Cultural Preservation

How would you feel if a guest in your house stole or destroyed an heirloom made by your great grandmother? What would you do if you saw this happen in your friend’s home? We are asking you to help stop this kind of “theft” in the homelands of the Spokane Tribe of Indians and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation.

Artifact Theft

Every year at Lake Roosevelt, looters destroy historic and archaeological sites to find artifacts they can keep for themselves or to profit from. Vacationers pocket artifacts as souvenirs. ATV users turn ancient homes and resting places of our Ancestors into their own muddy playgrounds. These ancient homelands and the artifacts they hold are our only link with the cultural heritage of this special place along the Columbia River. Lake Roosevelt’s beach environments and the cultural traces on them are fragile, it doesn’t take much impact to destroy them and the precious information they contain. Shoreline beaches and adjacent lands are public lands. Sites, artifacts and landscape features are public property protected by federal, tribal, and state laws.

Criminal penalties for cultural resource theft and destruction are serious because those resources are limited…unlike animals and plants, they can never be replaced. The Spokane Tribe of Indians, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the National Park Service, the State of Washington and the Bureau of Reclamation ask for your help in protecting our history and the ancient homelands of our Ancestors at Lake Roosevelt.


The People of the Upper Columbia past and present welcome you as a visitor but please remember the below information while visiting.

  • Don’t dig
  • Don’t collect anything or move it from where you found it
  • Before you go boating or drive your ATV please know the rules and follow them
  • If you see someone digging or collecting artifacts, don’t try to stop them. These types of looters can be dangerous. Get identifying marks such as license plate numbers, description of looters, location of looters and call law enforcement.

Law Enforcement Resources

National Park Service: (509) 738-6266
Spokane Tribal Law Enforcement: (509) 258-4400 (Emergency ) -(509) 258-4569 (Business)
Colville Tribal Law Enforcement: (509) 634-3145

The People of the Upper Columbia past and present thank you for helping us preserve our cultural sites and our history.