Honoring Indigenous People
In May 2023, Minnesota officially replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day. This marks a commitment to honor Indigenous people, culture, and history. It reminds us that there were many Indigenous nations thriving and stewarding the land long before the arrival of European settlers. It acknowledges the genocide, forced assimilation, and ongoing displacement of Native people in this country.
We invite residents to learn more about Indigenous history both in New Brighton and greater Minnesota, take action to counter the centuries of erasure and oppression of Indigenous culture, and remember to meet and get to know the incredible Indigenous people in our community.
New Brighton is committed to learning more about its Indigenous history as well as ensuring recognition and awareness of present day Indigenous people and culture. Our Equity Strategic Action Team and our Equity Commission will propose a Land Acknowledgement for the City to use. Additionally, City staff will work with community members to determine in what ways our community can go beyond acknowledgment.
To learn more about land acknowledgments and even create your own, check out our community resource page: Land Acknowledgment Guide.
Indigenous History in New Brighton
Around 1740, the Dakota people settled on the northside of Long Lake near the inlet of Rice Creek. They called their village Otonwewakpadan, which means 'Village on a Stream.' The Dakota people harvested wild rice in the creek and had a robust community. The French called it the Grand Village during 1700s fur trade. In the 1830s, a French geographer reported it was the largest Dakota village in the region. (New Brighton Area Historical Society)
Also in this area near Long Lake, Theodore Lewis diagrammed a map of a 85' x 11' burial mound in 1887 (right). Found in this mound were "human bone fragments, and pieces of pottery, pipes, arrowheads, and other items." (https://llianewbrighton.org/History-of-Long-Lake)
Additionally, the New Brighton Area Historical Society (NBAHS) has an arrowhead collection donated by Leone Aronson. The Aronson arrowhead collection was made by children searching for artifacts on the mounds in the area. Recent archaeologists have found little there, suggesting the village site was heavily disturbed by the stockyards and truck farming. The collection is currently the best evidence of early Native Americans in New Brighton; some items date as early as 5500 BC. (New Brighton Area Historical Society)
In addition to the arrowhead collection, the NBAHS website features a presentation about "The Dakota People on Long Lake."