The Language of Hope


I love this mural. It greets you as you travel east on Lake Street just past 31st Ave S. I’ve lived around the corner from it for 14 years and wanted to document it before the building is torn down to make way for a new Walgreen’s this winter. According to a sign on the wall, the mural’s title is “The Language of Hope” and it was dedicated September 25, 1999. MIGIZI Communications, a nonprofit working with Native American youth, owned the building and partnered with local muralist Marilyn Lindstrom and other arts programs to create the mural. The project involved 16 youth and 6 cultural artist mentors. The youth muralists were asked “How do you cultivate a Human Being?” Their response was to identify twelve elements essential to human life: Hope, Justice, Trust, Family, Love, Freedom, Purpose, Respect, Community, Peace, Basic Human Needs, Collective Work and Responsibility. MIGIZI has been working to advance a message of success, well-being, and justice for the American Indian community for nearly 40 years, and will continue to do that work from the Plaza Verde building further west on Lake Street. “Migizi” means bald eagle in the Ojibwe language.

Project Director: Marilyn Lindstrom

The Youth Muralists:
Ulises Lopez, Phia Vang, Zoe Summer Haas, Wiwastewia Day, Melinda Moux, Daniel Gomez, David Vang, Shandon Ferguson, Matthew Dunkley, Nicole Blackwolf, Sydney Latimer, Moses Gomez, Brandon Williams, Sonjee Chang, Choua Yang, Christina Mortan.

Cultural Artist Mentors:
Robert DesJarlait, Francis Yellow, Wallace Hill, Andrea Hill, Neng Lee, assistant Rush Merchant and co-director Gustavo Lira.

Photo: Hillary Oppmann

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