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Learning from the Dakota: Water and Place

These videos and audios are from Bdote Memory Map. The deep mapping project created by Allies: media/art is a partnership project with the Minnesota Humanities Center.  The website was created several years ago to help citizens of the area now called Minnesota know where they are, and to learn from the Dakota that this place and the river is not a resource, but rather a relative.

Writing the River

What does the river say to you? This is the core question posed by Write to the River, a creative writing project that I launched in partnership with the Twin Cities nonprofit Friends of the Mississippi River and photographer Tom Reiter, in spring 2017.

An Endangered River: The Mississippi River Gorge

Almost 500 river miles below its source at Lake Itasca, the Mississippi River tumbles over its only waterfall in downtown Minneapolis. Dubbed the Falls of Saint Anthony by explorer Father Louis Hennepin, the falls were formed by glacial action more than 10,000 years ago. The magnificent waterfall was once over 200 feet high and located in downtown St. Paul. Over the years, the falls migrated upstream to their present location in downtown Minneapolis.

Water Unifies Us All

A dominant narrative in media today tells us that American society is full of juxtaposition and conflict: rural v. urban, rich v. poor, black v. white, conservative v. liberal. We might get the impression that we must stick to our own in-group in order to feel safe and heard. And yet, there is an issue central to life as a Minnesotan regardless of how you identify or with whom you spend your time. That issue—clean water— is a necessity for life and good health.

The River is the Classroom

The Mississippi River flows just beyond the buildings on the University of Minnesota’s East Bank where my office is. Most days, as I have done throughout my 16 years here, I walk along the river to the classrooms where I teach. It would be hard to find a person on campus who doesn’t share a nostalgic fondness for the river as we glance at it, drive over it, and jog and bike across it. We are happy to claim the river under the bridges, across the…