The On Being Project is located on Dakota land.

Street view of The On Being Project's studios in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The On Being Project’s studio is located on Dakota land, in Loring Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Image by Lilian Vo.

About 12 miles away from The On Being Project’s central office, the Minnesota River joins the Mississippi River at a place called Bdote.

In Dakota, one translation of “bdote” is “where two waters come together,” and the bdote where the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers concur is an especially sacred site — the center of the world to the Dakota.

Bdote –
Bdote, marked by the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers, is a sacred place for the Dakota people. Image by Profit Idowu, © All Rights Reserved.

Bdote is a place that carries a complicated and layered history, in the thousands of years the Dakota people have been in relationship and kinship with the land here, and in the several hundred years since European settlers colonized the land that the state of Minnesota now occupies. The United States’ land seizures were a project of spiritual destruction that denied the Dakota free and unhindered access to the land that fundamentally shapes their identity and spirituality.

Today, 11 reservations are located within the state of Minnesota: four Dakota communities in the southern portion of the state and seven Ojibwe communities in the north. The On Being Project pays tribute to the Dakota and Ojibwe.

Jim Bear Jacobs (Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican) speaks to The On Being Project’s staff about the history of O-He-Ya-Wa-He, a sacred burial site for the Dakota. Image by Profit Idowu, © All Rights Reserved.

We invite you to consider the land on which you live and the confluence of legacies that bring you to stand where you are — particularly through critical reflection and conversation with your own community. We encourage you to use the resources below to assist in your exploration.

On the practice of land acknowledgment:

On Native American culture and history in Minnesota:

  • Bdote Memory Map – a wonderful resource for the Twin Cities that weaves together oral histories of important sites in the area.
  • Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota — a book that paints an intricate narrative of the Dakota people over the centuries in their traditional homelands and the stories behind the profound connections to the land that hold true today
  • Dakota 38 – a documentary that follows Native riders on a 330-mile healing journey from South Dakota to Minnesota in honor of those lost in the largest mass execution in U.S. history
  • Why Treaties Matter – a comprehensive and thoughtful exploration of the history of treaties and land seizure in Minnesota
  • Why Treaties Matter Resource Guide – a comprehensive list of additional resources specific to Minnesota
  • Attend a sacred sites tour – Native-led sacred sites tours can be a fantastic orientation to the land that makes up the Twin Cities. Two options are Healing Minnesota Stories and Learning from Place: Bdote

Related On Being interviews:

We are deeply grateful to the following individuals for contributing their time and perspective to helping us put together this acknowledgment: