Celebrate new public art along the shores of Bde Maka Ska on June 8 at 10:30 am!

The decorative metal railing depicting Indigenous plants and animals and the Dakota word "Wowaditake," which translates to "Courage" in English

Photo by Bruce Silcox

The City of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) are pleased to announce the dedication of a new gathering space and public artwork at Bde Maka Ska on June 8, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. Festivities will include music, comments from descendants and artists, refreshments provided by The Sioux Chef and activities for the whole family. The event will take place rain or shine along the southeast shore of Bde Maka Ska, just south of the parking lot at W 36th Street and Richfield Road.

The idea to recognize an 1830s Dakota village that existed next to Bde Maka Ska was discussed for many years, but didn’t come to fruition until the MPRB adopted the Bde Maka Ska/Harriet Master Plan. The plan responded to the strong desire by community members to reveal and interpret the natural and human history of the lakes, specifically around the Native American history of the area. With funding for regional park improvements and support from the City’s Art in Public Places Program, the plan to recognize and honor this important site was realized.

The artwork includes a website, decorative railing and pavement stamps by artists Mona Smith, Sandy Spieler and Angela Two Stars honoring Maḣpiya Wicaṡṭa (Cloud Man) and Ḣeyata Ọtuŋwe (Village to the side), the Dakota leader and community that inhabited this area in the 1830s. The three artists collaborated on the entire design. Angela Two Stars conceived the pavement stamps depicting plants and animals significant to the Dakota, as well as selecting the Dakota words and phrases incorporated into the site. Sandy Spieler invented the overall railing design highlighting crops grown and harvested at the village. Mona Smith oversaw production of the website featuring information about Maḣpiya Wicaṡṭa, Ḣeyata Ọtuŋwe, and interviews with descendants and artists.

The City of Minneapolis’ Art in Public Places Program was developed by the Minneapolis Arts Commission more than thirty-five years ago. The mission of Art in Public Places is to enrich the lives of local citizens and visitors by integrating art into City planning, services, design and infrastructure. The Minneapolis park system hosts a variety of public art works, from the iconic Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and Minneapolis Institute of Art, to dozens of sculptures, fountains and other works scattered across neighborhood and regional parks and trails.

This work and many others can be found in seven different interactive public art maps tours of the City.