Letters: Commitment to Oceti Sakowin


From: Brian G. Mueller
President, Winona Dakota Unity Alliance
Fountain City

Communities matter. We value and cherish the beauty of this area and the people with whom we are connected. That is why so many of us call Winona our home. We are not the first to enjoy the beauty and benefit from the natural resources of this valley and the Big Muddy River. The Dakota, Annishinabe and Ho-Chunk nations all called this river valley home in the centuries before European colonization. Those communities still exist in exile, and we are committed to remaining connected to them and building a future together. As the new president of the Winona Dakota Unity Alliance (WDUA), I invite all the residents of Winona to connect with our shared past and build a future that includes all our relations.

Since 2004, the WDUA has organized and hosted the Dakota Gathering and Wacipi, which invite our Dakota relatives and the residents of Winona to come together and share culture, food, dance, and conversation. We have also hosted an annual education day for area students, so that the knowledge and traditions of the Dakota can be shared. In winter, we take gifts to be distributed to elders at the Lower Sioux Reservation. These are direct descendants of the community of Wapasha’s Prairie that thrived here before European colonization.

In 2012, the city of Winona entered into a Covenant of Friendship with the Dakota nations, tribes, and communities of the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires). In the spirit of that covenant, we are calling on the residents of Winona to join us in building and maintaining Winona’s commitment to the Oceti Sakowin and all other indigenous communities. Over the past few years, the number of Winona residents serving on the board has dwindled, and it is important that we show our Dakota relations that we are committed to building bridges between our communities.

We have big plans for this year, and we need the residents of Winona to step up and help us.

What can you do to help? We need Winona residents to serve on our board. We meet once a month and commit to extra organizing time in areas of interest and need. What we ask is that you have a respect for all people, a desire to make sustainable connections with our indigenous relations, and a passion for building community. If you also happen to have experience in organizing events, fundraising, grant writing, education, or logistics, that would be a plus!

We also need volunteers. We have year-round needs for help with fundraising, grant writing, education, outreach, and other important work. Whatever talent you have, we would benefit from your knowledge and energy.

More hands make for easy work!

Please email Brian Mueller at choirbri@yahoo.com or call 507-429-7368 if you are interested in serving on the board or volunteering.


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