News and Press Releases

TWO SENTENCED FOR LOOTING YAKAMA NATION CULTURAL SITE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2010

Yakima – James A. McDevitt, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Tiffany E. Larson, 24, and Devin W. Prouty, 27, both of Goldendale, Washington, were sentenced yesterday for damaging and removing archeological resources from an historic Yakama Nation site. Both received sentences of two years probation and were ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $6,690.08. Ms. Larson and Mr. Prouty were also ordered to perform 150 hours of community service for the Yakama Nation and banned during the period of probation from going into Spearfish Park, located in Klickitat County, Washington.

On August 15, 2009, Tiffany Larson and Devin Prouty were encountered at Spearfish Park looking for arrowheads and collecting stone fragments which had artifact work on them. Spearfish Park is managed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Signs at the entrance to the park note that "Destruction, injury, defacement, removal, or any alteration of public property is prohibited." Neither Ms. Larson nor Mr. Prouty had a permit for excavation of historic or prehistoric resources, or for removal of archaeological objects. The Yakama Nation archaeological damage assessment determined that there were three areas of measurable disturbance and the cost to rehabilitate the area was $6,690.08.

At sentencing, Yakama Nation Cultural Resources Program Manager Johnson Meninick spoke of the historic significance of Spearfish Park. Yakama Nation Tribal Council member Terry Gowdy-Rambler told the court of family ties to the area and how this plundering of the site was offensive not only to her but also to the Yakama Nation as a whole.

James A. McDevitt, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, said, “The importance of protecting the cultural resources of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation cannot be overstated. By Treaty, these areas are shared with all citizens of the United States. However, visitors to these sites must respect the historic nature of the area. Stealing artifacts from these areas often renders the site useless for further archeological study.”

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA) was enacted “to secure, for the present and future benefit of the American people, the protection of archaeological resources and sites which are on public and tribal lands.” It is a federal crime to excavate, remove, damage, alter, or deface any archaeological resource on public or Indian lands, punishable by imprisonment, fines, forfeitures and restitution.

This investigation was conducted by the Yakama Nation Cultural Resources Program, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Enforcement, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office.

09-CR-2094-EFS-01 & 04

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