For millennia, tribal nations have lived and prospered along what is now the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. So there are thousands of tribal cultural resource areas, burial grounds and sacred sites along the trail. These sacred places are connections to our history, messages from our ancestors, treasures for our future and the cradle of our existence. The flesh, blood and bones of our ancestors are holy. Our archaeological sites, sacred sites and objects, and burial sites are monuments, and like monuments of other great nations, they deserve respect.
Desecration and looting of tribal cultural resources is a growing national disgrace and an irreparable loss to all Americans. Tribes along the Lewis and Clark Trail are concerned about the potential for destruction and urge you to help protect these sacred treasures by:
- Not entering areas you suspect or know to be culturally sensitive
- Leaving things the way you found them
- Reporting suspicious activity, vandalism, and theft to the nearest law enforcement agency
- From the official website of the National Council of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial, www.lewisandclark200.org
One of the major concerns identified during the Bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark Expedition was how to protect Native American sacred places and cultural items that a Trail visitor may inadvertently come upon. Unfortunately, most Trail visitors are unfamiliar with the federal, state, and tribal laws and codes that protect these irreplaceable resources. This informational brochure and additional information on the NATHPO website provide available information for the protection of these sacred places and cultural properties.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition left their mark and legacy on a world that would be forever changed. This brochure is intended to help visitors learn more about the need and what you can do to preserve the heritage along the trail. A list of contacts is too long to incorporate within the brochure, but can be accessed through the following weblink: www.nathpo.org/lawenforcement.html. Included on the website is how to respond to looting and damage to an archaeological site and other helpful information.