A community gathering Monday in Red Wing celebrated the unveiling of a large-scale outdoor mural honoring the Dakota people and Chief Red Wing.
“It matters that we know our history so we know where we want to go and where we want to go together,” Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan said at the unveiling in downtown Red Wing, held on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
“And this mural is a prime example of what that can look like when we tell the truth, when we embrace each other, when we work together across lines of difference — because that is what we are called to do as people who simply exist in this space and in this world together.”
The mural — 60 feet long and 18 feet high — is on the side of a city building at the corner of West Third and Bluff streets, overlooked by the landmark bluff He Mni Can.
It was painted in September by Colorado-based Native artists Jeremy Fields and Collins Provost-Fields of Thrive Unltd, who were picked by the Prairie Island Indian Community.
“Each mural section depicts local Indigenous relatives in their natural environments. The sections are divided by a sweetgrass braid and a red willow twist with local native wildflowers and medicines intertwined,” organizers said in a news release ahead of the unveiling.
Cole Redhorse Taylor, a Mdewakanton Dakota artist and a Prairie Island member, contributed designs to the painting.
The mural is part of the Honoring Dakota Project, “a process of community conversations and events that provide education to discover shared stories, bridge the communities, and create a space for healing.” Partners in the project include the Prairie Island Indian Community, Red Wing Arts, the City of Red Wing and Goodhue County.
“In the beginning, we all came together to bring a mural to the Red Wing landscape that would create space and honor the Dakota Indigenous relatives of the area. As we began unraveling the context and purpose of the mural, we realized collectively, the importance of relationship and the necessity of community,” Fields said in the news release.
“This project has come to embody shared experiences, family and tribal lineages, collective healing and much more. It has grown far beyond brush strokes and paint. We are creating a community legacy, of which the effects will continue to ripple for generations to come.”
Organizers of the project said the mural provides the first public portrayal honoring Chief Red Wing in the city that carries his name.