Siloed: Reflecting on Ohio’s Native American History

On October 15, 2022, a clear, sunny day on the banks of the Maumee River, Toledo, Ohio celebrated the completion of the largest mural in America. A creative partnership between a nonprofit, local artists and backers, a paint manufacturer and an international grain processing corporation, the project involved the painting of 28 grain silos overlooking the Maumee River on the city’s East Side — requiring 2,864 gallons of paint and over a year to complete.

The subject? “The original agriculturists,” represented by a Native American elder, mother and child — more specifically, representatives from the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, Shawnee and Dakota — next to a glorious bloom of sunflowers on a sky blue backdrop. The message conveys hope for the city of Toledo, a grandiose homage that attempts to reposition the agricultural history of this region (and perhaps also that of America as a whole) to a much earlier time of human settlement on the continent.

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