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Chalk mural to commemorate horses slain by U.S. Army

A community art project in Huntington Park will pay tribute to roughly 900 horses that were slaughtered in an act of aggression by the U.S. government against Native American tribes.

From June 20 to June 29, community members of all ages will be invited to draw horses on a wall in the Tribal Gathering Plaza in the park. The temporary chalk mural, titled “900 horses,” will commemorate the horses killed in 1858 along the banks of the Spokane River near what is now the border between Washington and Idaho.

Although land east of the Cascade Mountains was off-limits to the U.S. Army, there were settlers, and some had been killed by tribal members. The horse killings, carried out by soldiers under the leadership of U.S. Army Col. George Wright and Lt. Col. Edward J. Steptoe, were supposedly to suppress an uprising by the tribes. An 8-foot-tall granite marker on the Centennial Trail now commemorates the site.

The mural drawing will be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday through Sunday and 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The artist leading the project, Ryan Feddersen, and assistants from Spokane Arts will prepare the space on June 19.