In recognition of Indigenous People’s Day and Native American Heritage Month, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN) is formally launching its Indigenous Land Acknowledgement.
“We have a role to play in honoring and recognizing the many contributions of Indigenous peoples’ in Minnesota and to biking and active transportation,” said Dorian Grilley, Executive Director of BikeMN. “We hope this statement will be shared and recited often as a reminder of our gratitude and commitment to serving and partnering with Native Nations.”
BikeMN operates on the ancestral homelands of the Dakota, Ojibwe, Ho-Chunk, Cheyenne, Oto, Iowa, and Meskwaki people, and Minnesota is home to eleven distinct tribal nations. Across the state, there remain four federally recognized Dakota tribal Oyate (nations): the Shakopee Mdewakanton, Prairie Island Indian Community, Upper Sioux Community, and the Lower Sioux Indian Community.
“Our land acknowledgment is an important gesture of recognition and respect to the Indigenous peoples’ of Minnesota. We are grateful to be able to gather on this land and for the valuable contributions of Native peoples,” said Dorian Grilley.
Mni Sota (Minnesota) is the birthplace for the Dakota, with Bdote (where the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers meet) and Bde Wakan (Spirit Lake, now also known as Lake Mille Lacs) centered in Dakota creation stories. The Bdote area consists of many areas of historic and contemporary Dakota significance, such as Taku Wakan Tipi and/or Mni Sni (Coldwater Springs), and Oheyawahi (Pilot Knob).
The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota’s headquarters resides on land that was cared for and called home by the Dakota, Ojibwe, and Northern Cheyenne people and other Native peoples from time immemorial. This land holds great historical, spiritual, and personal significance for its original stewards: the Native nations and peoples of this region. The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota recognizes and continuously supports and advocates for the sovereignty of the Native nations in this territory and beyond. By offering this land acknowledgment, we affirm tribal sovereignty and will work to hold the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota accountable to Native peoples and nations.
Indigenous Land Acknowledgement
The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota has both historical and contemporary relationships with Indigenous peoples. Given that Minneapolis and St. Paul have always been a gathering place for Indigenous peoples, we acknowledge that this land, which is named for the Dakota, is the traditional and ancestral homelands of the Dakota, Ojibwe, Ho-Chunk, Cheyenne, Oto, Iowa, and Sauk and Meskwaki people and is a crossroad for Indigenous peoples. The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota recognizes the enduring relationships between many Indigenous peoples and their traditional homelands. We are grateful for the territory upon which we gather today; we respect Minnesota’s Indigenous peoples, the original stewards of this land; and we value the sovereign relationships that exist between tribal governments, state governments, and the federal government. Today, roughly 60,000 Native American and Alaskan Native peoples live in Minnesota. As a statewide nonprofit, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota is committed to serving Native communities throughout Minnesota in partnership with Native Nations and our Urban Indian communities through research, education, advocacy, and community outreach activities. Both the State of Minnesota and the United States Government carried out genocide, ethnic cleansing, and forced removal against the Dakota to acquire land. Yet, despite centuries of colonial theft and violence, this is still and always will be Indigenous land. Indigenous people are still here, demonstrating innumerable talents and gifts in the midst of continued oppression and colonialism. Indigenous people must be celebrated and uplifted.
We want to acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the Dakota people and honor with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations, including the Ojibwe and other indigenous nations. We acknowledge that this land, which is named for the Dakota Tribe, is the traditional and ancestral homeland of the Dakota, Ojibwe, Ho-Chunk, Cheyenne, Oto, Iowa, and Sauk and Meskwaki people. The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota recognizes and respects the enduring relationship that exists between many Indigenous peoples and their traditional homelands. We respect the sovereign relationship between tribes, states, and the federal government, and we affirm the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota’s commitment to a partnership with Native Nations and Urban Indian communities through research, advocacy, education, and community outreach activities. Both the State of Minnesota and the United States Government carried out genocide, ethnic cleansing, and forced removal against the Dakota to acquire land. Yet, despite centuries of colonial theft and violence, this is still and always will be Indigenous land. Indigenous people are still here, demonstrating innumerable talents and gifts in the midst of continued oppression and colonialism. Indigenous people must be celebrated and uplifted.
The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota staff and Board invite you to consider the land on which you live and the confluence of legacies that bring you to stand where you are through critical reflection and conversation with your own community.
More information on Land Acknowledgments
Native Land Map — a community-powered resource that helps identify what Native land you are on
“Why Treaties Matter” – learn from Native scholars about land treaties
A Guide to Indigenous Land Acknowledgment – considerations for writing your own land acknowledgment
Honor Native Land: A Guide — a step-by-step guide for writing a land acknowledgments
Native American culture and history in Minnesota:
Bdote Memory Map – an incredible resource for the Twin Cities that weaves together oral histories of important sites in the area.
Mni Sota Makoce: The Land of the Dakota — a book that paints an intricate narrative of the Dakota people over the centuries in their traditional homelands
Dakota 38 – a documentary that follows Native riders on a 330-mile healing journey from South Dakota to Minnesota in honor of those lost in the largest mass execution in U.S. history
Why Treaties Matter – a comprehensive exploration of the history of treaties and land seizure in Minnesota
Why Treaties Matter Resource Guide – a comprehensive list of additional resources specific to Minnesota
Attend a sacred sites tour – Native-led sacred sites tours can be a fantastic orientation to the land that makes up the Twin Cities. Learning from Place: Bdote
Mni Sota Makoce The Land of the Dakota
What does justice look like? the struggle for liberation in Dakota Homeland
The Land, Water, and Language of the Dakota, Minnesota’s First People
Native Governance Center