KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A western Michigan fountain that features a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American has been vandalized with what appeared to be red paint.

The substance was poured onto the settler and something resembling a hatchet was thrust into the top of the Fountain of the Pioneers in Kalamazoo’s Bronson Park.

City workers discovered the vandalism Friday morning. A hose and water were used to wash the substance off.

The statue and fountain were created by Alfonso Iannelli. Iannelli biographer and archive caretaker Tim Samuelson has said the Native American figure is meant to be respected as it’s firmly opposing the pioneer.

Some residents say the piece is racist. Others argue that it’s a work of art that can teach people about history.

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