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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.
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.
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 Minnesota National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA) is a 72-mile National Park Service unit along the Mississippi River as it flows through the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. MNRRA is an open secret in the Twin Cities, and it is not widely known as a national park, even by people who live and work within its borders.
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…