Minnesota Has Two National Native American Monuments
November is native American heritage month. Alyssa Hayes from Explore Minnesota joined me on WJON today. She says the two monuments in Minnesota are located in opposite locations in the state. Hayes says Minnesota's two National Monuments provide insights to our country's Native American heritage and national history. Visit both for some of the richest scenery and culture Minnesota has to offer. More information courtesy of Alyssa Hayes below.
Pipestone National Monument: In far southwest Minnesota, the town of Pipestone derives its name from an area on its outskirts that has been a sacred site to Native Americans for centuries. Pipestone National Monument was established 70 some years ago to protect the site and provide Native American tribes access to the pipestone quarries. Today, visitors can take a three-quarter mile walk through the quarries, where they are likely to see someone working to carve out pieces of stone, in addition to native tallgrass prairie, a scenic trail to Winnewissa Falls. There is also a gift shop.
- Grand Portage National Monument: Overlooking Lake Superior on the northeast tip of Minnesota near the Canadian border, Grand Portage National Monument is a living history site established in 1958 to preserve and interpret the site's fur trade and Ojibwe history and culture. Open sunrise to sunset daily. The historic depot (reconstructed fur trading post from 1700s) is closed for the season, but the trails and heritage center are opened year-round, featuring historical exhibits, archeological displays, films and work by local artists.
Heritage Museums, Exhibitions and Events
- Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post: Day-to-day museum operations are closed for the season, but the on-site trading post remains open and offers Minnesota's largest selection of traditional and contemporary handcrafted, authentic Native American art and crafts. Seasonal events/programming are also offered, including an Ojibwe Moccasin workshop on Sat., Nov. 6
- Boise Forte Heritage Museum and Cultural Center: Tucked behind Fortune Bay Resort and Casino, the museum tells how the Bois Forte Ojibwe were told to wander west until they reached the “lakes with food,” shallow-shored lakes rich with wild rice. The exhibits honors many veterans, and features a replica of an early birchbark-covered dwelling. A small on-site gift shop benefits local artisans.
- Minnesota History Center “Our Home, Native Minnesota” exhibit (ongoing): learn about Minnesota's Native communities, including stories of survival, resistance, and resilience.
- Minnesota Timberwolves Native American Heritage Night, Nov. 18: Watch the Minnesota Timberwolves take on the San Antonio Spurs on Native American Heritage night at the Target Center. The Prairie Island Indian Community will perform their flag song and traditional drumming and dance.
Water Works Park Pavilion and Owamni
- The new Water Works Park is located along the banks for the Mississippi, on a historically sacred spot for Minnesota’s Native American communities. The beautiful site overlooks St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge, and the second story of the park pavilion hosts, Owamni, a nationally-recognized restaurant serving Indigenous cuisine. Visitors can enjoy green spaces, and Indigenous art and language interpretation throughout the site.
If you'd like to listen to my conversation with Alyssa it is available below.