courtesy: Tigua Cultural Center

The Tiguas are dealing with a vandalism incident that some officials with the tribe believe could be related to today’s observance of Columbus Day.

The statue of Nestora Piarote, a woman with 900 descendents in the pueblo here in El Paso, was splashed with red paint sometime in the early morning hours of Monday. Nestora’s statue was put in the tribe’s cultural center because, according to her great-great-great grandson Rudy Cruise, the tribe wanted to honor her role as the basis for the pueblo. She was a potter, and her statue pays tribute to her work with a pot resting on her head.

The red paint that was splashed on the statue obscured the writing on a cross that was placed at the feet of Nestora’s statue. The tribe says it appears that something was written on the cross, but it is not legible because of the paint.

Tribal officials say they feel that this happened because today is Columbus Day, a day they do not celebrate. They instead celebrate today as Pueblo Reunion Day. They say the tribe feels that Columbus victimized them already so for this vandalism to happen today feels like a hate crime.

There are no surveillance cameras in the vicinity of the statue at the Indian Cultural Center because the tribe did not think that anything like this would happen. The tribe is working on getting the statue cleaned up and working with law enforcement to find out who did this.

We can only say that this is a heinous crime and we hope that the Tiguas are able to find out who did this and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.