Native American pottery on I-40 tagged with graffiti

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Native American community is calling it disgraceful after graffiti popped up on pottery on I-40 between Eubank and Juan Tabo. They say it’s not only disrespectful to the artist, but the entire Native American community.

The City of Albuquerque unveiled the brand new Native American pottery by the Jemez Pueblo back in 2005 as part of a median landscaping project. Tuesday, the pots were tagged with graffiti.

KRQE News 13 spoke to Native American students who say artwork like this takes time and it won’t be an easy fix.

“I’m pretty sure it took more than a year and it’s going to take more time to preserve it, and bring it back the original way it was,” said Tyrese Ben, a Junior at Shiprock High School.

Each pot cost the city $10,000 and there are currently three pots in the median. The city spent an additional $500,000 for the landscaping around the pots. When graffiti appears on the artwork, the city has a way to remove it quickly without ruining the art.

“We’ve tested our cleaning solutions on the pueblo style art, and we found them not to have a negative reaction with the art,” said Marco Holloway of the Solid Waste Department.

Holloway says the city attempts to clean all graffiti within 24 hours of being reported, but for these Native American students, they say tagging Native artwork is completely inconsiderate.

“Not only do they bring disrespect to that person, but it’s like the whole tribe, because it’s like a tribe giving a gift to somebody,” said Marlyn Kaskalla, a senior at Shiprock High School.

“You’re not disrespecting one person, you’re disrespecting a culture, you’re disrespecting the whole people of the native people,” said Ben.

The graffiti has been removed and Holloway says if they catch the people responsible, they will be pressing charges. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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