The discovery of racist, anti-Semitic graffiti on a building at Indiana Dunes State Park last week has some area civil rights activists concerned about whether it was properly reported by state officials. The graffiti was discovered last week by area residents who regularly walk the park, and posted a photo on a closed Facebook page. They reported the incident to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the park.
“I am a frequent hiker of our local dunes trails. Friday morning, I was at Dunes State Park when I saw the graffiti on the pavilion. I was appalled that someone was so hateful to spray paint the swastikas and KKK graffiti on the pavilion,” said one woman, who asked that her name not be used.
She said she posted “the photo I took of the desecration” to the Dunes Action Discussion Facebook page and reported the incident to the DNR and the state park.
“My post had many comments, including one that said just before 7 a.m. on Thursday, another individual and her sisters found the graffiti. They also reported the graffiti. So a day later I saw the graffiti … the state park made no effort at that point within that first 24 hours or so to clean it up, did not encourage the construction gate to be closed to block the view, or make a temporary cover to hide this nasty graffiti from public view,” the woman said.
“I see on my post that someone observed that the graffiti was cleaned up by sometime Saturday afternoon. I suspect the DNR wants to keep this incident quiet … if so, shame on them,” she said.
“There was some graffiti found [Thursday] morning,” Ginger Murphy, deputy director of state parks for IDNR, said in an emailed statement. “We were saddened and disappointed to see it, and do not condone such ugly defacing of state property. “The incident is being investigated by DNR’s Division of Law Enforcement and we are working on removing the graffiti,” she said.
The graffiti, which included “KKK” and a Nazi swastika, is believed to have occurred overnight Wednesday or early Thursday morning, as another Facebook post said, “it was not there Wednesday at 4 p.m.”
Indiana State Police spokeswoman Sgt. Ann Wojas said she was “not aware” of that agency investigating the incident at the state park, saying “I would assume it’s DNR since they usually handle anything there.”
DNR Law Enforcement spokesmen did not immediately respond to requests for comment.