Dakota artwork is part of a public gathering space dedicated Saturday in Minneapolis along Bde Maka Ska.
The art honors a Dakota village from the 1830s that was next to the lake, also known as Lake Calhoun. Minneapolis city officials said the idea was to acknowledge the first people to call the area home.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board held Saturday's official dedication ceremony along the southeast shore of the lake. Artists and descendants of the Dakota who lived along Bde Maka Ska stood before dozens of people to pray in the gathering space where the artwork is featured.
"My work has always been focused on lessening the invisibilty of Dakota people in Dakota homeland," said media artist Mona Smith, who oversaw a website to accompany the artwork along the lake. "This does that."
The artwork dedicated Saturday is a collaboration involving three Twin Cities-based artists — Smith, Sandy Spieler and Angela Two Stars. Their work honors Mahpíya Wičhášta (Cloud Man) and Heyáta Otúŋwe (Village to the Side), the Dakota leader and community that inhabited the area in the 1830s.
Two Stars created pavement stamps depicting plants and animals significant to the Dakota, along with Dakota words and phrases. She said her medium is printmaking, so it was a natural process for her.
Two Stars' work focuses on Dakota language revitalization.
"The sidewalk stamps are visual image of animals and plants and then the Dakota word," she said, "so non-speakers can still connect the language to what it is they are seeing."
Spieler created the overall railing design highlighting crops grown and harvested at the village. Spieler said she wanted to show the generosity of the Dakota.
"This is still Dakota homeland," Spieler said.
Smith's accompanying website — BdeMakaSka.net — provides more information on people, places and projects related to Dakota culture.