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Mni Sota Makoce

Our commitment to environmental stewardship rests on the place we inhabit and its history.

Minnesota, comes from the name Mni Sota Makoce, which translates into the land of the Dakota (Terrell, and Terrell, 2016). In the late 1600’s, Santee (Isáŋyathi) or eastern Dakota people lived in the greater portion of what is now Northern and Central Minnesota, which includes what is now known as the Minneapolis area (Wedel 1986, and Dobbs, 1990) in which there were established villages along the Mississippi River (Dobbs, 1990). The Santee (Eastern Dakota) are divided into four sub-divisions: Mdewakanton, Wahpeton, Wahpekute, and Sisseton, in which the Mdewakanton and Wahpekute communities lived along the lower Mississippi River and the eastern portions of the Minnesota River valley, while Wahpeton and Sisseton communities lived within the western Minnesota River valley and around the larger prairie lakes of southwest and west-central Minnesota. The villages of the river valleys and lakes were semi-permanent communities. Here the people of the village would take care of crops, fishing, and living off the resources of the river valleys and lakes. From these villages the Dakota would leave to chase game, such as deer and buffalo; and to gather other seasonal resources like maple syrup (Pond 1986).

Augsburg University acknowledges the Mdewakanton, Wahpeton, Wahpekute, and Sisseton communities who were here during the precolonial period, and who are still here.

More information available from the City of Minneapolis Department of Community Planning & Economic Development.


Written by Dwayne Williams (’18)


Works Cited

  1. Dobbs, Clark A. Historic Context Outlines: The Contact Period Context (ca. 1630 A.D.-1820 A.D.). In Minnesota History in Sites and Structures: A Comprehensive Planning Series. . Institute for Minnesota Archaeology
  2. Reports of Investigations, Number 39. On file at the State Historic Preservation Office, St. Paul. 1990.
  3. Pond, S. W., Jr.
1893 Two Volunteer Missionaries among the Dakotas or the Story of the Labors of Samuel W. and Gideon H. Pond. Congregational Sunday School and Publishing Society, Boston. 1986.
  4. Terrell, Eva B, and Michelle M. Terrell. “Native American Context Statement and Reconnaissance level survey supplement”. Two Pines Resource Group LLC. July, 2016.
  5. Wedel, Mildred Mott
1974 Le Sueur and the Dakota Sioux. In Aspects of Upper Great   Lakes Anthropology: Papers in Honor of Lloyd A. Wilford. Elden Johnson, ed. p.157-171. Minnesota Historical Society Press, St. Paul. 1986.