New Mural Bringing Awareness to Issues Facing American Indians

Two artists from Los Angeles have been working on the mural since early July

DULUTH, Minn. – A new mural is being painted outside the American Indian Community Housing Center on Second Street in Duluth.

For the past three weeks, two artists from Los Angeles have been putting their talents on display with the hopes of spreading a message of issues facing American Indian people.

“The floral is a beautiful tradition part of the Ojibwe culture so we wanted to rep that on her hat and the cape around her jingle dress,” said artist Votan Henriquez.

The wall outside the community housing center has served as Henriquez’s canvas since early July.

“I’ve done other murals before but his one by far is the best one I’ve done and the most detailed,” said Henriquez.

A collaboration with Honor the Earth and the AICHO, and a grant from the Enterprise Foundation brought the artist in to help with this project.

“The issues Duluth has been facing which haven’t been addressed, which is the missing and murdered indigenous women,” said Henriquez

The mural represents an Anishinaabe woman with a bandana around her mouth, much like the scenes found at standing rock.

“In 1994 there was an uprising, they asked them why they covered their faces. They told the people that it wasn’t important who was behind the bandana, but the fact that there was a human being behind it,” said Henriquez.

Henriquez wants that message to be carried out in his work and hopes to start a dialogue among people in the community that aren’t aware of what’s happening to American Indian people.

“We’ve become very egotistical and we need to step away from that a bit and collectively take care of each other,” said Henriquez.

“I think it’s incredible,” said Linda Powless, who came up to the roof to take in the mural up close. “She’s proud, she’s tall, she’s gorgeous. She’s a positive statement in this community.”