Sleeping Giant State Park sign spray-painted over with message: “Hobbomock; you are on native land.”


Olivia Kettell, Newscast: Associate Producer

Late in the evening on Thursday, February 10, Sleeping Giant State Park’s welcome sign was spray-painted over with a message reading “Hobbomock; you are on native land.”

A similar event was reported at West Rock Ridge State Park in New Haven. That sign, which is made of metal and not wood, had a slightly different message, reading “Mautumpseck; you are on native land.”

Park supervisor Jill Scheibenpflug will be in charge of the replacement and restoration of both signs.

“I just know that Thursday night at some point somebody came and sprayed the sign, and took a lot of time to spray it and stencil it,” Scheibenpflug said. “We don’t usually get stenciled graffiti.”

Scheibenpflug explained that while the occasional marking and tagging is not unusual in the parks, the message seen in this instance is a first.

“We usually get, you know, ‘Kathy loves Johnny’ or stupid stuff like that. But that’s the kind of graffiti we normally get, this is political,” Scheibenpflug said. “We don’t usually get political statements.”

Sleeping Giant’s sign will require restoration by hand, while West Rock’s will need to be replaced entirely. Scheibenpflug estimates that the replacement will cost taxpayers around $300.

“I was angry,” Scheibenpflug said. “I’m tired of spending money and we’re short-staffed as it is, and now we have to spend all this manpower trying to fix this stuff, and a lot of it we can’t fix, we have to reorder another sign.”

“I just refurbished that sign. I actually made that sign, I stenciled it and I hand-routed it and sanded it and stained it,” Scheibenpflug said. “I’ll have to sand it down and re-stain it and repaint it so I’m not thrilled.”

According to Scheibenpflug, there are better ways to spread a message than through vandalism.

“You work in parks, you’re not interested in their political statements. All you see is vandalism and with this particular sign, because it’s Sleeping Giant, I found that more people were upset about it,” said Scheibenpflug.

According to the Quinnipiac tribe’s legend, a spell was cast on the giant Hobbomock to sleep forever after his anger caused the change in course of the Connecticut River.

“The college is on native land too, there’s a lot of things that are on native land… but we know we are, and everybody’s heard of Hobbomock – Sleeping Giant Park Association puts it on the back of their poster, the whole legend and everything. It’s not like we’re dense about it and we don’t know that we’re on Native American land.”

Scheibenpflug also mentioned plans for an upcoming tribute to Native American land to be implemented within the park, as per Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines after the tornado that touched down in Hamden a couple of years ago.

“We are actually going to put a Native American sign on-site in a few months,” Scheibenpflug said. “After the tornado, FEMA came in and one of the stipulations was that we put a sign up recognizing that it was native land.”

While the graffiti will soon be erased with the imminent restoration and replacement, the message will linger as it was a first for Sleeping Giant State Park.