Recommendations Advanced to Restore the Name Bde Maka Ska to Lake Calhoun; Fort Snelling Community Conversations

Bde Maka Ska
Bde Maka Ska

The lake we now call Lake Calhoun would return to its original Dakota name, Bde Maka Ska (White Earth Lake) under recommendations forwarded by a key citizens committee to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Those recommendations also propose creating an interpretative area on the south shore of Bde Maka Ska to commemorate Cloudman’s Village, the Dakota settlement that existed prior to the arrival of European settlers.

If the Park Board approves the name restoration, it would still need approval by the Hennepin County Board and go through a process involving the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Healing Minnesota Stories and the Saint Paul Interfaith Network (SPIN) have gone on record in support of the name restoration.

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Fort Snelling Bearing Witness Retreat Planned for November; Update on White Earth Environmental Project

Fort Snelling 1844 (Photo from Wikipedia)
Fort Snelling 1844 (Wikipedia)

Fort Snelling is an important symbol of the domination and genocide the Dakota and other Native American peoples suffered at the hands of the U.S. government and white settlers. It is a history that needs to be remembered, mourned, and repaired.

Clouds in Water Zen Center is planning a “Fort Snelling Bearing Witness Retreat” this Fall for those interested in learning more about this history and seeking skillful ways to respond to the ongoing impact of historic trauma. The Retreat is open to people of any religious tradition. Healing Minnesota Stories is supporting this important work. Continue reading

Telling Minneapolis’ Hidden Native American History: A Difficult Road Ahead

The City of Minneapolis is working to research the sacred places and untold stories of the Dakota people and other American Indian peoples who lived here prior to white settlement — and who continue to live here today. City staff held a kick-off event Tuesday night at All My Relations Gallery to announce the project and get some initial community feedback.

About 50 people attended Tuesday’s meeting, at least half were Native Americans. They gave city staff an earful.

Sheldon Wolfchild of Lower Sioux and several other people mentioned how it is difficult for western researchers to get their minds around Native ways of thinking. It is not just certain spots here and there that are sacred to the Dakota people, he said: “Every inch is sacred to us.”

Several people talked about the importance of recognizing the validity of Native peoples’ oral traditions (and not just depending on written documents of white historians.) “Go talk to the Dakota elders,” Many Horses said. “They have the knowledge.” Continue reading