Arizona State Office Building

What's in a name? A lot, we learned, during last spring's brouhaha over Squaw Peak. But what do our state leaders do if the offending symbol is actually part of a state building?

Not much, apparently.

There they are -- swastikas -- carved right into the façade of the Arizona State Office Building in downtown Phoenix, home to the state's Department of Agriculture. As it turns out, the swastika -- then called a "whirling log" -- was a design element used in India, Tibet and Turkey long before Adolf Hitler hijacked it as the logo for his National Socialist Party -- and, ultimately, a universal symbol of hatred.

Ancient Native Americans used the "whirling log" in their artwork as well, including Arizona's Pima, Maricopa and Navajo, which is probably why it ended up as part of the Arizona State Office Building, erected in 1930.

But who thinks about whirling logs now? Not the Native Americans, who long ago signed a decree renouncing the use of the swastika on any artwork.

Guess it's harder to get out that sandblaster than it is to blast dissenters on a committee in charge of naming mountains.


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