Affectionate graffiti mars sacred Indian site

CHIMACUM — Graffiti expressing affection for someone named Miranda has marred one of the most sacred sites for an American Indian tribe in Washington state.

Jamestown S’Klallam officials learned last month of the pink and white painting of “I (heart) Miranda” on the towering Tamanowas Rock northwest of Seattle. The 43-million-year-old monolith has been used for millennia by Salish Native Americans for hunting, refuge and spiritual renewal rituals.

In the Klallam language, Tamanowas means “spirit power.”

“It’s an incredibly important site for us,” Annette Nesse, chief operating officer for the tribe in Blyn, told The Peninsula Daily News.

The Jamestown S’Klallam tribe bought the rock and 62 surrounding acres from the Jefferson Land Trust for $600,000 in December.

Standing more than 150 feet tall, Tamanowas Rock is made up of a pair of basalt masses that shoot up through a dense forest, offering sweeping vistas of Admiralty Inlet, Whidbey Island and the Cascades.

The graffiti is about 8 feet long from end to end in letters that are roughly 3 feet tall.

The area is a favorite spot for rock climbers. In the past, however, the worst impact they left behind was campfire remnants.

The “I (heart) Miranda” tag also was painted on the Uptown Theatre in Port Townsend last month.

“I don’t know who Miranda is,” Nesse said. “She must mean a lot to somebody, but painting it on the rock is definitely not the best way to express it.”

Nesse and Bill Laubner, manager of the tribe’s facilities, are determining the best way to remove the graffiti without damaging the rock.

Nesse doesn’t think the painting was done with malice. “I just think whoever painted that didn’t realize how important the rock is to us,” she said.

Tamanowas Rock, also known as Chimacum Rock, was listed on the Washington Heritage Register in 1976. The tribe also is seeking to have it added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The rock, believed to have formed from molten lava, was used as a lookout for mastodon hunters, according to tribal spokeswoman Betty Oppenheimer.

Caves formed from gas bubbles during the rock’s development were used for spiritual vision quests.

More in Local News

Fatal car crash reported on Highway 92 near Lake Stevens

The 3 p.m. accident and investigation stopped traffic in both directions near Machias Road.

Mayor Ray Stephanson’s official portrait, by local illustrator Elizabeth Person, is displayed at a farewell reception held in the Ed Hansen Conference Center at Xfinity on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Past and future on the drawing board

Everett artist puts paint to paper for outgoing Mayor Ray Stephanson’s official portrait.

Mayor tries new tactic to curb fire department overtime

Stephanson says an engine won’t go into service when the only available staff would be on overtime.

Cheering families welcome Kidd, Shoup after 6 months at sea

“I get back Daddy back today,” said one homemade sign at Naval Station Everett.

Paine Field fire chief will be allowed to retire

In his letter, the airport director noted Jeff Bohnet was leaving while under investigation.

Stanwood man, 33, killed in crash near Marysville

Speed may have been a factor, the sheriff’s department said.

County plans to sue to recoup costs from ballot drop-box law

A quarter-million dollars could be spent adding 19 ballot boxes in rural areas.

Boeing video is an education in itself

15 of the company’s female engineers read decades-old letters from women seeking to study engineering.

February trial set for suspect in deadly Marysville shooting

There had been questions about Wayne Alpert’s mental health.

Most Read