Minda honored in mural | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Minda honored in mural

Although her people may be extinct, Minda Native American Sue Hurt is helping to keep her heritage alive with a colorful mural she is painting along a wall at the Tahoe Budget Inn.

“I’m the last of my kind,” Hurt said. “We date back to prehistoric times in Tahoe. But now all the Mindas married into the Washoe Tribe and I’m the only one left.”

Born and raised in South Lake Tahoe, Hurt, 35, feels a special connection to the place where her ancestors lived. Having been stationed overseas for many years, Hurt recently returned to her hometown after her husband died.

“I have deep feelings for Tahoe,” Hurt said. “My work speaks for itself and it will remain long after I’m gone.”

Located near the “Y,” the mural depicts the deep blue waters of Lake Tahoe and the green forest surrounding it. More importantly though, it tells a story of the people who have built their lives around the lake.

“I’m doing it for history,” Hurt said. “These are people that will be forgotten. I’m also doing it to help people remember that the lake is our heritage too.”

Manuel Burgos, the oldest Korean War veteran who lives at South Lake Tahoe, is depicted riding a bike up Ski Run Boulevard, while Hurt shows herself swimming across the lake, a feat she has accomplished three times in her life. More family and friends will have a part of themselves added to the mural as she finishes the painting.

Despite never learning how to paint, her natural ability is apparent in every brush stroke. Her creativity also extends into making blankets, rugs, clothing and basket weaving.

Hurt’s passion for documenting history through artistic expression was not lost on the owners of the Tahoe Budget Inn, Raj and Nayne Savbharia, who are helping to finance the mural.

“I was sitting at a friend’s house that faced the wall one day and the idea just came to me to paint a mural on it,” she said, adding that it’s taken her a month to paint the top half and should take another to complete.

As a homeless person, Hurt appreciates the generous donation from the Savbharias of painting supplies, a place for her to stay and food to eat.

“The mural is very nice and we try to provide whatever we can,” Raj said.

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