Two Men Sentenced To Prison For Vandalism Of 4,000-Year-Old Petroglyphs In Nevada

Two Men Sentenced To Prison For Vandalism Of 4,000-Year-Old Petroglyphs In Nevada

Conny Waters – – Beautiful, sacred, 4,000-year-old petroglyphs etched into a rock in Nevada have been defaced by two men who have now been sentenced for their actions.

White River Narrows is known for its prehistoric petroglyphs dating over one hundred years old and is a sacred site for the Paiute and Shoshone tribes. Obviously, the historical and archaeological value of the site was unimportant to the two individuals who painted graffiti, destroying our ancestors’ ancient art.

Two Men Sentenced To Prison For Vandalism Of 4,000-Year-Old Petroglyphs In Nevada

Photo by: Department of Justice

In lower White River Valley, White River Narrows is a winding canyon formed during the Pleistocene (ca. 2.5 million to 11,700 years ago) and home to one of the largest concentrations of prehistoric rock art in eastern Nevada.

It contains numerous rock art sites that collectively form a district covering some 4,000 acres that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. “The petroglyphs at White River Narrows provide glimpses into the cultural lives of Native American peoples who lived by harvesting wild plants and animals from some 4,000 years ago until the nineteenth century. Although the exact meanings of the Narrows’ rock art may be unknowable, they mark the Narrows as a place important to those who made and used these ancient art galleries.” These petroglyphs are important to Native American peoples living in the region today.” 1

The petroglyphs at White River Narrows depict animals, people, and intriguing symbols. Most agree vandalism of a site like this one should be punished.

“No restitution or repair can undo the damage done by those who would vandalize such a sacred and historical site as the White River Narrows, but this ruling demonstrates that such crimes will not be met with a slap on the wrist,” Jason M. Frierson, the U.S. attorney for the district of Nevada, said in a statement.

“Our office will continue to work to ensure that anyone who desecrates sacred tribal lands and artifacts are held accountable,” the judge continued.

According to court documents, from September 14, 2019, to October 8, 2019, Jonathan Pavon, a/k/a/ “Cluer,” 28, conspired with Daniel Plata, a/k/a “Velor,” 28, to spray paint “Cluer” and “Velor” in multiple locations at White River Narrows, including an approximately 20-foot-long graffiti image on a rock face containing petroglyphs.

Two Men Sentenced To Prison For Vandalism Of 4,000-Year-Old Petroglyphs In Nevada

White River Narrows petroglyphs. Credit: Chris M Morris – CC BY 2.0

Pavon pleaded guilty in June 2022 to misdemeanor conspiracy and a felony violation of the Archeological Resources Protection Act. He was sentenced today to six months for the misdemeanor conviction, and a year and a day of imprisonment for the felony conviction. The sentences will be served concurrently. Plata pleaded guilty in July 2022 to a misdemeanor damage of archeological resources. He was sentenced today to four months of imprisonment followed by eight months of home confinement.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Nevada.

Written by Conny Waters – Staff Writer

Expand for references

  1. NRAF – White River Narrows

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