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.

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