As Dakota people, we consider Minisota Makoce (Land Where the Waters Reflect the Skies) to be our ancient homeland and we were the first human beings to call this place home. Yet, in the last two centuries, Dakota people were systematically dispossessed of our homeland and we currently reside on about .01 % (about one-hundredth of one percent) of our original land base within the borders of what is now the State of Minnesota. As a consequence, the vast majority of our people still live in exile.
The Makoce Ikikcupi project seeks to bring some of our relatives home, re-establish our spiritual and physical relationship with our homeland, and ensure the ongoing existence of our People. Our cultural survival depends on it.
We live in an age when our language sits on the brink of extinction. Our last fluent speakers of Dakota language in Minnesota number less than ten and are now all over the age of 70. The link to our knowledge about our cultural traditions is quickly fading. If we do not implement a way of living in which our language is tied to our daily activities, our language will die and we will lose valuable survival knowledge.
Further, in the coming months and years, as the globe continues to warm, the environment continues to be desecrated by industrial civilization, and cheap oil becomes more and more scarce, all populations must consider their future food security. Our physical survival depends on it.
Our dream is to acquire lands within our ancestral territory where Dakota people may establish new communities based on sustainability and adherence to our ancient ways of being. We hope to resume traditional practices of wild-ricing, sugar-bushing, hunting, and foraging in some places, while also growing our traditional gardens, reconstituting our traditional forms of governance, practicing our spirituality, educating our children, and throughout all these activities, speaking our language.
Through settler donations to this project, we have now purchased our first parcel of land in pursuit of this dream. We have 21 acres in Granite Falls, Minnesota where we are currently constructing three Dakota earthlodges. We hope this will be the first village site of many within our Minisota homeland.
We appreciate your interest in Dakota land recovery. Wopida unkenic’iyapi! We give you thanks!
The purpose of this organization is:
- to reconnect Dakota people to our homeland through land recovery in Minisota Makoce and the establishment of culturally-oriented and self-sufficient Dakota communities;
to recover and share the traditional knowledge that connects us to our homeland;
- to develop sustainable and regenerative practices that will help restore integrity to the lands and waters while living the ethic of mitakuye owas’in; and,
- to work toward land justice.
All funds, whether income or principal, and whether acquired by gift or contribution or otherwise, shall be devoted to said purposes.
Video by An and Jacob Bernier