Monument with ancient sites open to development

Most national parks and monuments are off-limits to energy development but not one in Colorado that is home to countless Indian sites.

About 80 percent of the 164,000 acres within the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument has been leased for drilling and other energy activities. But the impact on Indian sites is largely unknown because the federal government hasn't spent enough money to survey the monument.

"Fencing dozens of sites for the facilitation of energy development is not what we had in mind when we supported the designation of the monument," Leigh J. Kuwanwisiwma, the director of the Hopi Tribe's cultural preservation office, told The New York Times.

Development has attracted looters, vandals and off-road vehicles in places like Chimney Rock, another significant archaeological area in Colorado. The government mainly relies on volunteers to police the site.

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Energy Boom in West Threatens Indian Artifacts (The New York Times 8/2)