Bde Maka Ska Gathering Place created with the team of Angela Two Stars, Sandy Spieler and Mona Smith with guidance from descendants of Ḣeyata Ọtuŋwe.
On the SE shore of Bde Maka Ska, Minneapolis, MN 2018 Commissioned by the Minneapolis Public Art Fund, and the Minneapolis Park Board.
This site honors the Dakota grounding of this entire region through the specific honor of Ḣeyata Ọtuŋwe (Village to the Side) and Maḣpiya Wicạ ṡṭa (Cloud Man)- the Dakota community and leader who lived here in the 1830s. The planning and creating of this site coincided with civic discussions to return the name of the lake to its original Dakota name. As such, the design and enactment of the art on this site provide a step of reparation for the history of Minneapolis—an act of bravery for the families and individuals who have been at the forefront of that name change/reclamation. It also invites bravery on behalf of all people to embrace a fuller history of this site by accepting the name reclamation of Bde Maka Ska.
May this work provide beauty, knowledge and reflection of this Brave Change
In the center of the site is a 4 Directions Circle, surrounded by Stone Boulders that spiral around the Circle, then down into the Lake. Pause here to notice the beauty of this place and the life that has mingled for many centuries and will continue to gather for years to come—the plants, the two legged, four legged, winged ones and swimming ones.
Angela Two Stars designed a walking path stamped with Dakota words and images of pertinent plants, animals, and symbols. By making visible the Dakota words, we remember that this is where the historically oral Dakota language was first translated into a written script.
Sandy Spieler designed the Railings along the walking path to reveal some of the food grown and shared at this site—Corn, Wild Rice, and the Three Sisters of Corn, Beans and Squash, and also Heron, Turtle, Rabbit, Crows. Angela designed the Woman shooing away the Crows, the Strawberries, Fish, Stars and Dakota words.
Mona Smith made a Website for viewers to gain beginning background on Dakota people and traditions and the specific history of Ḣeyata Ọtuŋwe through seeing and listening to Dakota people. Three major categories of the videos--Place, People, and Project --provide both an overview and invitation for more in-depth coverage of Dakota legacy. bdemakaska.net
Sandy’s thanks goes to Mona Smith and Angela Two Stars, her collaborators, to Sydney Beane and Kate Beane for holding the vision, to Ann Godfrey and Mary Altman from the City of Minneapolis Art in Public Places, and to Dan Elias and Colleen O' Dell from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
To Heather Doyle and Victoria from the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center and Hans Early-Nelson and Paris from Primitive Precision Metalcraft. To Brad Kaspari and Eric Papenfuss for computer work.
And most especially for Bde Maka Ska who gifted her with nourishing support and honest beauty each day.
photos by Sandy Spieler, Bruce Silcox, Colleen Sheehy.