Lower Phalen Creek Project starts constructing the Wakáŋ Tipi Center

Big news from the Lower Phalen Creek Project (LPCP): It started construction Aug. 29 on the Wakáŋ Tipi Center in St. Paul’s Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, and it secured $3.3 million from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council to daylight the first section of Phalen Creek, just south of Lake Phalen. 

This spring, LPCP also is going to announce a name change, “to better align our name with who we have become as a Native-led environmental organization,” it said.

You can learn about the organization’s ongoing work at “Keeping Up with the Creek,” its annual fundraising event, Thursday, Sept. 15, 6 – 8 p.m. at the Minnesota History Center. 345 W Kellogg Blvd, Saint Paul. Register here.

There isn’t a charge to attend. People are asked to make voluntary donations.

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Protecting our Sacred Water: A Gathering at the Headwaters, and other events

Photo: Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light.

You are invited to “Protecting our Sacred Water: A Gathering at the Headwaters” at Lake Itasca State Park, on the weekend of September 21-22.

As part of a global week of climate action, Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light and Honor the Earth will once again bring an interfaith voice to the environmental justice movement. Join us for our second year at the Headwaters of the Mississippi River for a community gathering and prayer circle to honor the sacredness of water. We’ll learn about Treaty Rights, pipeline routes, language and culture, and more. The weekend will culminate with a prayer circle at the Mississippi Headwaters in which leaders from every major faith tradition will affirm the sacred nature of water and our moral commitment to protecting life, and saying no Line 3.

Details on the Facebook Event Page. RSVP here. More events follow.

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Waniyetu/Winter Walk and Dakota Culture Talk Feb. 9 at Bruce Vento Sanctuary

(Map here.)

Register early – this event filled quickly last year! Join around the campfire as Jim gives an interactive presentation with visuals, objects, stargazing, and more. Jim will guide participants through Dakota culture as it is rooted in the nature sanctuary and Mother Earth. Included is a unique focus on the winter season and constellations. All ages welcome.

Your Ideas Sought on “Wakan Tipi Center”; Public Reading of The Capitol Play Project

The Lower Phalen Creek Project is seeking your thoughts/ideas/advice on the Wakan Tipi Interpretive Center that will be built at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary located just east of downtown St. Paul.

Wakan Tipi, also known as Carver’s Cave, is a Dakota sacred site. It is part of the Dakota origin story; it was place where pregnant women came to give birth. It was an important gathering place. Animal petroglyphs lined the inside of the cave until the cave was mostly destroyed by railroad construction.

The Wakan Tipi Center aims to honor, interpret, and educate the community about Wakan Tipi, its rich Dakota history, and the natural history around the 27-acre nature sanctuary. The new Center will have educational, ceremonial, and meeting space, and many other possible amenities. Your comments to a survey will help shape the Center’s development.

The Capitol Play Project: A Public Reading Sept. 9

Healing Minnesota Stories recently learned about The Capitol Play Project, a Wonderlust Production. We got invited to talk to one of the producers, who was interested to know more about the debates over controversial art in the Capitol and how that affected people’s experience of participating in democracy there.

Here is the announcement:

  • Public reading of the script first draft: Saturday, September 9th at 12:30 p.m., Senate Hearing Room G15, Minnesota State Capitol
  • Fully staged performances: January 19 – February 3, 2018, various locations all around the Capitol Building

The Capitol Play Project will be a series of site-specific live performances at Minnesota’s State Capitol, exploring the world of our capitol through story, song and movement. Content will be generated with, and performed by, a cross-section of the capitol’s community—from politicians and staffers to civil servants, building maintenance crews, security, lobbyists, researchers, reporters, and citizens who come to the capitol to advocate. Behind the doors, beyond the politics, into the heart of a place that is defined by governance, but driven by the people who work there every day.

Center Planned to Honor Dakota People’s Sacred Site and Heritage: Take a Survey to Help Shape the Idea

Historic stereoscope of Wakan Tipi (Carver’s Cave). Wikimedia Foundation

A nonprofit group wants to build an interpretive and visitors center to honor the Dakota sacred site “Wakan Tipi” (House of the Spirits, also known as Carver’s Cave) in St. Paul.

The idea comes from the Lower Phalen Creek Project, a group whose mission is to strengthen St. Paul’s East Side and Lowertown communities by developing local “parks, trails, ecological and cultural resources, and by rebuilding connections to the Mississippi River.” It was the lead agency in reclaiming a once contaminated rail yard and transforming it into the 27-acre Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, a site which includes Wakan Tipi.

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