Honor Dakota Sacred Sites, Mother Earth, During World Peace and Prayer Day, Wednesday, June 21

World Peace and Prayer Day events in the Twin Cities start at 6 a.m. at Indian Mounds Park, St. Paul. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

World Peace and Prayer Day events will be held all across the world on the Solstice, June 21; here in the Twin Cities people are invited to participate in a daylong event where they will travel to various Dakota sacred sites and related events.

In an email to the Minnesota Indian listserve, Juanita Espinosa gave the following schedule of local events:

  • Indian Mounds Regional Park at 6:00 a.m. – Beginning in the east. Indian Mounds Regional Park is home to six Native American burial mounds high atop 450 million-year-old limestone and sandstone bluffs overlooking downtown Saint Paul. The mounds serve as a reminder of Minnesota’s history for future generations. At least sixteen burial mounds originally existed on the bluff top. Nineteen more were located further down the bluff above Wakan Tipi, also known as Carver’s Cave.
  • Powderhorn Park at 9:00 a.m. Gather for the Mni Wiconi Kids Run, which will be held in honor of Wastewin Gonzales and sponsored by Juanita Vargas, her daughter. Wastewin was born in her water sac; she came into the world complete.  She walked on as a young mother,  17 months after the birth of her daughter,  who now wishes to carry on with her mother’s desire to encourage young ones.  This run is for children 12 and under.  It is not a race.  Juanita’s aunties will assist her in preparing the young ones for the run around the lake in Powderhorn Park.
  • Nicollet Island at 12:00 noon, near Owamni Falls. Nicollet Island is the only inhabited island on the Mississippi River. This forty-eight-acre wonderland is a bucolic refuge, hiding right under the nose of Downtown. Many don’t even notice it as they drive over the Hennepin Avenue bridge to Northeast Minneapolis on the East Bank of the Mississippi, but it contains many marvelous secrets.  Here we will offer prayers to the waters.
  • Cold Water Springs at 3:00 p.m. Mni Owe Sni served as an important crossroads for Native Americans.
  • Oheyawahi/Pilot Knob at 6:00 p.m. Known to Dakota people as Oheyawahi, “the hill much visited,” Pilot Knob is a place of distinctive historical, cultural, and environmental importance, a sacred site, a landmark of Minnesota’s beginnings. Pilot Knob is located on the east end of the Mendota Bridge, south of Highway 55 in Mendota Heights, Minnesota. A portion of the hill is included in Acacia Park Cemetery. Here we will end our day, if you wish to bring a dish and/or a gift to share with others, you are welcome to do so.We will set up tables and gather at the circle directly north of the parking lot.

For more on the history of World Peace and Prayer Day, keep reading. Continue reading

Mni ki Wakan: Indigenous Peoples’ Decade of Water Summit

Brothers Wakinyan and Thorne LaPointe (Lakota) and their family are moving forward with plans to hold the first Mni Ki Wakan: Indigenous Peoples’ Decade of Water Summit later this summer. It will be an indigenous-oriented, youth-led, two-day conference, Aug. 1-2. Allies are invited.

More details coming soon on how to register and the conference itself, but right now there is a pre-Summit fundraiser being held Saturday, June 24, 6-9 p.m. at First Universalist Church, 3400 Dupont Ave. S., Minneapolis. The fundraiser will include indigenous foods (provided by the Sioux Chef), indigenous rights defenders, artists, presentations, and a short documentary related to the upcoming Summit.

Your presence and donations will support the inauguration of this Summit, which will become an annual event. Here is the Facebook Page for the fundraiser. Here is some additional background on the history behind Mni Ki Wakan: Indigenous Peoples’ Decade of Water Summit. (Click on the Facebook page for more.)

The Mni Ki Wakan: Indigenous Peoples’ Decade Water Summit emerged from humble beginnings more than a decade ago. With minimal or no funding support, a local youth program resolved to embark upon multi-day canoe expeditions. Paddling the ancient water ways of Dakota ancestors, our indigenous youth paddled every twist and turn of the original maps known to our predecessors since time immemorial. Armed with a map that portrayed the numerous small and large water ways and water bodies of the Great Lakes region, youth set out to explore, discover, experience, and recover the healthy perspectives and wise insights of our indigenous predecessors.

Amidst these enchanting explorations emerged a flagship event known as the Mde Maka Ska Canoe Nations Gathering. Today, it still engages and contributes to youth and community enrichment upon the surface of the largest lake in Minnesota’s largest city, Minneapolis.

Enbridge Line 3: White Earth Spirit Camp Forms; Upcoming Events

New Honor the Earth map on Enbridge Line 3.

A spirit camp has opened on the White Earth Reservation to carry on the water protectors’ traditions started at Standing Rock.  The camp is working to stop the Enbridge Line 3 proposal as well as promote unity among camps across the country doing the important work of protecting Mother Earth, according to William Paulson, Executive Director of the Oshkaabewisag Community Cooperative.

The camp is called MikinaakMinis-Turtle Island, and it has a Facebook page. Asked if the camp needed any support, Paulson asked only that people like and share the Facebook page and “be involved in the moment. Contact your elected officials and talk to them about this.”

Enbridge has an old and failing Line 3 (the black line on the map). Enbridge proposes to abandon that line in the ground and install a new, larger pipeline along a new route (the red line on the map.) That new route runs 337 miles across Minnesota, crosses the Mississippi headwaters and endangers clean lakes, rivers and wild rice beds, and all for nothing. Minnesota’s fossil fuel demand is actually declining.

Paulson said Enbridge Line 3 also crosses what is known as the “1855 Treaty area” (light green shaded area on the map). The Anishinaabe retain rights to hunt, fish and gather wild rice in this area. Enbridge and the state “are not discussing it on a government-to-government basis,” he said. [Enbridge is] trying to buy people off and go through.” The threat to the Mississippi’s headwaters is “unacceptable,” Paulson said.

According to the Facebook page, the camp is: “A support haven on beautiful land for community, culture, and traveling ambassadors for Mother Earth. Water is Life.” Paulson provided additional information about the camp in an email: Continue reading

Next Sacred Sites Tour June 24; Update on Enbridge Line 3; and Trump’s Review of National Monuments

Healing Minnesota Stories Sacred Sites Tour Now Open

Our next sacred sites tour will be Saturday, June 24, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Meet at Church of St. Peter, Mendota and the tour will car pool from there.

The tour centers around the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, what the Dakota refer to as Bdote, or “meeting place of rivers.” The tour stops include Fort Snelling, the site of the Dakota internment camp following the Dakota-U.S. War, and Pilot Knob Hill, a traditional burial ground.  Tours are led by Jim Bear Jacobs (Mohican) and Bob Klanderud (Dakota/Lakota), and offer an opportunity to learn about Minnesota history from a Native perspective through story telling. Come prepared for the weather (rain or shine), and bring your own snacks.

The suggested donation is $20-40 the day of the tour or on-line. Donations support Healing Minnesota Stories programs and events. Register names/email addresses at info@spinterfaith.org.

More items follow.

Continue reading

Please Attend Ceremonial Deconstruction of “Scaffold” at the Walker Sculpture Garden, Friday at 2 p.m.

A news conference at the Walker Art Center announcing the removal of the sculpture “Scaffold” was well attended by local media.

The controversial outdoor sculpture “Scaffold” will start being disassembled on Friday, according to a joint statement by Dakota elders, representatives of the Walker Art Center and the artist who created the work. It was part of a  mediation agreement, announced today.

The sculpture was to be part of the upcoming Grand Reopening of the Sculpture Garden, but it was quickly engulfed in controversy. The artwork depicts several historic gallows, most prominently the gallows used to hang 38 Dakota men in Mankato in 1862. Neither the artist nor the Walker thought to ask Dakota people for their reaction.  When the sculpture started going up, that reaction came fast and strong.

Please join the ceremonial start of the deconstruction, Friday at 2 p.m. at the Sculpture Garden. It is a large sculpture and it will take four days to remove it completely. The wood will be taken to the Fort Snelling area where there will be a ceremonial burning. That date is yet to be announced.

The Fort Snelling area has great significance to the Dakota people, with both positive and negative reasons. Fort Snelling sits at Bdote, the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, the area central to the Dakota origin story. It also is the site where Dakota women, children and elders were held during the winter of 1862-63 following the Dakota-U.S. War. Hundreds died there.

The artist, Sam Durant, has turned over all intellectual property rights to the sculpture to the Dakota people, and promised never to replicate it.

This is a first in a series of blogs on today’s news conference. For the full statement that came out of mediation, keep reading. Continue reading

Dakota Elders Support Rematriation of Sacred Red Rock, In-Yan Sa, to Wakan Tipi

Wolfchild talks about In-Yan Sa.

In-Yan Sa, the sacred red rock of the Dakota people should be moved to Wakan Tipi (also known as Carver’s Cave), one of the Dakota people’s sacred sites, Dakota elders say.

Sheldon Wolfchild (Dakota/Lower Sioux) has been leading Dakota efforts to “rematriate” the rock. (Rematriation because the rock is part of Mother Earth.) He visited Dakota elders in South Dakota and North Dakota to speak about the Red Rock and get their feedback. “This is an apolitical process,” Wolfchild said. “It is the elders who are in charge of our sacred sites and objects.”

The elders gave a positive response, and backed plans to move In-Yan Sa to Wakan Tipi.  Wolfchild announced the elders support at a meeting of Dakota elders and allies on Saturday at All My Relations Gallery.

In-Yan Sa used to reside near the Mississippi River near the Dakota village of Kaposia. United Methodist missionaries took the rock after the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862. The rock became a symbol of their church camps. The rock now sits outside Newport United Methodist Church, and calls have been growing from Dakota people for its return.

Bruce R. Ough, the Bishop for the United Methodist Church in Minnesota, agreed earlier this year to restore In-Yan Sa to the Dakota people. While that was a significant milestone, that commitment required serious conversation within both the Minnesota Annual Conference of the UMC and the Dakota community about next steps. Continue reading

Events: Unity March; Screening of Dakota 38

A Unity March is being planned for Friday, May 12, 3-7 p.m. from the State Capitol to the Governor’s mansion. The march is being organized by Wicapi Otto, who has opposed both the Dakota Access Pipeline and the proposed Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline expansion through northern Minnesota. But this march is about unity. This is what Otto’s event page says about the march.

We have all raised awareness as individual groups, from each civil rights group, to community awareness issues. While each group has their success in what they have done, I would like to bring all groups together to stand in solidarity and raise awareness that we are united … America IS Great when we are UNITED. While we unite our respective groups, we have not tried uniting our groups together and standing to raise awareness that we ALL matter. All groups, all ages, all genders, all races. The PEOPLE matter. As the motto of the United State goes “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”. Let us Unite, Stand, and Raise the Awareness that we are UNITED as the People of the State of Minnesota. We MATTER! We will March from the Capital to the Governors Mansion to raise this awareness and show the world we are going to be the first example of full unity.

Those who can’t walk that distance are welcome to join at any point along the march.

Dakota 38 Screening

The group Discussions that Encounter is hosting a screening and discussion of the film Dakota 38 on Thursday, May 11. at the Phillips Community Center, 2323 11th Ave. S., Minneapolis. A light supper and social time begins at 6:30 p.m., with presentation and discussion from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. All are welcome, free of charge! (Parking for the center is available free in their lot entered from 24th Street.)

According to the film’s website:

In the spring of 2005, Jim Miller, a Native spiritual leader and Vietnam veteran, found himself in a dream riding on horseback across the great plains of South Dakota. Just before he awoke, he arrived at a riverbank in Minnesota and saw 38 of his Dakota ancestors hanged. At the time, Jim knew nothing of the largest mass execution in United States history, ordered by Abraham Lincoln on December 26, 1862. “When you have dreams, you know when they come from the creator… As any recovered alcoholic, I made believe that I didn’t get it. I tried to put it out of my mind, yet it’s one of those dreams that bothers you night and day.”

Now, four years later, embracing the message of the dream, Jim and a group of riders retrace the 330-mile route of his dream on horseback from Lower Brule, South Dakota to Mankato, Minnesota to arrive at the hanging site on the anniversary of the execution. …

This film was created in line with Native healing practices.