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Public Artifact Removal is More Like Looting (Response to History in the Water (Article Below))

As you know, the Coeur d'Alene Tribe's aboriginal territory spanned nearly 4 million acres and for thousands of years the people of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe have centered their lives on Lake Coeur d'Alene and its tributaries, leaving evidence of their lives in the region.

We were disappointed and concerned by your article on Jan. 22, 2013, "History in the Water," which painted a romanticized view of the removal of historic artifacts from public lands. Our Tribe works hard to preserve our cultural resources, yet articles such as this one will inevitably lead to an increase in "looting" in the area and ultimately, the tragic removal of the Tribe's historic resources.

Notably missing from the article was any discussion about the laws that prohibit these kinds of actions. There are a number of tribal, state and federal laws in place to protect historic and cultural artifacts. The fact of the matter is removing artifacts from public lands throughout Idaho, including the lake bottom, is against the law.

Depending on where in the state you are, there are different laws under which looting is illegal. For example, Idaho state code prohibits looting on public lands in Idaho, so those searching the lake bottom near Coeur d'Alene would be breaking state law. And those looting in tribal waters or on the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservati