Mancos Mural Recalls Importance of Bison in Native American Culture – The Durango Herald


The destruction of the herds was an attempt to exterminate the indigenous peoples, according to the artist

Artist Chip Thomas created a mural on a building in Mancos visible south of US Highway 160. (Courtesy)

A new mural in Mancos beautifies the view from US Highway 160 and highlights the town’s mission to support artists.

The Mancos Creative District commissioned the large photo mural from nationally acclaimed artist Chip Thomas, and it was completed this week.

He took black and white photos of a herd of Ute Mountain Ute Tribe bison and turned them into an animated mural on a building south of the highway.

Thomas is a nationally recognized artist and activist who aims to share the rich history of Indigenous peoples. He began putting up murals in 2009, with installations on Navajo Nation lands from Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon. His work is also featured on a building in Telluride.

In addition to being an artist, Thomas has worked as a physician at Inscription House Health Center on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona for over 30 years.

“The mural is a wonderful addition to the city – Thomas is known for his natural and cultural history pieces,” said Chelsea Lunders, Acting Executive Director of Mancos Creative District. The newspaper. “Most of our creative businesses are located downtown, so we wanted something that showed passers-by our identity as an artistic community.”

Bison images are from the Ute Mountain Ranch located off Colorado Highway 184 north of Mancos.

The mural was installed on a building owned by Jury Krajak at US Highway 160 and Monte Street. A QR code will be installed on the surrounding fence to allow visitors to learn more about the importance of bison to Colorado Utes.

The mural reminds viewers of the importance bison have to Native American tribes and the impacts of their loss.

“The systematic destruction of bison herds was an attempt to exterminate Indigenous peoples,” Thomas said in a press release.

A new mural of the bison from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe herd has been completed in Mancos. (Courtesy)

The disappearance of free-roaming bison herds in the West reminds Thomas of a popular Spanish saying in the San Luis Valley: “Con alambre viene el hambre,” or “With barbed wire comes hunger.”

Over the past year, the Mancos Creative District has expanded its commitment to supporting a wide range of public art, including working with the City of Mancos to help manage public art projects.

“Mancos is rich in culture and history, and we hope to see this reflected through many collaborations between our creative community and public and private owners,” said TJ Zark, President of Mancos Creative District. “We hope each project will create a will for more people to free up space for public art.”

The bison mural is the organization’s second public art project to come to fruition this year, following the installation of artist Veryl Goodnight’s ‘valley mascots’ hanging from the side of the fire department building. from Mancos on Main Street.

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