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MIGIZI Artists,
Our Common Well

Minnesota’s iconic public lands are under threat from toxic sulfide – ore copper mining that is being proposed on the southern edge of the Boundary Waters. This type of mining produces acid mine drainage which would surely pollute the Boundary Waters – a protected area known for clean water and incomparable scenery. Mine runoff would also harm the state’s natural wild rice beds.

Our Common Well is a project from the Native perspective, that celebrates the uniqueness of this landscape and highlights the interconnectedness of the plantlife, fish, birds, four-legged creatures, and humans that are all threatened. The installation features a protest camp experience among the wild rice beds of a northern Minnesota Lake in the BWCA, featuring storytelling, songs and an original audiovisual multimedia experience.

Produced by invited artists and Native high school students at MIGIZI Communications. This project presents a Native perspective on honoring and protecting the Earth for all species and for all time.


Contributing Artists:

Madeline Helling: Madeline Helling is a multidisciplinary artist, art educator, and puppeteer. She loves making art from trash and revels in cardboard engineering conundrums. The boundary waters is and has been a formative place for Madeline and she is honored and delighted to be creating with MIGIZI on this project. She is an Associate Artist at In the Heart of the Beast, a Coordinator at Adventures in Cardboard and a board member of BareBones Productions.

Graci Horne: Hapistinna [female given name; Dakota for third born girl] Graci Horne, better known at Graci, was born and raised in Mnisota [Minnesota]. Her bands are the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota people and Hunkpapa Lakota and Dakota people. She is a mixed media artist-acrylic paint, ink, watercolor, and also creates works in photography, puppet making, film, and poetry. Horne holds a degree in Museum Studies from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. Her specialty is curation and exhibition planning.

Binesikwe Means: Binesikwe Means was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe in Pine Ridge South Dakota. The name Binesikwe (Bi-Nay-See-Kway) is from the Ojibwe language meaning “Thunderbird Woman”. Binesikwe has worked as a teaching artist with In Progress for six years in many schools and tribal communities. She currently works for Migizi Communications as a Youth & Media specialist for First Person Productions; a youth led social enterprise that produces videos, design work and social media campaigns for small businesses and non-profits. First Person Productions has worked with the University of Minnesota, American Lung Association and Minneapolis Indian Education.

Tina Nemetz: Tina Nemetz is a mixed media cast iron sculptor, painter and parade artist. She images the fragile, yet enduring, transformation of female energy by combining native materials with the female energy of iron. She holds a BFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design and a MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Tina has worked with Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater, Women’s Art Resources of Minnesota Mentor Program. Tina’s heart belongs to community arts projects and empowering people.

Savage InstinctTroy Amlee, aka Savage Instinct, was born in Breckenridge, MN and raised in Minneapolis, MN. He went to South High for High School and participated in the All Nations program. He learned music production and spoken word through MIGIZI Communications in 2008 while still in the 10th grade. Through hip-hop workshops, Troy started a group called the 7th Generation Warriors that performed around the Twin Cities. He is involved  with the American Indian Movement, Idle No More, Native Lives Matter, which he helped co-found.

John Gwinn: co-founded the Phillips Community Television (PCTV) youth media program, engaging thousands of Minneapolis young people in both in-school and out-of-school time media production, before merging with Intermedia Arts in 2009. In December, 2008, he began working at Migizi Communications, directing media content development for First Person Productions and training American Indian youth in media production. He won the 2008 Minneapolis Mosaic Film Commission for his short documentary, In The Garden, which was also selected as the feature selection at the Square Lake Film Festival. Mr. Gwinn also directed A Divided City, 2006, a collaboration with Listen Up! Beyond Borders, and the Independent Film Channel.


Youth Artists:


Giovanni Perez Laroque

Jett Lenarz Red Eagle

Nia Stroud

Riah Stroud


Presented by Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters and Migizi Communications



Presented by


Minneapolis Central Library Children's Section, 1st floor

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9:02pm-2am each night
Madeline Helling
Graci Horne
Savage Instinct
Binesikwe Means
Tina Nemetz
John Gwinn