Museum mural highlights Native American Heritage Month

MILWAUKEE - In honor of Native American History Month, the Milwaukee Public Museum is shining a spotlight on Indigenous artists.

Local artist Jesus Avila is on a mission to preserve history. More than 570 tribes are represented in "We the People, All the Nations," a mural he created that honors the history of Native Americans across the United States.

"I think as a country, we've all experienced good and bad," Avila said. "Since the beginning. It's important to tell the stories."

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Avila worked on the 9-foot mural for nearly seven years.

"This is an aspect of our history, our life," longtime museum member Tim Tyson said.

<div>Native American Heritage mural artist Jesus Avila</div>
Native American Heritage mural artist Jesus Avila

From the Battle of the Little Bighorn to the Trail of Tears, the mural covers much of Native American history.

"They’re all about the United States and the history and I put images telling stories about different cities around the United States." Avila said. "I wanted to do something that would make a difference. That would tell the story of the greatest story in the world, it’s important to me."

The artwork is now displayed in the Milwaukee Public Museum as part of Native American History Month,

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"I'm very happy with this wonderful opportunity that the museum has given me to exhibit my work," he said. "And the questions that I get asked from visitors are just overwhelming and beautiful. And they just can't get enough of the information. It's all in the canvas, something you can read from the canvas."

Tyson said he remembers when most of the museum's Indigenous collection was displayed for the first time.

<div>Milwaukee Public Museum's A Tribute to Survival exhibit</div>
Milwaukee Public Museum's A Tribute to Survival exhibit

"Oh, this is amazing. I remember this exhibit when it was first brought here, and I remember when it [opened] up," Tyson said. "People from the exhibit standing out here, right next to me. I think the wonder of this whole exhibit is that we, all of us in Wisconsin, are a part of all this."

The Milwaukee Public Museum is offering free admission for Wisconsin tribal members throughout the month.