Learning from Place: Bdote
The Dakota language is
written on the landscape
of the Twin Cities
Due to COVID-19, the August and September itineraries have been modified to incorporate safe social distancing. We have reduced the usual $110 cost to reflect the changes. Please see event listings for an overview of social distancing practices and itinerary changes.
About the Workshop
Learning from Place: Bdote is an immersive experience that brings participants to sites of great significance to Dakota people in the Twin Cities. Participants will learn from Dakota community members through stories and histories that have often been left out of our state’s history. This experience is open to the general public and is particularly beneficial for educators who want to include new perspectives in their history curriculum.
Learning from Place: Bdote will begin and end at the Minnesota Humanities Center. Transportation to and from all sites, continental breakfast, lunch, and snacks are included with the cost of registration. K-12 educators will receive 7 clock hours.
Indigenous people of this place have the longest relationship to the land. Because of the nature of this program and experience, the fee is waived for indigenous participants. Contact Eden Bart at email@example.com before registering.
Bdote – Bdote is a Dakota word that generally means “where two waters come together.” The bdote where Ȟaȟáwakpa (Mississippi River) and the Mnísota Wakpá (Minnesota River) come together is central to Dakota spirituality and history.
Mounds Park – Dakota grave site that is thousands of years old. The mounds are representations of both the returning to the womb and the circle of life.
Wakan Tipi – Burial, village, and ceremonial site. It is a place where people have always gathered to communicate and make relations with the powers of the universe.
Fort Snelling State Park and Pike Island – The site of the Bdote. Also the site of the concentration camp for 1,600 Dakota women, children, and elders in 1862-1863.
Pilot Knob – “The hill much visited, or the hill of ancestors, relatives, relatedness.”
Participants are expected to attend the entirety of the workshop.
Learning from Place: Bdote will happen rain or shine – participants should dress appropriately for the weather.
Participants should wear comfortable walking shoes and be prepared to walk and/or climb on unpaved trails.
Due to the nature of this workshop, the length of the day, and the serious content matter, this workshop is not intended for young children.
Workshop participants will leave with:
A deeper understanding about Dakota people’s relationship to Minnesota.
A better understanding of the negative impact exclusion from the state’s history and narrative have on Dakota individuals and communities.
Increased awareness of their own conscious and unconscious biases.
Tools and resources to better engage their students and community in a fuller history of Minnesota and the Twin Cities.
7 clock hours for K-12 educators.
Ramona Kitto Stately
Ramona Kitto Stately is an enrolled member of the Santee Sioux Nation. Her educational background includes a BA in Dakota Art and Culture, and a MAE-Teacher Leadership. She worked in Indian Education for the Osseo Area School District 2005-2020 and has been the Chairperson of the Minnesota Indian Education Association since 2018. Currently she serves as the Project Director of We Are Still Here MN.
Ethan Neerdaels, Bdewakantunwan Dakota, is a graduate of the University of Minnesota – American Indian Studies/Dakota Language programs. He currently teaches the Dakota language at Augsburg University, and co-directs the Indian Education program at Osseo Area Schools. He also serves as the Executive Director of Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye, a 501c3 dedicated to reversing the trend of language loss and raising future generations of Dakota speakers.
What should I bring?
A water bottle and sunscreen. Depending on the weather, bring an umbrella or rain jacket. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Some people like to bring a notebook.
How rigorous is the hiking?
The day includes a total of approximately two miles of gentle hiking outdoors, mostly on flat terrain. Not all paths are paved or even. Individuals with limited mobility may have difficulty.
Will you cancel a trip if it is raining?
The trip takes place rain or shine so come prepared for the weather. If there is lightening or heavy rain, we will stay on the bus as needed.
Does the bus have air-conditioning?
Yes! We use coach busses for all of our Bdote trips.
What kind of access is there to restrooms?
There is a bathroom on the bus. In addition, several of the stops have either restrooms or portable toilets.
What can I expect for meals and snacks?
There will be a continental breakfast at MHC. Snacks are available throughout the day and a late lunch is provided around 1:00 p.m. We do our best to honor dietary needs (based on your registration).
Can I bring my child/children?
This experience is primarily intended for adults, however some middle school and high school students have participated with a parent or guardian. The day does require a fair amount of standing, walking, and listening. We do not recommend this trip for children under twelve. We do not offer a youth discount.
Do you offer trips for student groups?
MHC does not have the capacity to offer field trips for student groups. If you are interested in booking a private trip, contact Eden Bart (info below). We offer a workshop in September for educators who have been on a Bdote trip and want to take students on their own trip. Learn more about Teaching Bdote.
Can I bring my dog?
Sorry, but no pets allowed.
Do you offer discounts for groups?