The On Being Project is located on Dakota land.

Image by Lilian Vo, © All Rights Reserved.

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 these resources to assist in your exploration:

General:

Minnesota:

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