Seattle’s Famous Native American Murals Vandalized; Artist Leads Cleanup

Source: / Portraits of Chief Seattle, Chief Joseph, Geronimo and Sitting Bull at the Wilson-Pacific school were splattered with white latex paint.

Seattle’s Famous Native American Murals Vandalized; Artist Leads Cleanup

Over the weekend, the well-known murals at the Wilson-Pacific school in Seattle were vandalized—but today, they were restored by the artist who created them.

Andrew Morrison, whose wall of massive portraits of Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph and Chief Seattle is a landmark in North Seattle, led a cleanup crew that removed the white latex paint that had been splattered across the images. Since the news of the vandalization broke, on Monday, Morrison has said he knows who did it. “He was stupid enough to write his own name,” Morrison told the Seattle Times, explaining that the graffiti spells out DAPKILO—”DAP” being the name of a graffiti crew and “KILO” an artist’s handle.

The Wilson-Pacific school has been in the news for the past couple of years because of its murals as well as its uncertain future. The current situation, as reported by ICTMN earlier this month, is that the school will be demolished (despite having officially been designated a Seattle landmark last year), but the murals will be saved.

Morrison took a break from the cleanup operation to share his thoughts on the incident with ICTMN.

What was your reaction when you learned of the vandalism?

My reaction was immediate attention of the safety of our children and our Native American heart and Native American spirit. I knew this was a hate crime rooted in primitive ignorance and I knew I have to be the more compassionate warrior in this holy war.

It could have been worse: Muralist Morrison said that the latex-based paint would not be difficult to remove. Photo courtesy Andrew Morrison.

How has the Native community reacted?

The Native community is outraged and broken hearted. The community loves these murals as their own, and seeing this desecration of something we fought so hard to save is ripping through our spirits like a hurricane. Bad medicine has manifested, and this is an act that is confronting tribal members to their face. This act of cowardice is challenging our stamina, patience, and way of life.

What do you think—was this a random act of vandalism or does it have some meaning?

This is a direct attack on what we as Native Americans have stood against. Which is freedom, red roads, and forgiveness. This act is trying to provoke confrontation and war. This act is trying to provoke violence.

Who was involved in today’s restoration operation?

I spearheaded the recovery with the help of my father and other community members who volunteered their time and contributions. All of this immediate work is coming out of my pocket and my mission of giving and mission of compassion continues in the face of an enemy hiding behind lies. We have done our best to repair the images of our great warrior chiefs. The spirits of Sitting Bull, Geronimo, Chief Joseph, and Chief Seattle were watching.

Using brushes and a high-pressure hose, the cleanup crew restored the iconic images to their original state. Photo courtesy Andrew Morrison.

Does this affect the plans to save the murals?

No, and we have deleted this hate crime as fast as it attempted to manifest. Good spirits win.

Do you think the vandalism is related to the announcement that the school will be demolished?

This is related to the saving of the murals, this is related to the construction and preservation of the murals, and this was a weak strategic planned attack aimed to disrupt a fluid cooperative effort between all those who love our Native American murals. This weak strategic act of cowardice is being brought to the light and I am praying for the softening of hearts right now.