By Jeremiah Tucker, Capital Newspapers in Wisconsin:
When Kimberly Lane saw an online story about the sign for the Native American Church in the town of Lyndon being defaced with swastikas, she felt so disgusted she posted a link to the story on her Facebook page.
Not only did her friends share her outrage over the racially-charged vandalism, but they wanted to do something to help. This week they plan to present the church with a new sign to replace the one ruined by defacement earlier this month.
“I’m not really looking for recognition,” said Gretchen Pointon, owner of Absolute Imprints in Baraboo. “I just thought it was a horrible thing someone did and wanted to do something.”
Pointon contacted Lane after seeing the story on her Facebook page and told her she wanted to replace the sign. Together they made a corrugated plastic sign using materials from Pointon’s business.
Lane’s friends made a frame from treated plywood and they plan to enclose the sign in tempered glass donated from Pete’s Glass in Baraboo. That way, Lane said, if it is spray painted again, the church can wipe the paint off.
Lane said she contacted a member of the church, and he told her the congregation only required a simple sign.
“We didn’t want to do something simple,” Lane said. “With everything they’ve been dealing with they need a nice sign.”
Neither Lane nor her friends who helped build the sign are members of the Native American Church, but Lane said she is part Native American and is friends with some members of the church’s congregation. She said the church has faced harassment in the past.
“During (a friend’s) father’s funeral services there were people driving by doing the mock war cry,” Lane said.
The church’s sign was defaced overnight April 12, and the Juneau County Sheriff’s office indicated it was likely a hate crime.
“There is no proof that it’s a hate crime but with a swastika it’s kind of no-brainer,” Lane said.