Illuminate The Lock: Madweyaashkaa: Waves Can Be Heard by Moira Villiard
Minneapolis Park Connection

December 10, 11, 12 | 5:30 PM – 8:00 pm
Owamni-yomni / Gakaabika / Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam
1 Portland Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Free | Registration Required

An animated video collage projected onto the 400 x 50 foot wall of the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock wall is synced with a soundscape of music composed by Lyz Jaakola (Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe) and a recorded narrative by Dakota/Ojibway First Nation elder Millie Richard. Viewers will also find three silent video projections with flickers of imagery from the main video distributed around the lock. With images of the Grandmother moon (Nokomis), fire, earth, water, and the jingle dress dance entwined in swirling colors, Madweyaashkaa celebrates the resilience of Indigenous women on a spectacular scale. 

This piece will explore themes of homecoming and finding connection within ourselves to culture, ancestors, and nature, no matter how far away we may sometimes feel. From an Anishinaabe perspective, it is a reminder that Nokomis is always around, an elder always ready for us to reach out and willing to hear what’s in our hearts.

Production notes:
Moira Villiard is a self-taught, dynamic visual artist, Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe direct descendent, and current Minnesota-based community organizer.

Additional artist credits: Sound production by Jeremy Gardner of DanSan Creatives. Projection and process mentoring by Jonathan Thunder.

Madweyaashkaa is presented as part of Bring Her Home: Sacred Womxn of Resistance, an annual exhibition at All My Relations Arts gallery that invites Indigenous artists to reflect on the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.

This project is a partnership with All My Relations Arts, a program of Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI), Northern Lights.mn, Mississippi Park Connection and Mississippi National River and Recreation Area and is supported through a grant from the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board.

A note on place and language:
Owmani-yomni is ‘whirlpool’ in the Dakota language. Gakaabika is ‘severed rock’ in the Ojibwe language. Both are the names of the place where the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam currently sits, in the homelands of the Dakota.

Prior to colonial settlement, the Dakota lived along Owamni-yomni / Gakaabika and Ojibwe,Ho-Chunk, and other nations traveled through that place. It was and still is an important and sacred place to Ojibwe, Ho-Chunk, Dakota and Indigenous peoples currently living here.

What To Expect:

  • This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required.
  • Viewing of Madweyaashkaa will work like a gallery visit where visitors stroll around the perimeter of the lock chamber to view the projections. Chairs are not allowed.
  • This is an industrial federal facility and pets, alcohol, and smoking are not permitted.
  • Kids under 12 need to be supervised by an adult at all times. Strollers are not allowed on the lock.
  • The site is accessible. Please ask staff for any assistance with accessibility.
  • Some surfaces at the lock are metal grates; please wear appropriate shoes.
  • This event will take place entirely outdoors next to the Mississippi River in December, so dressing for the weather will give you the best experience! You can expect to be outside for at least 15 minutes.
  • One accessible portable restroom will be on site.

COVID-19 Safety Protocol:

  • If you are not feeling well, or think you might have been exposed to COVID-19, please stay home to keep your community safe.
  • This event will take place entirely outdoors.
  • This is a timed entrance event and registration is required. No more than 250 people will be allowed on the outdoor structure at a time.
  • Mask: Please wear a mask upon arrival and for the duration of your time at the event.
  • Social Distance: Keep a distance of 6+ feet from anyone who is not a part of your household, including the artists, park rangers, and staff.
  • If a viewing area is crowded, please wait until there is enough space for you to safely step forward. The video will run on a 6-minute loop, leaving plenty of time to view the entire projection.
  • We encourage you to bring your own hand sanitizer.
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