CASS CITY (WWJ) - Vandals have defaced a sacred rock in Michigan's thumb region that holds historic carvings made hundreds of years ago.
The vandalism was discovered earlier this year by staff at Sanilac Petroglyphs Historic State Park in Cass City.
According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the culprits broke into the fenced-off site and carved three images on a rock that holds petroglyphs, made by indigenous people roughly 400 to 1,000 years ago. One image carved by the vandals shows mushrooms while the other appears to be a cat.
"We are all deeply saddened by this disrespectful act," Sandra Clark, director of the Michigan History Center, said in a statement. "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."
The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan partners with the state in interpreting the petroglyphs, which are called ezhibiigaadek asin -- "written on stone" -- in the Anishinabemowin language.
"The Sanilac Petroglyphs are one of the most important connections we have to our past within the region," said Tribal Chief Frank Cloutier, of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. "Pictures, stories and our language are all we have that identifies our Anishinabek people. Without proper protections of these ancient treasures we run the risk of losing precious sacred information. My community needs these treasures protected and secured."
A cash reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the vandals. Anyone with information is urged to call or text the DNR's Report All Poaching hotline at 800-292-7800.
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