Lac qui Parle Mission

Exterior photo of wood church.

The origins of written Dakota language

Exterior photo of wood church.

The origins of written Dakota language

Lac qui Parle is the French translation of the Dakota name, “Lake that speaks.” It was at this aptly named site that Joseph Renville worked with missionaries to create the first written Dakota alphabet.

The trails are open daily, from dawn until dusk. Trails are not maintained in the winter. The mission building is temporarily closed.

This site is managed by the Chippewa County Historical Society.

Jct of Chippewa County Hwy. 13 and County Rd. 32 Montevideo, MN 56265
lacquiparle@mnhs.org | 320-269-7636

Black and white photo of Lac quiParle lake.

What to see and do

Trail leading towards a historic church.

Trek the trails on foot or horseback. Keep an eye out for wildlife, as the nearby Lac qui Parle Wildlife Management Area means you may come face-to-face with white tail deer, geese, swans, nesting pelicans, and other animals who call the area home.

A bridge between cultures

Joseph Renville, son of a French trader and a Dakota woman, established the station at Lac qui Parle first as a trading post, and then as a mission. Fluent in French, English, and Dakota languages, he was instrumental in creating a written alphabet for the Dakota language.

Historical photo of Dakota text.