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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Spokane’s Lincoln statue vandalism is getting international attention after similar incidents on Thanksgiving

Red paint was splashed over the Abraham Lincoln statue at Monroe Street and Main Avenue. The vandalism was discovered Thursday morning.  (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)
Red paint was splashed over the Abraham Lincoln statue at Monroe Street and Main Avenue. The vandalism was discovered Thursday morning. (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane’s Abraham Lincoln statue was one of several monuments that received national attention after being vandalized Thanksgiving Day – some toppled, some doused with red paint and others covered with graffiti reading “land back.”

Dozens of news outlets across the world published photos of downtown Spokane’s vandalized Lincoln.

Sgt. Terry Preuninger, spokesperson for the Spokane Police Department, even spoke to CNN about the case.

Preuninger told CNN the investigation is ongoing, and the SPD told The Spokesman-Review that it hadn’t identified any suspects.

“The police department is aware it could be localized and unconnected or it could be connected to something larger,” Preuninger said. “We don’t know. We’re still investigating.”

Spokane’s incident comes as similar vandalisms were reported in Chicago and Minneapolis.

Some news outlets, including Fox and the Independent, tried to connect the dots between the statues nationwide and Spokane’s.

A Fox news article appeared to tie the vandalism in Spokane to a group identified as the Pan-Indigenous People’s Liberation network, but the article does not link to a statement and instead leads to a tweet from Unicorn Riot, which bills itself as a nonprofit “alternative media” source.

The only Thanksgiving Day incident Unicorn Riot referenced was in Minneapolis.

According to Unicorn Riot’s website, the statement from Pan-Indigenous People’s Liberation network said the Minneapolis vandalism was meant to “demonstrate our opposition to the vile white-supremacist ‘celebration’ of Thanksgiving, & show revolutionary solidarity between Indigenous & Black militants.”

The article including the Pan-Indigenous People’s Liberation network statement does not link to the original statement.

News organizations, including the British Independent and a Romanian outlet, have also reprinted details about the Spokane statue and the alleged connection to the network.

An organization by that name does not appear to hold a Twitter or Facebook account, nor a website.

Some outlets, including Fox and Daily Mail, have connected the vandalism to the “LANDBACK campaign” organized by the NDN Collective based on graffiti of the words “Land Back.”

The Daily Mail’s story features a picture of Spokane’s Lincoln statue with a caption that says it “was covered in red paint amid anti-colonialism protests in Spokane, Washington,” despite SPD saying no suspects had been identified or seen on surveillance footage.

According to the LANDBACK campaign’s website, “the closure of Mount Rushmore, return of that land and all public lands in the Black Hills, South Dakota, is our cornerstone battle.”

In a post about “decolonizing Thanksgiving,” NDN Collective recommended people honor November as Native American Heritage Month by “honoring the earth,” respecting land management and reading work by Indigenous people.

NDN Collective did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

Maggie Quinlan can be reached at (509) 459-5135 or at maggieq@spokesman.com

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