Heartbreaking: Native Murals Defaced

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown February 24th, 2015 Blog

Photo: Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times

Photo: Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times

As reported by Seattle Times, these beautiful murals created by Andrew Morrison (Apache/Haida) were defaced over the weekend. Judging from the photograph it looks like the vandal might have used a super-soaker or rigged extinguisher to spray their name on the wall or “drip tag”. I've seen quite a few of these tags on walls here in Chicago and the result to me has always been ugly. Especially when the picture beneath the tag is honoring some pretty important Natives.

The eight murals — which are visible from blocks away — include 25-foot-tall black, white and gray portraits of Chief Seattle, Sitting Bull and other historic figures from local Native American communities.

The portraits, which are painted on the outside walls of Seattle Public Schools’ Wilson-Pacific School campus — once home to the Indian Heritage Middle College — are among just a few notable examples of local public art honoring Native Americans.

The mural before the vandalism

The mural before the vandalism

Unfortunate that this occurred since Morrison had finally won the fight to save these murals from being torn down. There were plans to tear down the existing building to make way for new ones for the school campus. The district had agreed to save the wall and incorporate it into the new design.

Morrison assured everyone that the murals can and will be restored.

“I’m going to do my best to fix it. … I’m going to do my best to stand tall, help bring this person to justice and restore peace and resolution,” he said.



About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

43 thoughts on “Heartbreaking: Native Murals Defaced

  1. When this great art is fully restored it would be best to cover it with perspex.
    The saddest thing of all is that we live in a society which is tarnished by heathens who are thankfully in the minority,but are so inadequate as a humanity,they destroy anything good.

    • Mark W. Farrell says:

      Well said.
      This was a sad thing and a sick mind that did it.
      Call it cultural rape on top of damage to property and trespassing with intent to commit a crime.

  2. Irene Friendly says:

    I couldn’t agree more Irene – Heathens they are. It goes beyond understanding how anyone with a brain could destroy something so beautiful.

    • God will have the ultimate say for whomever did this desecration . There is no reason for this to have happened!

  3. sadly, the ignorant & hateful are nourished by online trolling. Families don’t teach them that some things have meaning & power & are meant to be left ALONE! These souls are empty. These are the ghosts who lives be nothing, care for nothing & no one, including themselves.

  4. I’m very relieved they can be restored. Probably some bored kids trying to get a “laugh”. Kids today just aren’t taught to respect others’ properties or works.

    • BCGRL says:

      I agree with MO……….empty souls!!!!!!! Have nothing in their hearts and nothing in their minds!!! I feel sorry for such lost and empty “HUMANS?” I don’t know…….shells of humans I would think. ……..But as I said…….”empty”

  5. Kayla Paul says:

    While I was happy to have seen this reposted on FB, I have grown weary of clicktivism and would like to do more. Please set up a fund for donations to cover restoration costs and I will gladly start the pot. Also, is there an organization that provides art supplies for native youth who would perhaps not have access otherwise?

  6. Too bad the paintings couldn’t be protected with some sort of clear film that adheres to the surface so if someone were inclined to paint over again their pain t could just simply be wiped off using paint thinner or something like that. Foil the foiler.

    • R.T. says:

      There is some type of coating that is graffiti resistant. For the life of me I can’t think of it at the moment. I MIGHT be an answer. Putting Perspex over it as someone earlier suggested isn’t an ideal way to protect this work. The plastic will allow moisture to stay trapped and mildew to form defacing the murals that much further unfortunately.

    • Crystal Bird says:

      That is exactly what I was going to say … except foil the foiler. Great minds think alike! Awesome because my name is also Crystal, spelled exactly the same

  7. marlène fauré says:

    les gens ne respectent plus rien ! Quel guachis de faire des tags sur des dessins aussi beau! Et surtout dans une école !!!

  8. Stan vandale says:

    I think of they catch whom ever done this , should painted and carry a sign around. stating : I am a idiot. no respect.

  9. Ben Lunt says:

    We live i a country where most of the kids don’t know anything about anything. They don’t know Illinois from Idaho, can’t find Kentucky on a map, don’t know who Eisenhower or Kennedy were, have never heard of Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Crazy Horse or Sacajawea, think Wounded Knee is a sports injury the Trail Of Tears is a rock band. They have no respect for anyone or anything. I think the way to do something about this is to organize a big effort, many people and artists, to gather at the spot and get to work on trying to restore. Make a big splash in the papers and on the news. Involve a news anchor to do a camera presentation and ask some questions of the artist. Shame the little rat bastard who did this, and the friends he told about it. Someone might phone in an anonymous tip and the snot-nose will get picked up. But don’t let him try to help save the art – he will only make it worse – he is a breaker, not a maker.

  10. Very sad that the person who did this has no respect for other people’s culture, history or property. Hopefully the mural can be restored to its original condition and the criminal someday, will become a better human being.

  11. Johnny Salas says:

    Most kids dont have respect for other other peoples culture or property because of how there being trained to thibk by tgere parents I grew up a gang member because of were I lived and went to school and I still wouldnt do this to anyones art because my father taught me to respect! And now that im a father I teach my kids the same thing respect other peoples beliefes religioun and culture even if you dont agree. I am apache navajo and Cherokee maybe that is why seeing this does not upset me it is a oppurtunity for a nation to wake up and recognize how wrong they were about us 300 years ago and we as a free spirited race of humans will never switch up instead will always remain a peaceful loving race nomattet how hard the attempt was made to make our people extinct we will never be extinct we were here since the beggining of time and all thanks to God we will be here till the End the result of love!

  12. Sung Manitou Tatanka Wakinyan says:

    Its a disgrace for someone to do this to our Original Fathers Aho it makes me angry to see this done to my brothers work of art I hope they can stop these sort of things and take more pride in our country Aho Mitakuye Oyasin.

  13. Ursela Wiese says:

    I can’t believe that someone would do this… It’s heartbreaking to see the shown respect towards other cultures and the value that some have :'(

  14. Has anyone set up a fund /donation, I would be honord to help. It’s ashame tbat these kids were not giveing the time and taught respect and honor. PLZ email me with any info

  15. Oshogeeshik says:

    This is so sad that the art could not be appreciated and was vandalized. Local youth in my day would protect this as territory and wouldn’t allow any harm to occur.

  16. Barbara McMillan says:

    I am so sorry for this blatant disregard of beautiful artwork and history, and I hope that the person is caught and punished. I am glad to hear that they can and will be restored, but I realize how much work and love went into them the first time. God bless you for perseverance and for sharing your talent with all of us who do appreciate our heritage.

  17. Dave Tate says:

    This is a shameful thing to have done,only a hate filled mind will do this. I hope those that dit it will be captured
    and be sentenced to hard time and to mental treatment, they were beautiful works of ART i hope Mr. Morrison can repair the damage that has been done so that they may continue to be seen for many many years ahead with never more damage to them

  18. Lynda Steadman says:

    being of Indian heritage my self this is so disrespectful and uncalled for. I hope who ever has done this will find it to turn there self in. I dought it but at least I can hope, and if not I hope they are caught and made to do a service for a long time. Mr. Morrison I want to tell you I have seen your work before and I love it. I hope this can be fixed, and treated with respect from here on out. This person should be ashamed and God as well as mother earth will see to it they are punished….

  19. William Pruetzel says:

    This is what America has come to. No respect for anything or anybody. I hope they find the culprits and punish them severely, not just community service

  20. Ben Lunt says:

    This is a difficult subject and it carries a secondary virus – it makes us justifiably angry. We feel the anger and wish for punishment, for retribution. This may seem natural, and fine, but it is a secondary injury. First, the vandal harms the artwork. When we feel and express our outrage, he injures us as well, and we delight him in expressing our feelings. He is a sniveling little vandal, nothing more. He did this for attention, and you can be sure he is watching this thread, much pleased with himself. He is a powerless little jerk. Girls won;t date him. They laugh at him. Other boys call him names to his face. They push him around and scare him easily. So he sneaks around at night with his can of cheap paint, which he imagines is a light saber. He attacks imaginary enemies and impresses girls who have rejected his pathetic overtures. He plays lots of video games and masturbates excessively. This poor little weasel is not worth your anger or concern. Restore the painting and protect it, possibly with security cameras and Lexan panels. But don’t think about this creep any more.

  21. Kim T. Curtis says:

    It’s too bad our society has one back to the dark ages in respect to just that: RESPECT! When I was a child, I’m 62, now, our parents taught us respect and pride in our own and other’s accomplishments. Nowadays, it seems that neither the parents or the children have respect for much of ANYTHING! If only we could turn things around and re-orient our society back to pride and respect for each of us and our abilities and accomplishments without such pervasive permissiveness!

  22. Irena says:

    Typical of the less talanted & moronic of society to destroy that which is iconic, skillfully represented & admired, jealousy is such a miserable quality to have.

    I sincerely hope that these paintings can be restored to there pristine glory.

    Such a tradgedy

  23. Ms Ellie says:

    you idiot kids happy? go home and brag about it somewhere so we can find you.

  24. And we on Facebook are learning about this NOW??? Wtf??!!
    There’s something called the internet and something called ‘timeliness’. Beepin’ look into them. Sheesh!

  25. Rose says:

    When I grew up and when I raised my child if something was done to someone elses property and the guilty person was found, frequently they were made to help restore the damaged property, In this case if they couldn’t help paint, they could clean, prep, wash brushes, anything to learn what was involved in creating/ repairing the damage they caused… get to know what it means to the artist. This would possibly teach something vs.fines, probably paid by others and seen as just money, that hasn’t value to vandals anyway. Just a thought??

  26. goldie leona hayes says:

    my nephew was killed in a car accident; he was very much loved by many people; and talked about for many years after his death, and remembered often by our entire community, though he was only 17.
    my niece was in a school for the harder children and a group were talking him up when another young man made a comment that he was glad he was dead and wished everyone would shut up about him and that no one noticed him and he was still alive!
    my family was furious; but I told them that he felt invisible. perhaps this young person also feels invisible. I believe that our Greatest Chiefs were people of the greatest understanding and that we must also be so to best honor their memory. (I’m glad this can still be restored.)

  27. Paul Molina says:

    Dont feel bad brotha most of the time a person who tags garbage like that have no art skills at all. Probably cant even draw a stick figure.

  28. Robbie says:

    such a shame that someone has total disrespect for this mural. i hope somone will be caught. makes me upset about that.

  29. Unbelievable! So much hours of work. So much pouring out of your creative hearts. So deeply offended.
    Perhaps we could deface their 4 presidents, that was carved on our land, without our permission. Without honor.

  30. Scott Sands says:

    Given the quality of “americans” I am not surprised. Restore and have some people if possible watch over them -lay in wait- and pounce on em with Great Force and enthusiasm. …

  31. The person caught should have to erase all the tags & ugly graffiti in that city …. every day 8-10 hours a day ASSHOLES and yes it is really nice art from the artist

  32. La Licuanan says:

    I am sorry this happened to your art. I’m from Los Angeles when Artisits would do a Mural they would seal it with some type of sealer THEN SPRAY some type of wax or compound that could be power washed off taking the spray paint off The. mural thus restoring it. There were /are companies that do this type of thing. Even in Vancouver,BC I think it was called Graffitti removal.

  33. Who ever did this there a sad individual there history only teaches them lies so they don’t know differnts between rite and rong the only thing we got do pray for them because all they got is hate maby his scared that the medicine wheel is turn in to our way of life

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletter for latest updates