Whereas, Grave Desecration is one of the most serious issues facing Indian people in this day in age; and
Whereas, Grave Desecration in the forms of archeological digs, construction, and the search for burial items goes unchecked throughout America; and
Whereas, The Arizona Chapter of The American Indian Movement was recently gifted with 49 acres of land in an undisclosed area of Arizona where the graves of an ancient Indian culture are being dug by black marketeers of Indian funery items and artifacts and AIM, Arizona has posted this land and has members there on a full time basis to video tape, make citizens arrests upon and fully prosecute the perpetrators of these most heinous crimes under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act; and
Whereas, AIM, Arizona Chapter has begun a strict and stringent policy of Zero Tolerance for grave robbers and desecrators;
Therefore, Now, The Arizona Chapter of the American Indian Movement hereby declares WAR against anyone who disturbs the graves of our ancestors for profit or by doing so without following the guidelines of NAGPRA.
It is incomprehensible to us that if someone is digging in their yard or field and comes across the grave of an American soldier...say from the Civil War...that the remains are transported and buried with honors in a veterans cemetary; yet if they uncover the remains of an Indian person...the remains wind up on museum shelves and the funery objects and artifacts many times find themselves being auctioned off to the highest bidder...there to sit as conversation pieces on the coffee tables of affluent non-Indian people.
If digging is being performed in Arizona, or any other part of the country for that matter, and graves are disturbed and remains or artifacts uncovered, AIM, Arizona Chapter will volunteer to take possession of the remains and/or artifacts and deliver them for repatriation and/or reburial by the Indian Nation to which they belong. If the remains are from a civilization no longer in existence, they will be delivered to the Nation closest to the burial site for reburial.
We have spoken to elders and spiritual people from many Nations in Arizona and have their full cooperation in this endeavor.
We strongly urge ALL AIM Chapters and Indian individuals to take such a stance against Grave Desecration in your respective areas. Stand for the protection of the last resting place of our grandparents. Stand for the return of sacred items to the Nations to which they belong. Stand against the sale of our ancient treasures.
Like most non-Indian people, we never expected the graves of our relatives to ever be dug up again. Yet this is happening at an alarming rate all over Turtle Island.
STAND UP...SPEAK OUT...FIGHT AGAINST THIS ILLEGAL AND IMMORAL PRACTICE!
Questions regarding NAGPRA and Grave Desecration can be addressed to: