OLYMPIA, Wash. — Someone, or several people, have vandalized multiple pieces of Native art on the campus of The Evergreen State College in the last year.
The most recent incident occurred on the “Welcome Woman” carving, which has greeted students at the school’s main entrance since 1985.
Earlier this month someone painted over several of the images on the painted, wood carving.
“It’s very saddening,” said college Vice President of Tribal Affairs, Kara Briggs.
She estimated the damage, and repair costs will top $5,000.
The paint incident is only the latest.
Briggs said over the past year vandals spilled paint and scratched another wood carving, a rock was thrown through an etched window at the Indigenous Arts Campus, and a pile of what appeared to be human hair was left at the feet of a different “Welcome Woman” carving.
“Desecration is a word that I use because these arts are full of visions and the symbols, and the styles of our tribal ancestors from this region,” said Briggs.
Briggs said campus security is following up leads, but no arrests have been made for the vandalism.
The vandal’s paint on the “Welcome Woman” has been painted over, but Briggs said the statue will need to be sanded down and repainted when conditions are dry enough, likely next spring.
She said the vandalism evokes traumatic memories for Indigenous people.
"Historically when people, settlers came here, there were massive totems, welcome figures, plank houses. They were destroyed,” said Briggs.