Minnesota is a Dakota word that describes the reflection of the sky onto water, a well-known image in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. This is Dakota homeland and Dakota people, and Ojibwe people who also call Minnesota home, are thriving here today.
Native Americans—Dakota, Ojibwe, as well as people from other tribal nations—have been in this area for thousands of years and still live in Minnesota now. The new exhibit “Our Home: Native Minnesota,” opening Dec. 7, 2019, at the Minnesota History Center shares their stories, and their enduring presence and deep connection to the land.
“We constantly hear from visitors and teachers that Native stories are fundamental to understanding Minnesota history,” said Kent Whitworth, MNHS director and CEO. “And now we have a permanent gallery devoted to the stories of today’s Native communities. These are inspirational stories of survival, resistance and resilience that offer hope for the future. These stories show how Native people have retained cultural practices, teachings and values, and an essential connection to home.”
The exhibit uses historic and contemporary photographs, maps and artifacts to illustrate Dakota and Ojibwe life and relationships throughout history as well as long-held connections to the land. These artifacts include a star quilt made in 2014 by Gwen Westerman that references Dakota cosmology; items used by Ojibwe ancestors and people today to harvest wild rice and fish; and a panorama photograph from 1912 of the annual White Earth (Ojibwe) celebration with members of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (Dakota) in attendance.
The exhibit is told in first person to demonstrate to visitors that Native people are connected to their past and are still here in Minnesota today. Much of the exhibit text is presented in Dakota, Ojibwe and English. “Our Home: Native Minnesota” is a long-term exhibit that will incorporate new content every few years.
“Our Home: Native Minnesota” opens with a free family day, Dec. 7, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Visitors can enjoy acoustic music with Mitch Walking Elk, hoop dance performances by the Sampson Brothers, demonstrations of birch-bark biting artwork with Denise Lajimodiere and traditional games like kansu kutepi (dice game), tasiha (ring and pin) and cankawacipi (spinning tops) with Jeremy Red Eagle.
For more information, visit www.mnhs.org/ourhome.
Exhibit and Program Support
“Our Home: Native Minnesota” is made possible in part by the Legacy Amendment through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.
Opening weekend activities are supported by major sponsor, U.S. Bank, and associate sponsors 3M and Ecolab.
Major support is also being provided by the Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation, the George Family Foundation, the Rosemary and David Good Family Foundation, the Hardenbergh Foundation, and Lucy Rosenberry Jones and James Johnson with additional support from the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation, Thomas J. Arneson, the Athwin Foundation, The Kendeda Fund, Alta Marie Oben, and the Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation.
Location and Hours
The Minnesota History Center is located at 345 Kellogg Blvd. W. in St. Paul. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays (admission is free on Tuesdays from 3 to 8 p.m.), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Auxiliary aids and services are available with advance notice. For more information, call 651-259-3000 or 1-800-657-3773.
Admission to “Our Home: Native Minnesota” is included with regular History Center admission of $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, veterans/active military and college students, $6 ages 5 to 17; free age 4 and under and MNHS members. Buy tickets online.
About the Minnesota History Center
The Minnesota History Center houses the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society and is home to the History Center museum with innovative exhibits, Gale Family Library, café and museum store. The History Center is located at 345 W. Kellogg Blvd. in St. Paul. For more information, visit www.minnesotahistorycenter.org.
About the Minnesota Historical Society
The Minnesota Historical Society is a nonprofit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. MNHS collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota’s past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, educational programs and publishing. Using the power of history to transform lives, MNHS preserves our past, shares our state’s stories and connects people with history. Visit us at mnhs.org.
The Minnesota Historical Society is supported in part by Premier Partner Explore Minnesota Tourism.