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Monday August 19th 2019

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New public art at Bde Maka Ska

Photo by BRUCE SILCOX

The city of Minneapolis and Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) 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 and activities for the whole family.

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 Ọtunwe (Village to the side), the Dakota leader and community that inhabited this area in the 1830s. 

The three artists collaborated on the entire design with Angela Two Stars conceiving 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; and Mona Smith oversaw production of the website featuring information about Maḣpiya Wicaṡṭa, Ḣeyata Ọtunwe, and interviews with descendants and artists. 

The idea to recognize the 1830s Dakota village had been discussed for many years, but wasn’t formally adopted until the MPRB began the Bde Maka Ska/Harriet Master Planning process and 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. Funding came from the regional park improvements and support from the city’s Art in Public Places Program.

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