This NSRGNTS mural, Ganawenjiige Onigam (She watches over Duluth) depicts a larger than life Ojibwe jingle dress dancer painted to look over Onigamiinsign, or what is now called Duluth. She stands, watches over and protects Ojibwe homelands occupied by the state of Minnesota. This was a collaborative project initiated by nonprofits Honor The Earth and the American Indian Housing Organization. Artists from NSRGNTS worked almost every day for over a month in August of 2017 to complete the mural and were given a warm welcome by the community at large. This mural stands tall at 30×25 feet overlooking the city of Duluth. The weeks leading up to its completion, families and community members flocked to the rooftop to meet with the artists and share food and stories, adding their own brushstrokes to help the artists along the way.
The mural depicts a native woman fulfilling her role as a water protector, a dancer, an Indigenous woman — she wears a bandana covering her face, a symbol reminiscent of both the collectivist ideologies of the Zapatista movement and the resistance and resilience of protectors at Standing Rock. The face covering also alludes to the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women in our communities; as rampant of an issue it is in Indian Country, it’s a topic that still doesn’t get talked about in mainstream conversations. Alone, as a water protector, she reminds of the dangers of big oil and the importance of the Great Lakes. These issues all come to a boiling point in the woman’s eyes as she gazes intently at passersby.