COOS BAY, Ore. -- A Coos County judge on Wednesday sentenced a North Bend man to five years of probation and fined him $2,000 for disturbing a Native American archaeological site.
Federal prosecutors said David Gieselman repeatedly dug up the objects from a site on the north shore of Coos Bay despite multiple warnings that it violated the law.
A judge ordered Gieselman to forfeit 12 tribal artifacts in his possession and banned him from entering any Oregon state park for five years, the Oregon Attorney General's Office said.
“Because they tell a significant part of Oregon’s story, these resources are important to Oregon’s tribes and all Oregonians,” Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum said. “The Oregon Department of Justice is committed to working closely with the tribes to vigorously enforce the laws protecting these sites.”
Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indian officials said they found Gieselman digging up tools at the site in February, and again in May 2010, and warned him against further collecting.
Oregon State Police searched his house and found 180 artifacts.
“Our social order was broken, we lost our traditions, tribal ways, and our language was forbidden,” Chief Warren Brainard said. “Our way of life forever changed, our history was lost, stolen and changed to what our masters told the next generation. Our only true history is what can lawfully be recovered from undisturbed archaeological sites."
Local Native Americans fished and may have built canoes on the site as well.