US

Illegal Park Service projects damage sacred American Indian site in Iowa; few held accountable

FILE-- This Nov. 8, 2010, file photo shows the "Three Mounds" site at at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Harpers Ferry, Iowa. Records show that National Park Service officials approved $3 million in illegal construction projects over a decade that damaged one of the nation’s most sacred Indian burial sites. (AP Photo/The Des Moines Register, Justin Hayworth, File) MAGS OUT; TV OUT; NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT

FILE-- This Nov. 8, 2010, file photo shows the "Three Mounds" site at at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Harpers Ferry, Iowa. Records show that National Park Service officials approved $3 million in illegal construction projects over a decade that damaged one of the nation’s most sacred Indian burial sites. (AP Photo/The Des Moines Register, Justin Hayworth, File) MAGS OUT; TV OUT; NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT  (The Associated Press)

Records show that National Park Service officials approved $3 million in illegal construction projects over a decade that damaged one of the nation's most sacred American Indian burial sites.

Investigation documents posted on the agency's website show that superintendent Phyllis Ewing and a subordinate repeatedly ignored laws that required archaeological studies and input from tribes before building boardwalks, trails and a maintenance shed at Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa.

Regional officials in Omaha uncovered the violations in 2009 but waited years to take formal disciplinary action against Ewing, who was fired Feb. 28 and is contesting the decision.

One watchdog says Ewing oversaw a stunning pattern of desecration.

Ewing's attorney says the Park Service is making her a scapegoat.