Racist message found on ancient Utah petroglyph

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Racist graffiti has been found covering ancient Native American petroglyphs in Utah on one of the most popular rock art panels in Moab, according to officials.

A tour guide with the Moab Tour Company discovered the words “white power” — a phrase associated with white supremacists — on Monday and graphic images on “The Birthing Scene,” a panel on a slab covered on four sides with Native American art. The Utah Bureau of Land Management is offering a reward to find who is responsible.

The art features figures from the Anasazi period nearly 2,000 years ago.

The person who graffitied the racist message had to cross out their first attempt after misspelling the word “white.”

First-time vandalizers can face fines of up to $20,000 and one year in prison under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act.

Local officials are concerned about the increased amount of vandalism near Moab and across the state.

“That was kind of the icing on the cake because the rock itself has very special meaning to myself, and many people in this community,” said Grand County Commissioner Mary McGann. “So their defacing of it has struck a cord.”

McGann has asked the public to begin taking photos of anyone vandalizing petroglyphs or any rock structure and provide them to the police, KSTU-TV reported.

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