EL PASO, Texas - The FBI is launching a civil rights investigation into the vandalism of the Nestora Granillo Piarote statue at the Tigua reservation in El Paso's Lower Valley.
The statue was splattered with red paint on October 9, 2017. A red wooden cross was placed next to the statue, which is located at the Ysleta Del Sur Cultural Center.
"It's unfortunate when we have to come together to talk about something like this, but it's also critically important that we come together to address it," said FBI Special Agent Emerson Buie," This is an act against our entire community."
"Hate crimes are a high priority for the FBI, the law enforcement defender of civil rights," said Buie.
The act of vandalism was "an attach against our entire pueblo," said Chris Gomez, Lt. Gov. of the Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo. "Not just the people of our pueblo, but the people who support our pueblo. We were overwhelmed."
Gomez said the statue was dedicated in June 2017. "Nestora Piarote was a strong female leader for our pueblo during a time when we were losing a land and we needed that type of leadership," said Gomez, "She is a matriarchal figure and we put up this monument, not only in honor of her, but of all the hard-working women in our pueblo."
Gomez said the statue has been restored, but will need professional work.
The FBI is adding $6,000 to the reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the crime.
On Monday, the Sociedad Cultural de España added $2,000 to the original $2,000 reward offered by the Tiguas.
Investigators believe the vandalism occurred sometime between 12:30 am and 7:30 am on Monday, October 9, 2017, Columbus Day.
Anyone with information, is asked to call the FBI's El Paso Field Office at (915) 832-5000.
Tips may also be submitted at tips.fbi.gov