Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Vandals Deface Historic Petroglyphs with Cat Carving, Others

Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park in Michigan contains native carvings hundreds of years old.

Unfortunately, the site now has some brand-new images. Vandals thought it would be a good idea to "add" to the site by carving images of a cat and what looks like mushrooms.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) discovered the vandalism earlier this year.

"We are all deeply saddened by this disrespectful act," says 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."

Officials say the petroglyphs connect the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan with its past.

"Pictures, stories and our language are all we have that identifies our Anishinabek people," says Tribal Chief Frank Cloutier. "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 are asking the public to provide any information they may have. They can call or text the DNR Report All Poaching (RAP) hotline at 800-292-7800 or via the DNR web-based RAP reporting form.

If a tip leads to the arrest and conviction of those responsible, a reward from the Michigan History Center might be given.