BREAKING NEWS Combat-ready Humvee stolen from National Guard Armory in Southern California Full Story
BREAKING NEWS Missing Oroville teen last seen in Oakland Full Story

Mechoopda mural vandalized, police investigating as possible hate crime

Two artists spent their Sunday repairing damage to the Chico mural they painted that depicts Mechoopda tribal culture

Posted: May 5, 2019 7:06 PM
Updated: May 6, 2019 8:32 AM

CHICO, Calif. - Chico police are searching for suspects after a downtown Chico mural was vandalized with white supremacist statements and symbols.

The mural stretches along the WeServ, Inc. building at 945 W. 2nd St. in Chico.

Mechoopda was a village community formerly located on Little Butte Creek, about 3 ½ miles south of today's downtown Chico. The people of Mechoopda spoke a language related to Maidu, one of the more than 175 languages and dialects once spoken in native California.

Mechoopda oral tradition does not include a story of migration, but rather makes reference to the beginnings of this world at a place known as Tadoiko, a few miles south of the village. It was here that a raft carrying Kodoyampeh (Earth Maker) and Turtle first came ashore on the soft, newly created earth. A large depression was visible there for centuries until leveled for agriculture in the early 20th century.

By 1850, following John Bidwell's acquisition of the Spanish Land Grant, Rancho Arroyo Chico, the Mechoopda moved to a former summer camp site located on the south side of Chico Creek near First and Flume Streets in what is now downtown Chico.

A few years later the village was moved downstream, closer to Bidwell's residence.

In 1868, the village was moved ½ mile west to its final location, eventually becoming the Chico Rancheria.

The people called this last settlement Bahapki ("unsifted"), rather than Mechoopda, because Indians from several different villages, and neighboring tribes, resided there as members of the Rancho Arroyo Chico work force.

“You have to know who you are.”—Henry Azbill (1899 –1973) MECHOOPDA MAIDU

It represents an early village scene of Mechoopda culture before colonization. Though the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria was only federally recognized since 1992, the tribute lived in the area before the Spaniards came and before the Gold Rush ensued.

Swastikas and the statements "white power" and "I stole your land b*tch" were drawn over the mural. Some of the paint was scratched into and broken off in areas. 

Action News Now reporter Luna Nas met with the artists to learn more about the mural and their efforts to repair the damage.

"It's very unfortunate this kind of stuff happens in the community," said Muralist Christian Garcia. "There's no need for any kind of racial slurs or the vandalism part of it. You know it takes five minutes to deface and vandalize something that we spent weeks and a lot of hours and put a lot of energy into." 

They said this kind of vandalism will not stop them from what they are doing. 

"The message that I have for anyone who wants to vandalize or target me and the work that I do is that I can't stop!" said Muralist Ali Meders-Knight. "And I'll be putting out this work in a positive way and a positive message and bringing beauty to this community, regardless." 

Meders-Knight contacted the Chico Police Department about the vandalism.

Police told Action News Now they are investigating the reported vandalism as a possible hate crime.

Meders-Knight said she plans on pursuing a civil case if police arrest a suspect.

The vandalism has now been covered up, and both artists said this will not stop them from their work.

(Please read the accompanying article to find out more about the Mechoopda Indian Tribe of Chico Rancheria - excerpt from their website, which can be located by CLICKING HERE.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2916309

Reported Deaths: 32851
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles98992813489
San Bernardino2450331560
Riverside2338992517
San Diego2068702037
Orange2059112277
Santa Clara899831040
Kern82398551
Sacramento791371062
Fresno79033904
Alameda64760768
Ventura57941401
San Joaquin55580738
Contra Costa49759410
Stanislaus41270730
Tulare39723494
Monterey34482248
San Mateo30694294
San Francisco28200241
Imperial24882463
Solano24654105
Merced23199290
Santa Barbara23184223
Sonoma22910234
Kings18453110
Placer16761173
San Luis Obispo14851125
Madera12778130
Santa Cruz11583111
Marin11244149
Yolo10097131
Shasta9594117
Butte9127120
Sutter743976
El Dorado739441
Napa711738
Lassen506713
San Benito477843
Yuba476626
Tehama391742
Tuolumne327936
Nevada307571
Mendocino305531
Amador294029
Lake237828
Humboldt226324
Glenn179819
Colusa16849
Calaveras151322
Siskiyou138812
Mono10804
Inyo88327
Del Norte8442
Plumas5735
Modoc3783
Mariposa3414
Trinity2994
Alpine730
Sierra690
Unassigned00
Chico
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 52°
Oroville
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 52°
Chico
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 52°
Red Bluff
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 62°
Red Bluff
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 62°
Chico
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 52°
We'll be dry and warm the next few days with strong winds Monday-Tuesday. We'll cool gradually through the week with a chance of showers Friday.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events