We invite you to join us in amplifying Indigenous people, culture, and history through learning, supporting organizations, and creating a land acknowledgment.
Indigenous History in Minnesota
- The Minnesota Historical Society shares information and resources about Native Americans as it relates to the Bdote and Fort Snelling.
- The Minnesota Historical Society also specifically provides videos and numerous resources about the US-Dakota War of 1862, which had a profound impact in shaping present day Minnesota.
- 38 is a poem by Layli Long Soldier that recounts the largest legal mass execution in United States history: the hanging of 38 Dakota men. It offers context that allows readers to explore the intersection of their beliefs, emotions, and understanding of history.
Indigenous Culture, Values & Efforts
- Hoċokata Ti is the recently built cultural center in Shakopee, MN. Visitors can learn from exhibits and tours. Posted on their website are also educational videos about moccasins, lacrosse, and many others to help you learn about Dakota culture.
- Oyate Film elevates the voices of Indigenous activists, organizers, and politicians as they offer their perspective on history, contextualize the #NoDAPL movement, illuminate interconnectivity between the issues facing the Native community, and look towards a more sovereign and sustainable future for their people.
- What does Two-Spirit Mean? is a YouTube video where Geo Neptune explores the history of the term "Two-Spirit" and who it pertains to.
- Two Spirits interweaves the tragic story of a mother's loss of her son with a revealing look at the unknown history of a time when the wasn't simply divided into male and female and many Native American cultures held places of honor for people of integrated genders.
- Truthsgiving is a resource to help community members understand why Thanksgiving is time of mourning for many Native people.
Local Food & Drink Establishments
There are so many great organizations to learn about, connect to, volunteer with, and donate to.
- Wakan Tipi Awanyankapi is a Native-led, East Side environmental conservation nonprofit. Their mission is to engage people to honor and care for our natural places and the sacred sites and cultural value within them.
- Ain Dah Yung Center, meaning "Our Home" in Ojibwe. Their mission is to provide a healing place within the community for American Indian youth and families to thrive in safety and wholeness. They offer programming, resources, and emergency housing.
- Dream of Wild Health wishes to restore health and well-being in the Native community by recovering knowledge of and access to healthy Indigenous foods, medicines and lifeways.
- Pilot Knob Preservation Association is investing in the preservation of Oheyawahe (Pilot Knob). What can you learn and how can you help?
A land acknowledgment is a message at the beginning of a meeting or gathering that acknowledges the people whose ancestral and current homelands we are on.
Land acknowledgments allow us to pause and raise awareness, reflect, and relate to the harm that has been and continue to be done unto Native people. It also allows an opportunity to commit to action, heal, and move forward together. Read New Brighton's land acknowledgment statement.
While land acknowledgments began as organizational efforts, more and more individuals are crafting a personal land acknowledgment statement to share verbally, through email signatures, etc. Because land acknowledgments can be living statements that change as you learn and grow. Your first land acknowledgment does not have to be perfect. Explore the resources below to start your journey!
Land Acknowledgment Components
Every land acknowledgment should at least include the following three components:
- Acknowledgment the people whose ancestral and current home lands you are on.
Visit https://native-land.ca/ to learn more about territories, languages, and treaties.
- Make visible both the history and current realities of Indigenous people.
Native people have a deep history and culture beyond the impacts of colonization. Remember to share celebratory facts, but also be honest about the harm that was perpetrated by US federal and state government.
- Commit to action.
Determine what you can do beyond land acknowledgments as this is necessary in the healing process.
Additionally, consider the following:
- Be intentional.
Land acknowledgments can be a traumatic reminder of the history of genocide and oppression. What is it that you want your audience to know, feel, and believe after hearing your land acknowledgment.
- Be relevant.
Think of how you can highlight different aspects of Indigenous culture, history, or people as it relates to your work, audience, context, or topic.
- Be dynamic.
Land acknowledgments should evolve as your relationship to Indigenous people, culture, and history evolves. How can you keep life breathing through the words you speak?
Land Acknowledgment Guide
*To learn more, visit www.nativegov.org.
In the past decade, despite the growing awareness of the lack of diversity in children's books, books with Indigenous representation and/or written by Indigenous authors have remained around 1%. Supporting Indigenous books through purchasing or sharing is an important step to increasing this percentage. We have highlighted a few books for community members to explore. More titles, synopses, and reviews can be found at https://socialjusticebooks.org/booklists/american-indians/
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
Written by Kevin Noble Maillard
Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
We are Water Protectors
Written by Carole Lindstrom
Illustrated by Michaela Goade
The Star People: A Lakota Story
Written and Illustrated by S. D. Nelson
I Sang You Down from the Stars
Written by Tasha Spillett-Summer
Illustrated by Michaela Goade
Finding My Dance
Written by Ria Thundercloud
Illustrated by Kalila J. Fuller
Young Adult and Beyond
The book titles below are a small sample of the recommended reads of New York Public Library, Penguin Random House, and a freelance writer. They offer a wide variety of books including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, history, fantasy, etc. Because the Indigenous perspective to US history had been silenced for so long, it is important to read books that offer that perspective. It is also worthwhile to read nonhistorical books by Indigenous authors because Indigenous people are so much more than their experience with Western colonialism.
Cynthia Leitich Smith
"The thoughtful story of a Native teen navigating the complicated, confusing waters of high school -- and first love."
The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee
"An absolute must-read for anyone who wants to understand American history. Treuer delves into Indigenous history in the 20th and 21st centuries, examining how Indigenous people have shaped so many aspects of American life and culture."
Robin Wall Kimmerer
"Kimmerer is a scientist, writer, and gardener from the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. Her work explores the relationships between humans and the natural world, and is rooted in traditional Indigenous ways of knowing and learning."
Making Love with the Land
"A genre-defying collection of essays about nature, kinship, queerness, and language." Another title by Whitehead is Jonny Appleseed, which is a "funny, moving, original story about a 20-something Two-Spirit/Indigiqueer person living and loving and working and remembering in the week leading up to his stepdad's funeral."
"Through his large cast of interwoven characters, Orange explores a wide range of experiences among Indigenous peoples living in the United States."
The Only Good Indians
Stephen Graham Jones
"Part gothic literary horror, part social commentary, The Only Good Indians tells the story of four friends from the Blackfeet Nation in Montana who finds themselves in a desperate struggle for their lives against an entity that wants to exact revenge upon them for what they did on an elk hunt ten years earlier."
Daniel H. Wilson
"Not far into the future, the dazzling technology that runs our world turns against us. The human race is almost annihilated, but as its scattered remnants regroup, humanity for the first time unites in a determined effort to fight back."