Makoce Ikikcupi is now a nonprofit organization but it began as a project intended to help Dakota people recover some of our traditional homeland within Minisota Makoce (Land Where the Waters Reflect the Skies). It originated from conversations with Dakota solidarity activists about how to move from discussions about justice to concrete actions that would positively benefit Dakota people. Recognizing that white settlers continue to benefit from stolen land, activists sought to initiate a project of reparative justice that would have a tangible impact on Dakota people. Land recovery was key to this goal.
After reading Waziyatawin’s book What Does Justice Look Like? The Struggle for Liberation in Dakota Homeland, questions arose about the best methods for restoring Dakota people to the Dakota homeland. Recognizing that Dakota people using our own money to buy back land that was stolen from us does not represent a form of justice, solidarity activists hoped to help right this historic wrong by personally contributing to a land buy-back project. They began raising funds among themselves and other beneficiaries of land theft, genocide, and ethnic cleansing for this land recovery project.
In 2009, the local decolonization group Unsettling Minnesota kicked off the land recovery project with “An Evening of Reparations.” This fundraising dinner and silent auction was held in Minneapolis and the proceeds launched the first Dakota land restoration project in Minnesota.
In June 2015, Makoce Ikikcupi received 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. At this stage, the nonprofit is accepting settler donations that will go toward the purchase of land parcels. The acquisition of land not only will provide a land-base for landless Dakota people to establish sustainable communities, it will also help provide access to places where traditional food ways may be practiced.