In 2018, one of the largest homeless encampments in the history of the state of Minnesota developed on MnDOT’s highway right of way in Minneapolis in the American Indian Cultural Corridor on TH55/Franklin Avenue. The site was eventually occupied by between 200-300 residents, and many of the residents of the camp were American Indians representing many tribal affiliations. The encampment had difficult public health conditions, multiple deaths and fires. Residents of the camp deemed the adjacent noise wall the Wall of Forgotten Natives and an emotional connection to the site was felt by many.
NACDI partnered with the Minnesota Department of Transportation in the creation of a temporary art installation located on the chain-link fence currently at the site of The Wall.
NACDI/AMRA contracted artist Courtney Cochran to lead the artistic design, community engagement, and community art fabrication of the project. The artwork is composed of 23 4’x4’ fluted polymer panels that each have a letter in the foreground and visual imagery of a relevant Native topic or theme in the background. When affixed to the fence the letters spell out, “N-E-V-E-R H-O-M-E-L-E-S-S- B-E-F-O-R-E 1-4-9-2”.