Salish Supporters Rally After Racist Graffiti In Tribal Classroom

May 8, 2017

Well over 100 people gathered Saturday to show support after vandals broke into the Salish School of Spokane and scrawled racial slurs targeting Native Americans on the walls of a classroom where preschoolers spend their weekdays learning their native language.

Native American Elders burned sage and performed a cleansing ceremony inside the defaced classroom. But the kids seemed unaffected. As community leaders spoke and parents repainted walls inside, they plucked bright yellow dandelions out of the grass.

Executive Director La Rae Wiley says that’s as it should be.

“To greet the day, we say [speaking Salish] 'We are grateful for the day, we are grateful for our health and we are grateful for our families," Wiley says.

She says that’s just what they’ll do when classes start Monday.

A police investigation into the vandalism is ongoing. A local company has offered to install a security system at no cost to the school.

This is not the first time Spokane has confronted racism. Vandals spray painted slurs along an outside wall of Spokane Martin Luther King Family Outreach Center last November. Back in March, anti-Semitic white nationalist posters were found in three locations in Washington’s second largest city. And late last month, anti-Semitic graffiti was found on the backdoor of the city’s community building.

Children between the ages of one and 11 attend the Salish School of Spokane, where they learn Salish -– a language spoken among many Indian tribes in the Northwest, including the Colville, Kalispell, and the Spokane tribes.

Community leaders including City Council President Ben Stuckart and Idaho Representative Paulette Jordan, who is a registered Coeur D’Alene tribal member, also attended the gathering.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network