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What was once a Dakota sacred site may soon be returned

What was once a Dakota sacred site may soon be returned

Minneapolis, Minn. – in a country of such diversity, all around 8.75 million people identify, at least partially, as American Indian or Alaska Native.

In Minnesota, a state with more than 100,000 residents, the Dakota people have the largest presence.

Shelley Buck, who has dedicated her life to her culture and tribe, serves as president of friends of falls, She is pushing to transform the heart of Minneapolis’ Central Riverfront into an iconic destination that honors Indigenous history.

Friends of the Falls is working with the City of Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Park Board and the Dakota Nations to regain ownership of a historic section of the city’s downtown riverfront that was traditionally a Dakota sacred site.

“I want this to be a place to heal, connect and reconnect,” Buck said. “A place for education where we can educate people about things they weren’t taught as children and also a community building.”

The Dakota people went to Owamaniomani, which means turbulent waters, for the ceremony, and women traveled to Spirit Island to give birth. Both sites have experienced extensive damage and destruction since then.

โ€œFriends of the Falls has done a lot of work to reach a vision of what this place could ultimately be, highlighting it in a way that will set us apart as a city and set this special destination apart from anything else. Will do.” Search the rest of the country,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

Frey says that the acknowledgment of lost history is a part of the process. Another part is mending broken treaties, he said.

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Frey said, “This is an opportunity for us to use the same legal system that did wrong to right.”

Buck points out that it is rare for people to help tribes get their land back.

“And saying, ‘Here you go, this is your project. It needs to be Native-led and Native-focused, pay attention to that.’ You never heard of it,” Buck said.

The project started with non-native people. People like Kjersti Duval, CEO of Duval Companies, a real estate development and policy solutions company, helped protect the site in the first place.

“I was actually one of the guys that was there in the beginning,” Duval said. “The initial push was to prevent the site from further industrialization.”

Quickly, native leaders were brought on board. One of the biggest obstacles is getting work done to change the ownership of the land.

Duval said, “It has been extremely difficult to transfer this small piece of land from federal ownership to local ownership. Like I said, seven years, it should be easy.”

These leaders want their work to be encouraging and emulated in other parts of the country.

Duval said, “The wonderful opportunity to touch people that were once invisible became very visible, became an opportunity to learn.”

“I’m excited for it to be one of a kind and really something that can help other states work,” Buck said.

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