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.

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

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.

Continue reading