News: Wakan Tipi officially launched, climate change damaging wild rice, and more

In this blog:

  • Lower Phalen Creek Project officially launches Wakan Tipi Center
  • Archeological study approved for site of the Mdewakanton Dakota’s Kaposia Village
  • Climate change harming Minnesota’s wild rice
  • Sign “Honor the Treaties” pledge

Wakan Tipi Center officially launched!

On Indigenous People’s Day, Oct. 12, the Lower Phalen Creek Project held a virtual launch of the Wakan Tipi Center, an effort to preserve an interpret this Dakota sacred site. The initial fundraiser raised $52,000,

The Lower Phalen Creek Project is partnering with the Prairie Island Indian Community and 106 Group to nominate Wakaŋ Tipi Cave to the National Register of Historic Places.

Wakáŋ Tipi means Dwelling Place of the Sacred in the Dakota language. This is the traditional name for the cave in Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary now known to many as “Carvers Cave”. Dakota oral history tells of the nature of the sacred beings who dwell within the cave. The petroglyphs which once existed on the walls of the cave honored these spirits. Unfortunately, with the coming of European explorers, land developers, and finally the railroad, Wakáŋ Tipi was severely desecrated. The petroglyphs were destroyed, and explorer Jonathan Carver’s name was given to the sacred cave.

Lower Phalen Creek Project website

Wakan Tipi Center will:

  • Honor the significance of Wakan Tipi cave as a Dakota sacred site
  • Provide authentic Dakota interpretation of the culture and history of Dakota people in Saint Paul
  • Offer environmental education on the geology, urban ecology, restoration, and migration routes within and around Wakan Tipi, through an authentically Indigenous lens
  • Create space for cultural connections and healing through the arts and nature
  • Serve as a bold leader in Indigenous, place-based environmental and cultural work in urban settings

To donate, click here.

Archeological study planned for site of Mdewakanton Dakota’s historic Kaposia Village

The Lower Phalen Creek Project also announced it received Legacy grant funding through the Minnesota Historical Society to do an archeological study of the former Dakota village of Kaposia.

Lower Phalen Creek will partner with the local community group Boys Totem Town Land Preservation. The 106 Group, a cultural resource consultation firm, will explore the cultural history of the 80-acre Boys Totem Town Property in the Highwood Hills neighborhood of Saint Paul. 

The site lies on the bluffs of the Mississippi River overlooking Pigs Eye Lake. “A huge part of the work we are doing now is focused on reconnecting Dakota people to their lands, sacred sites, and burial sites in the city,” said Maggie Lorenz spokesperson for the nonprofit. 

To learn more about this project check out these articles from the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Climate change damaging wild rice

Peter David, a biologist with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, is worried about climate change’s impact on wild rice.

“Manoomin is a plant adapted to harsh northern environments, and nearly every prediction of change brings negative impacts to wild rice,” he told the Star Tribune last month. “We are already seeing failures of infrastructure on some human-made flowages that support rice with whole beds being uprooted after heavy rainfall events, which caused increased levels of disease outbreaks associated with wetter, warmer and more humid conditions.”

Peter McGeshick III, a rice chief with the Sokaogon Community of Mole Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, said seven reservation water bodies once grew wild rice. With increasing runoff and water levels, that number has dropped to one.

Click on the link above for more details.

Sign “Honor the Treaties” pledge

Please consider signing MN350’s Pledge to Honor Treaties. Here’s the link.

Here’s the language:

I acknowledge that treaties exist between sovereign Native nations and the United States government. As the supreme law of the land, they obligate us as individuals as well as our governments to certain responsibilities in perpetuity.

I pledge to read the treaties, work to understand and uphold my personal responsibilities, and to advocate for every level of government to uphold their responsibilities to Treaties.

I acknowledge that Treaties were entered into for many reasons, including creating peace and promoting stewardship of land and water.

I pledge to live as a good neighbor in active stewardship of land and water, and recognize that “We the People” includes all people.

I acknowledge that Tribal Nations have the right to self govern.

I pledge to support the right of Tribal self-governance, recognize the inherent sovereignty of Tribal Nations, remember that this sovereignty predates the sovereignty of the United States, and advocate for tribal sovereignty at all levels.

I acknowledge that I benefit from historical and current injustices of broken treaty promises and theft of Native ancestral lands.

I pledge to use my privilege and influence to bring an end to these injustices and to live a life of honor and respect.

I acknowledge that Native People have pre-paid, with surrendered land, for the provision of health care, education, housing and other services from the United States government.

I pledge to support Native People’s rights to these services.

I acknowledge the immemorial relationship Native People have with the land, and the obligation of all people, Native and non-Native, to help protect this land and all living beings.

I pledge to help protect this land and to defend the rights of others to do so.

I acknowledge that Native People retain the rights to hunt, fish, gather, travel, and harvest wild rice across ceded and unceded treaty lands. I acknowledge that Native People have a right to have a healthy ecosystem that makes these activities possible.

I pledge to support these usufructuary rights and to support Native People’s rights of peaceful passage and to be free of harassment while exercising these rights. I pledge to protect both unceded and ceded lands from environmental destruction that would interfere with these rights.

I acknowledge that upholding existing treaty responsibilities is the bare minimum that I need to do and that further reparations must be made.

I pledge to actively engage in this process.

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