Sacred American Indian Site Harmed With Feds' OK
Officials ignored laws at Effigy Mounds monument: investigation
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted May 11, 2014 5:02 PM CDT
In this Nov. 8, 2010 file photo, hikers walk one of the trails at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Harpers Ferry, Iowa.   (AP Photo/The Des Moines Register, Justin Hayworth, File)

(Newser) – Over the course of a decade, one of the most sacred American Indian burial sites saw $3 million in construction—and though the projects were illegal, National Park Service officials approved them, the AP reports. Construction of trails and boardwalks at Effigy Mounds National Monument, in Iowa, required tribal approval and archeological investigation. But the park's former superintendent, Phyllis Ewing, and another official, Tom Sinclair, ignored such laws, documents released by the Park Service show.

The area, which contains 200 mounds linked to 12 tribes, was treated as a place "to walk your dog," a tribal leader says. Two of three boardwalks remain at the site; the construction was undertaken, Park Service workers say, to improve disabled access. In the process, artifacts were removed from the site. Ewing was fired in February—years after regional officials learned of the illegal activity in 2009. Sinclair has also left his position. A whistleblower-prompted investigation resulted in a 700-plus-page report which cites problems as early as 2001, National Parks Traveler notes. "We've tried to understand how a park can behave so badly. Wherever they had a chance to screw up, they did," a regional official said in 2011.

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May 12, 2014 3:12 PM CDT
The transgressions aren’t just limited to Native Americans either; there’s plenty of controversy surrounding Arlington National Cemetery.
May 12, 2014 1:07 AM CDT
The best thing could happen is forcing the white's back to their own land which is the European country! Just remember any land you buy in the untied states is stolen from the Indians, meaning you are buying stolen property and paying taxes on it! Trail of tears!
David L
May 11, 2014 9:10 PM CDT
Cheer up. These are the same people who are now in charge of your health care.