorded incidences of damage in a sensitive area, Reuters reported.

"At the end of the BLM's investigation, all evidence will be referred to the U.S. Attorney's Office for potential civil or criminal action," a spokesperson for the agency told Reuters.

The National Congress of American Indians expressed concern about the protest, which took place on Saturday. The Las Vegas Paiute Tribe and the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians consider the canyon to be sacred.

"Native peoples believe the canyon contains many markers from their ancestors." NCAI said in a statement. "An action like this is no more appropriate than a similar activity at a church or other place of worship."

The protest was supported by followers of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher who has refused to pay federal fees for his use of BLM property. One of his sons took part.

Get the Story:
In the American West, tensions on the trail over federal rule (Al Jazeera 5/15)
How Cliven Bundy and the Land Rights Movement Screws Native Americans (The Daily Beast 5/14)
Feds preparing to charge Bundy ranch supporters over Utah protest (RT 5/14)
Federal probe could leave Utah ATV protest riders facing charges (Reuters 5/13)
Bundy supporters defy feds by riding ATVs in off-limits Utah canyon (RT 5/12)

Related Stories:
Editorial: Shameful protest through archaeological site in Utah (5/9)

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