Give 5: Indigenous People of Mni Sota Makoce


give fiveRochester Mom is starting a brand new resource series called Give Five. The idea of Give Five is simple. We are inviting you to Give Five minutes to read through each of these posts. The series will provide you with ideas, resources, lists, and suggestions on specific topics. We acknowledge that giving five minutes is just the start…a small step in a bigger journey we can all take to become allies to our BIPOC friends, family, and neighbors.

This series is intended to be a resource for YOU and your families. Topics will vary but all will be helpful as we work towards anti-racism and expand and diversify our understanding of race and diversity. Some resources will be collaborative with Rochester Mom writers, and for others, we’ll look to YOU! We want to know what you have learned on your own journeys and what resources have helped you along the way. Our goal with this series is to be a conduit of information: pulling together resources to help one another. We are learning ourselves and it’s been a challenging yet beautiful process. Will you join us?

November is Native American Heritage month, also referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. It is “a time to celebrate rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people” ( It is also important to learn about the challenges that impact Indigenous people specifically, both historically and today ( In this post we are focusing on the original inhabitants on this land we now call Minnesota. This collection is not comprehensive; instead, it is meant to be a starting point to learn more about the Native Americans in the area where we now live, from the past through the present.

Where are you?

A Guide to Indigenous Land Acknowledgment

This guide was created by the Native Governance Center, a Native-led non-profit organization that serves Native nations Mni Sota Makoce, North Dakota, and South Dakota focusing on rebuilding nations by leadership development and Tribal governance support programs. (


Native Land

Use this helpful tool to identify which native lands you were born, raised, and continue to live on. This website was created and maintained by an Indigenous-led, Canadian non-profit organization to help start conversations “about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations.” (


Mni Sota Makoce (Minnesota)

A Dakota phrase meaning “Land Where the Waters Reflect the Clouds–and the people’s roots remain strong” (Westerman & White, 2012).


Rochester, Minnesota

Rochester is established on the native land belonging to the Wahpeton tribe who were apart of the alliance called Oceti Ŝakowiŋ — The Seven Council Fires. Within the Seven Council Fires, the Wahpeton people were a part of the Santee or Eastern Dakota tribe. ( Anishinaabe and other Indigenous people also live in this area ( 



Oceti Ŝakowiŋ, The Seven Council Fires

Virtually view and learn about Oceti Ŝakowiŋ, The Seven Council Fires, artifacts here: Minnesota Historical Society

The US-Dakota war of 1862

Dedicate some time to visit the The US-Dakota war of 1862 virtual exhibit by the Minnesota Historical Society here:


Boarding Schools

Read about the history of boarding schools “used as a tool of ethnic cleansing” in Minnesota and across the US, here: National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition.

Indigenous Lives Today

Starting Point for Non-Native People


Facebook // Instagram

“Created and led by Native peoples, IllumiNative is a new nonprofit initiative designed to increase the visibility of – and challenge the negative narrative about – Native Nations and peoples in American society” (

Arts & Culture

Mnisota Native Artists Alliance

Facebook // Instagram

Supporting, highlighting, cultivating the work of Mnisota’s native artists.



Facebook // Instagram

An Anishinaabe artist located in White Earth, MN who creates Birchbark and Black Ash jewelry.


Native Roots Radio Network

Facebook // Instagram

A Native American radio talk show based in the Twin Cities focusing on “Mother Earth, Tribal and Twin Cities issues.”

Food & Drink

Owamni by The Sioux Chef 

Facebook // Instagram

420 1st Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55401

A full service, modern, indigenous restaurant on the shores of Hahawakpa (Mississippi).


Pow Wow Grounds 

Facebook // Instagram

1414 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

Native Owned Coffee Shop in Minneapolis.


Gatherings Cafe

Facebook // Instagram

1530 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404

An Urban, Native American community cafe that serves fresh, locally grown foods that are indigenous and prepared in healthy ways. 

Organizations to Support

Minnesota Indigenous Business Alliance 

Facebook // Instagram

Promotes and supports Native entrepreneurship in every form (


Mni Sota Fund

Facebook // Instagram

An urban Native Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) of the Twin Cities focused on “building wealth in the Native community”. Their mission is “to provide training and access to capital in order to promote home ownership, entrepreneurship, and financial capabilities among American Indian men and women throughout the state of Minnesota” (


Division of Indian Work

Facebook // Instagram 

The DIW’s “mission is to support and strengthen urban American Indian people through culturally-based education, traditional healing approaches, and leadership development” ( 


Bdote Learning Center

Facebook // Instagram

A K-8 Dakota and Ojibwe immersion and public charter school that provides students with “an academically rigorous education that is place-based, and rooted in Native language and culture of indigenous peoples” (


Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI)

Facebook // Instagram

NACDI initiates projects that benefit the Native community through partnerships to help Native people create the future they envision (


North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS)

Facebook // Instagram 

An indigenous non-profit focused on Indigenous education and food access (


This is not a comprehensive list, but rather just a place to get started. What else would you add?

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Erica was raised in Stillwater, MN and never thought she would leave the Twin Cities area. However, this extroverted librarian was on the hunt for a new challenge. At the end of 2018, she convinced her high school sweetheart, their two-year old son Milo, and their three cats to move to Rochester. She has been having a wonderful time exploring the area and later sharing her treasured finds with loved ones. In her spare time, Erica is constantly binging audiobooks and podcasts, wrangling her toddler, working on sassy embroidery and trying out new recipes (but dreads the clean-up). She has decided her new life’s goal is to convince friends and family, one by one, to move to the charming city of Rochester. Follow Erica on Instagram @ericarossmn