Vandals Deface Sacred Sanilac Petroglyphs in Michigan

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown September 17th, 2017 Last Updated on: September 17th, 2017

Please help if you know any information on this crime! See below press release.

Statewide DNR News – Sept. 8, 2017
Contact: Sandra Clark (Michigan History Center/DNR), 517-373-6362 or
Erik Rodriguez (Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan), 989-775-4076

Earlier this year, Michigan Department of Natural Resources staff at Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park discovered that vandals had broken in and carved three images on the rock that holds carvings made hundreds of years ago.

“We are all deeply saddened by this disrespectful act,” said Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan History Center, which interprets the petroglyphs for the public at this state park near Cass City, Michigan. “The petroglyphs were created by people who lived in what is now Michigan centuries ago. They are part of all of our history, and they have a deep spiritual meaning for many Anishinabek who live in the Great Lakes Region today.”

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan partners with the state in interpreting the petroglyphs, which are called ezhibiigaadek asin (“written on stone”) in the Anishinabemowin language.

“The Sanilac Petroglyphs are one of the most important connections we have to our past within the region,” said Tribal Chief Frank Cloutier of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. “The stories that are handed down from generation to generation thread our past to the present. We need to preserve diba jimooyung (‘telling our stories’).

“Pictures, stories and our language are all we have that identifies our Anishinabek people,” he added. “Without proper protections of these ancient treasures we run the risk of losing precious sacred information. My community needs these treasures protected and secured. The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan will do everything we can to partner with the State of Michigan to assist with this.”

The DNR and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan ask that anyone with information concerning the individuals who defaced the Sanilac Petroglyphs call or text the DNR Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline at 800-292-7800. Information also may be shared via the DNR web-based RAP reporting form.

Individuals may qualify for a reward, provided by the Michigan History Center, if they submit information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the vandals.

“We urge the public to be our added eyes and ears in the field to assist Michigan's state parks and recreation system in protecting these and other cultural treasures from such senseless acts of vandalism,” said Ron Olson, chief of DNR Parks and Recreation Division. “Please alert park rangers and staff if you witness any suspicious activity that may threaten this area.”

Featured photo:

The Bow Man is the most well-known of the petroglyphs. It is believed that this figure represents a hunter. Other petroglyphs nearby represent animal tracks and birds.

Home » Blog » Vandals Deface Sacred Sanilac Petroglyphs in Michigan

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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