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Stop Crimes Against History on Tribal Lands

The theft of history

Almost all major archaeological sites in the Southwest have been looted or vandalized. This destruction is a crime—often a felony—when it occurs on Tribal or public lands.

Ancient sites and artifacts are a bridge to Native American history, heritage, and identity. These culturally significant places cannot be replaced once they are damaged or desecrated.

What we do

In response to this growing threat, we bring together archaeologists, Tribal partners, federal agencies, law enforcement, and community organizations to stop crimes against history. Our goal is twofold: to encourage people to report recent looting or vandalism at archaeological sites and to share stories from Indigenous elders, leaders, and stewards about why these destructive acts must stop.

How you can help

Listening is the first and most important step to understanding why archaeological sites matter. We present stories from Tribal citizens who care about these places—and who want you to care too. By listening and sharing stories, we can change our society’s attitudes about how to protect ancient sites.

If you see a site being desecrated or know someone who commits crimes against history, please report through our confidential tipline.

The reward of saving history

When stolen artifacts are returned to their rightful owners, it is cause for celebration. Cultural traditions can continue, sacred places are preserved for future generations, and we can appreciate and learn from Native American history.

When you help bring looters to justice, you do more than save history. You promote security, community, and Tribal sovereignty.

How you can help save our history

Text a tip to 1-833-ENDLOOT to report a crime against history to law enforcement. Save History offers up to $10,000 for information about recent archaeological looting and vandalism.

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Call 1-833-ENDLOOT to report information about recent looting, vandalism, or trafficking to law enforcement.

Never confront a looter or vandal in the act. Relocate to a safe place and call 911.

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Start a conversation. Many people are not aware of the significance of ancient sites and cultural items to Indigenous communities. Explore Stories from Tribal stewards about why history matters.

Be an advocate for the protection of sacred places.

Submit a confidential tip
quickly and easily. You are not required to reveal your identity. Click here to fill out the form.

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Have Questions, Comments, or
Your Own Story to Share?

Send us a message at hello@savehistory.org.

We’d love to hear from you!

How you can help save our history

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Text a tip to 1-833-ENDLOOT to report a crime against history to law enforcement. Save History offers up to $10,000 for information about recent looting or vandalism.

icon

Call 1-833-ENDLOOT to report information about recent looting, vandalism, or trafficking to law enforcement.

Never confront a looter or vandal in the act. Relocate to a safe place and call 911.

icon

Submit a confidential tip
quickly and easily through this website. You are not required to reveal your.
identity. Click here to fill out the form.

icon

Start a conversation. Many people are not aware of the significance of ancient sites and cultural items to Indigenous communities. Explore Stories from Tribal stewards about why history matters.

Be an advocate for the protection of sacred places.

Have Questions, Comments, or
Your Own Story to Share?

Send us a message at info@savehistory.org.

We’d love to hear from you!

Stories from Tribal Stewards

Learn how ancient places confirm traditional teachings, encourage multi-generational learning, and stimulate conversations in Indigenous communities.

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We are proud to partner with Tribal and nonprofit organizations dedicated to preserving and protecting American history.

Who is SaveHistory.Org and why do we need your help?

SaveHistory.Org is a collaborative effort of Tribal organizations, archaeologists, federal and state law enforcement, and countless supporters dedicated to ending the theft and destruction of archaeological resources on Tribal and public lands.

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video coming soon

Latest news


Artists’ Reflections on Save Indigenous History: An Activity Book for Children

We are excited to announce the release of Save Indigenous History: An Activity Book for Children. This 30 page book is full of activities, coloring pages, and educational material that teach kids about respectful visitation of archaeological sites.  Five talented Indigenous artists illustrated many of the pictures for this project, including: Xenia Berejnoi (Yaqui Yoeme…

Building a New Fire: Reflections from the Repatriation Conference

Ashleigh and Shannon at the 9th Annual Repatriation Conference hosted by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation at the Grand Casino Hotel and Resort, Shawnee. From November 7–9, 2023, the Save History team attended the 9th Annual Repatriation Conference hosted by the Association on American Indian Affairs and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Attendees included…

Native American Heritage Month: Respecting Cultural Sites

Happy Native American Heritage Month! This November, we are releasing a video series about respecting Indigenous places of cultural and spiritual significance.    First, we hear from Barnaby Lewis, Gila River Indian Community Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. He discusses the impacts development has on cultural resources, as well as the lack of justice when people…

Call for Indigenous Artists and Illustrators: Save History Children’s Activity Book

Save History is seeking up to five Indigenous artists (must be U.S. citizens) to illustrate a Children’s Activity Book. The book will be shared on SaveHistory.org, in print, and on Save History social media channels. What is Save History? Save History is a collaborative effort by Tribal organizations, archaeologists, federal and Tribal law enforcement, and…

Protect the Past for the Future: Comic Launch and Artist Interview with Kayla Shaggy

Kayla Shaggy is a Diné and Anishinaabe multimedia artist, who, in her own words, “really loves making comics.” Kayla’s resume is impressive. She illustrated for Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix. She also did cultural consultation for Navajo characters for INTERIOR/NIGHT, an award-winning video game studio. Because of her skill, background, and belonging to Indigenous communities, the…

White Mountain Apache Perspectives on Protection and Healing at Ancestral Sites

Ndee (Western Apache) communities often avoid ancestral sites and places associated with the past out of respect. Ndee communities demonstrate such respect in the form of avoidance to protect both community members and archaeological sites from potential harm. Most importantly, avoidance helps maintain Gózhó, a state of balance and harmony in the world. However, desecration,…

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act: A Collaborative Effort

Photo credit: Tyrel Iron Eyes The Archaeological Resource Protection Act (ARPA) protects archaeological resources on Tribal and federal lands and requires that archaeologists conduct a damage assessment. In order to conduct a damage assessment, land managers, archaeologists, and law enforcement collaborate to assess the damage. During this process, the vandalism or damage is recorded, mapped,…

Call for Indigenous Artist: Deadline Extended to March 10th!

  Save History is seeking an Indigenous artist (must be a U.S. citizen) to illustrate a short story in a graphic novel style that will be published on SaveHistory.org, in print, and on Save History social media channels, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. What is Save History? Save History is a collaborative effort by Tribal…

Dr. Doreen Bird holds a microphone and talks to a crowd in her traditional dresswear.

Healing Journeys: Dr. Doreen Bird on Reconnecting to Ancestral Places

Ashleigh Thompson, Director of Tribal Collaboration at Archaeology Southwest, interviewed Dr. Doreen Bird (Kewa Pueblo) about the importance of protecting cultural landscapes. Bio: Doreen Bird, PhD, MPH is from Kewa Pueblo, New Mexico. She has worked for the protection of sacred places such as Chaco Canyon in New Mexico, Bears Ears Monument in Utah, Mauna…

Heritage Resource Looting and Vandalism in Arizona: How Serious is the Problem?

Who We Are We are professional archaeologists and resource managers with career and organizational commitments to the protection and appropriate uses of heritage sites and objects—places and things inherited from the past and still valued today. The Arizona State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and Archaeology Southwest are dedicated to the proposition that archaeological and historical…

How to Visit Cultural Sites with Respect

Archaeological sites are fragile and non-renewable. The impacts of our visits to sites can add up to significant damage. But there are ways to appreciate these special places and preserve them for future generations.   “I always stress respect. Everything is a sacred, living entity. Everything has a spirit… Every place you go should be…

How Respect and Cultural Awareness Protect Archaeological Sites

  “Archaeological sites being ‘abandoned’ doesn’t mean that they’re abandoned in the spiritual world. They are still a part of this culture. Tangible aspects were left there so that people don’t forget.” Kenny Bowekaty, as told to Stacy Ryan   Kenny Bowekaty is from the Pueblo of Zuni and has worked as an archaeologist for…

Repatriating Ancestors From a Missionary’s Basement

  “Native people have been dealing with desecration of not only our homelands but our burials and our sacred places for ages and ages and ages. It’s nothing new to us.” Pete Coffey, as told to the Art Bust podcast   In 2014, Pete Coffey–One Feather received gruesome news about human remains recovered from an…

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Archaeological Resource Crime is a Wicked Problem

Archaeological Resource Crime is a Wicked Problem John R. Welch, Landscape and Site Preservation Program Director People around the world agree that taking stuff that’s not theirs and digging up graves is wrong. So why do these wrongs keep happening? Why are they common, almost universal? Why have several generations of community leaders and law…

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What Does a Crime Against History Look Like?

What Does a Crime Against History Look Like? Stacy Ryan, Preservation Archaeologist A crime against history, or an archaeological resource crime, refers to violations of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. Prohibited acts include the theft, vandalism, and trafficking of cultural items and human remains that are at least 100 years of age. These acts are…

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27 Tribes Served

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35+ Sites Assessed

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17 Active Criminal Investigations