• The statue was splattered in red paint and had the words 'Columbus Day' written on it. (Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo)Source: Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo
The native chief for the Ysleta de Sur Pueblo people told local reporters many elders had called him distressed over the vandalism of their spiritual statue.
Rangi Hirini

10 Oct 2017 - 10:56 AM  UPDATED 10 Oct 2017 - 10:56 AM

A statue of a revered Indigenous leader at a US Indian reservation has been splattered with red paint on a day of mourning for Native Americans.

Yesterday the statue was discovered drenched in red paint with a red cross and the words “Columbus Day” written on it.  

October 9 is celebrated in the US as Columbus Day, a national celebration of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas.

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This holiday is also a day Native Americans mourn a history which saw many of them killed.

Jose Sierra Sr, leader for the Ysleta de Sur Pueblo, said he was notified about the vandalism early in the morning.

"I don't understand. I guess we live in a different world. It's like everybody is just getting angry at people,” he told El Paso Times.

Rick Quezada, director of cultural preservation at the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo said he wanted authorities to find the perpetrators.

"We need to find out who it was and we're going to punish them to the fullest extent of the law," Mr Quezada told the El Paso Times.

"We want to deter people from coming in and vandalizing our property, especially with this type of statue."

The statue is of Tigua woman, Nestora Granillo Piarote, was unveiled In July at the Tigue Indian Cultural Centre in Texas.

Nestora Granillo Piarote was a well-known potter who died in 1918. She was born and raised in Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo and has more than 800 tribal descendants.

The statue was created in honour of all tribal women.

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In the last few months a growing number of US cities and states have been using an alternative to Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which has been recognized in 55 US cities, including Los Angeles which changed the name in July.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day challenges the idea that Columbus “discovered” the Americas.

To date, there are four states who now celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day: Minnesota, Vermont, Alaska and South Dakota.

The 55 cities who also celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day include: Nashville, Austin, Seattle, Los Angeles and Minneapolis.