Don’t Mess with Stolen Artifacts

The Federal Government is very serious about protecting American Indian artifacts found on Federal Lands and very serious about prosecuting people who steal them. Case in point is that of an Oregon man, Jack Lee Harelson, who already is serving 10 years in prison for theft of artifacts from US Government property. Seems he is looking at another two years for another conviction, with sentencing to take place December 19th.

Harelson prior conviction was for stealing artifacts and mummified remains in 1996. The scene of the crime was Elephant Mountain Cave in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. In addition to the time he must serve, he was fined $2.5 million in a corresponding civil suit.

The moral of this story is always be sure of your sources when considering pre-historic artifacts. If they didn’t come from private land and your seller can’t verify it, you could end up paying a high price for the acquisition.


Tribal Artery is a periodic blog about the world of tribal art, brought to you by the web sites of Aboriginals: Art of the First Person, including Native-JewelryLink, Native-PotteryLink, TribalWorks and ZuniLink.