JANUARY 16, 2013
Because it’s considered defacement and vandalism, graffiti is a crime yet the U.S. government has spent $1.5 million to actually preserve some left during the hostile Indian occupation of California’s Alcatraz Island more than four decades go.
Why is Indian graffiti worth preserving when local governments across the nation spend tens of millions of dollars to remove it annually? Because, evidently, this is politically correct graffiti that has a “social significance,” according to a National Park Service official quoted in a San Francisco newspaper. The agency cares for the island and financed the project at the infamous federal penitentiary in San Francisco.
The same official clarified that the National Park Service doesn’t approve of graffiti because “it’s a federal offense,” but this defacement has a history and sends a message. That’s because it involves Indians or Native Americans as the leftist movement likes to say. After the prison closed Indians took over the island and demanded the government convert it into an Indian cultural center or school devoted to native studies. The National Park Service dedicates a portion of its website to the movement.
During their Alcatraz occupation the Indians plastered a large sign—in red letters four and five-feet high—on the island’s huge water tank, which is about the size of a 10-story building. It reads: “PEACE AND FREEDOM WELCOME HOME OF THE FREE INDIAN LAND.” Rehabilitating it cost American taxpayers $1.5 million because the Park Service had to trace the outlines of the original signs and consult with the American Indian Movement and the Indian Treaty Council. It took nearly one year to complete the job.
The feds claim they approved the restoration because the sign honors “an important part of the island’s history.” The graffiti “opens your eyes to the Indian story of the island,” the Park Service official said. It’s not necessarily a positive one, according to the Park Service’s own version. There was “open use of drugs, fighting over authority, and general disarray of leadership,” as well as beatings and assaults. Some Indian occupiers stripped copper wiring and tubing from buildings and a fire destroyed several historic buildings.
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