Dakota Interpretive Center: A proposal


From: Nicholas Guy

Mission statement

The mission of the Dakota Interpretive Center is to enrich our community by sharing Dakota legacy and heritage, to collect and preserve historical artifacts and documents of the Dakota presence in Southeast Minnesota, to foster quality and factual education of the Native American tribes in this country, and to be an inclusive center that presents actual history currently unavailable through public education.


• Create educational programs that enhance the understanding of Dakota culture and history through outreach to schools and universities, libraries, senior centers, adult learning centers, historical societies through traveling exhibits, living history interpreters and media.

• Expand knowledge of Dakota presence throughout the history of Keoxa: Homeland (Winona).

• Create full immersion language camps through programming set up by Winona State University and all area public schools.

Economic benefits

Strengthening the local economy is an important component of the center’s plan. The Dakota Interpretive Center would attract tourists and draw back Winona’s First Nations peoples.

Our proposed location is Unity Park, which is currently the location of Wacipi, Powwow, sponsored by Winona Dakota Unity Alliance. It is called Dakota Homecoming, a time for reconciliation between Dakota people and residents from the forced removal by earlier settlers of Winona and Minnesota.

If this center is approved and established in Unity Park, it would officially designate Unity Park as an official Powwow grounds. This designation would give national recognition to Winona. It would draw in much larger Native American tribes and tourists.

I proposed this to WDUA in October 2017 and it was endorsed by the full board. Unfortunately, the board has lacked resources to gain Dakota Elders’ support, which is unfortunate since it has taken me many years of scaling back my original Native Center to a much smaller idea of how to honor the Dakota people’s history of 13,000 years on the land that today is “Winona.” If you attend this September’s Powwow, please ask the WDUA Board to actively support my proposal to the city of Winona. This is an interpretive center that teaches reconciliation and differs vastly from a Powwow.

Miigwech: Thank you.
MITAKUYE OYASIN: All are connected.
Mino-Ayaa: May you live a long time
Gwiingwa’aage: Wolverine (this is my native name)


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