Land & Water Acknowledgment
Meet Minneapolis acknowledges and honors the Dakhóta Oyáte (Dakota People), who are the original stewards of the magnificent land and vibrant waterways of Minneapolis. The Dakota, as well as Ojibwe and other Indigenous people cared for the land, lakes and the Haha Wakpa (Mississippi River) for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans.
Today, this place continues to hold significant spiritual and cultural importance for the strong, resilient and growing Indigenous community in Minneapolis and Minnesota.
This acknowledgement is just the start of our journey as we continually strive to tell the rich and diverse story of Minneapolis.
- We are creating partnerships and alliances, convening conversations, and creating increased engagement and consultation with our Native American community.
- We are actively learning more about the true history of the Indigenous cultures, customs and narrative of this place, so that we have a more grounded foundation with which to promote Indigenous art, culture, food, places of interest, and collaborations to our customers and visitors.
We invite you to learn more about the Dakota, Ojibwe and other Indigenous people of our area, as well as the non-colonial history of Minneapolis and Minnesota.
What was the process for creating the Meet Minneapolis land and water acknowledgment?
Meet Minneapolis was motivated by genuine respect and support for Indigenous people. Speaking and hearing words of recognition is an important step in creating collaborative, accountable, continuous, and respectful relationships with Indigenous nations and communities. We started with research in the tourism and hospitality industry, and reviewed education, government, and nonprofit organizations’ land acknowledgements. We developed a draft and reach out directly to local Indigenous community members for feedback. Their perspectives and approval were instrumental in our final land and water acknowledgement. We will continue to review our land and water acknowledgement annually to ensure that the language is still relevant.
When will Meet Minneapolis do land and water acknowledgments?
Meet Minneapolis will do land and water acknowledgements before public events, important gatherings and significant meetings hosted by our organization. We will also offer our land and water acknowledgement to groups who visit or do business in Minneapolis.
Learn more about the Indigenous peoples of Minnesota
- Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of Dakota: by Gwen Westerman and Bruce White about the Dakota people over the centuries in their traditional homelands, the stories behind the profound connections that hold true today.
- Minnesota Native American Lives: series (books for elementary students)
- Fort Snelling at Bdote: by Peter DeCarlo about the complex and contested history of Minnesota’s premier historical site.
- The Relentless Business of Treaties: How Indigenous Land Became US Property by Martin Case about how making treaties for land cessions with Native American nations transformed human relationships to the land and became a profitable family business.
- Star Tribune: How many Native American boarding schools were there in Minnesota?
- New York Times: In Minneapolis, a Thriving Center for Indigenous Art
- The Past is Alive Within Us: The U.S.-Dakota Conflict by Twin Cities PBS (1hour 56 mins)
- A Conversation with Native Americans on Race by The New York Times (6 mins)
- Dakota 38: Movie (1hour 18 mins)
- Know Where You Are: Bdote: Ramona Kitto Stately and Ethan Neerdaels guide viewers on a tour of several Dakota sites in the Twin Cities. (7 mins)
- Exploring Dakota Lands & Water: Dakota places names in Minnesota
- Little War on the Prairie: a 2012 documentary from MPR that aired on “This American Life” (2 episodes, 26 mins each episode)
- All My Relations Podcast: Each episode of All My Relations delves into a different topic Native peoples face today. This podcast is for everyone—for Native folks to be joyous, think critically about issues facing our communities, hear new perspectives, and for non-Native folks to listen and learn.
- Which Indigenous tribes first called Minnesota home?: This Curious Minnesota podcast episode features a discussion with Anton Treuer, professor of Objiwe at Bemidji State University about the Native Americans who inhabited the state prior to European settlement - and their tribal affiliations.
Understanding Land Acknowledgments
What is a Land Acknowledgment?
It is a statement used to open public events and gatherings that acknowledges the traditional Indigenous lands on which the host and/or audience stands. They offer recognition, respect, and are used to call attention to Indigenous peoples while inviting others to act in solidarity rather than contribute to their erasure and dispossession. Land acknowledgments counter the “doctrine of discovery” with the true facts of the people who were already here, and are still here. Acknowledgment by itself is a small gesture. It becomes meaningful when coupled with authentic relationship, informed action, and sustained commitment. But this beginning can be an opening to greater public consciousness of Indigenous sovereignty and cultural rights, a step toward equitable relationships, racial healing and reconciliation.
If you want to put together a land acknowledgement but aren't sure where to start, here are some local, national, and international resources:
- Honor Native Land: A Guide and Call to Acknowledgment
- A Guide to Indigenous Land Acknowledgement
- Native Governance Center Land Acknowledgement
- Beyond Land Acknowledgement Blog Series
- Illuminative Land Acknowledgment Guide
Who is doing land and water acknowledgments?
In the United States, the practice of land acknowledgments began with museums on the east coast and has progressively moved west over the last several years and spread to institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations, and local governments. After the 2020 Oscar land acknowledgment statement by Academy Award Winning Director, Taika Waititi, the movement has received more attention, both positively and negatively. The practice of land acknowledgments has been gaining momentum in the United States.
Why do some community members not support land and water acknowledgments?
Some folks are critical of land and water acknowledgements when the land and water acknowledgments are not followed by meaningful action. Acknowledgment without action is an empty gesture, exculpatory and self-serving. Meet Minneapolis have taken steps to help our staff learn new narratives about Indigenous people in Minnesota and become more cultural fluent in Indigenous cultures and histories. We have also created a welcoming and belonging space in our office for Indigenous community members. Lastly, we have developed authentic relationships with Indigenous community members and businesses.
Native American Resources and Organizations in Minnesota
- Minneapolis American Indian Center
- Native American Community Development Institute
- American Indian Cultural Corridor
- All My Relations Arts
- Minnesota Indian Affairs Council
- Minnesota Indian Gaming Association
- Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center (MIWRC)
- The Bdote Memory Map
- Healing Place Collaborative Website
- Why Treaties Matter Website
- Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye/Dakota Language Society
- We Are Still Here MN
- Guide to Indigenous Terminology