• Outdoors Outdoors

Hiker upset after witnessing family defile centuries-old landmark: 'Genuinely infuriated'

"This goes far beyond mildly infuriating for me."

"This goes far beyond mildly infuriating for me."

Photo Credit: Reddit

A hiker who witnessed the vandalism of an Indigenous pictograph shared a story that is equal parts disturbing, heartbreaking, and educational.

"This man and his Kids Deliberately Scratched up 1000 year old Indigenous Wall Paintings with walking sticks in a Canmore Alberta canyon hike," the poster wrote in the r/mildlyinfuriating subreddit in 2022.

"This goes far beyond mildly infuriating for me."
Photo Credit: Reddit
"This goes far beyond mildly infuriating for me."
Photo Credit: Reddit

"Never has a Reddit post made me so genuinely infuriated," one commenter wrote

"I hope they were reported," said another.

The alleged criminal act took place in Grotto Canyon, Newsweek reported.

After some prodding, the poster added an update in the comments that they had reported the vandalism and that Alberta Parks, which takes "these incidents very seriously," was looking into it.

"It is illegal to remove, deface, injure or destroy plants, fossils and rocks," according to Parks Alberta. "We experience very little serious crime in our parks and with your co-operation, we can keep it that way. … Report vandalism to a conservation officer or police."

Since it apparently needs to be said, ancient pictographs are irreplaceable. These were made with hematite-based pigment using fingertips and perhaps another tool, Travis Rider of the Stoney Nakoda Nations reported on RETROactive. They are centuries old and belong to the Indigenous people who live in what is now known as the Bow Valley.

"The Stoney Nakoda have names for these places; they know who created the pictographs and why. But these stories and oral histories remain proprietary to those who have the right to know," Rider wrote. "It's good for life to contain some mysteries yet."

One commenter on the Reddit post, an Alberta archaeologist, noted the pictographs are protected via the Historical Resources Act and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police should be notified.

"This goes far beyond mildly infuriating for me," someone else said. "This brazen destruction of history and cultural artifacts is absolutely disgusting. I despise people like this. Thank you for reporting their crime."

As Rider said, Indigenous people and communities have long been ignored, even when it comes to their own stories. So, it's up to all of us to help protect such sacred cultural sites. They should not be touched or damaged, and they should be left as they are found.

These tenets are major components of the Leave No Trace philosophy as well. Nature and pictographs can only be experienced as long as they're maintained. You can do your part by talking to family and friends about these invaluable remnants of the natural world, communicating to foster respect and understanding.

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