A conversation, 100 years in the making

At the time Gilbert commissioned much of the Capitol’s art, those assets tended to be created with a very particular point of view: that of the people who designed and built the Capitol, almost all of whom were male and white.

“Nobody sees the world as it is, we all see it as we are. From a Native perspective, there are 10,000 years of documented history in Minnesota before white guys showed up,” said Anton Treuer, executive director of the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University who's also a member of the Capitol Preservation Commission's art sucommittee. “The absence of real substantive acknowledgment of that is screaming out to me. It doesn’t happen very often that we have a chance to have this kind of conversation. They are going to remodel the Capitol every 100 years or so, and I think it’s an important opportunity to think about what we have, and what’s missing.”

Wrestling With Dark History

Wrestling With Dark History

While the Capitol undergoes a major, four-year renovation, a commission is scrutinizing all of its artwork. The group will consider tough questions like whether to continue displaying portraits of every governor in the state’s history, but the artwork depicting Native Americans is the most difficult task on the group’s agenda.

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