We acknowledge that our three store locations in Imni Ża Ska in Mni Sota Makoce (now known as Saint Paul, Minnesota) are on the traditional territory of the Dakota people, who have been deeply connected to the land within and beyond the boundaries of our state for centuries.
The Dakota language is found throughout the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs, from Mendota to Anoka. In fact, “Minnesota” is derived from the Dakota phrase “Land Where the Waters Reflect the Clouds,” while Imni Ża Ska refers to the white bluffs along the Mississippi River. According to the Bdote Memory Map website:
This is a place where Dakota people started. We were here to greet the explorers and traders who arrived in the 1500s. We were here to greet the soldiers who arrived in the 1800s.
We were here to greet the pioneers who arrived when our land was taken in a series of treaties with the United States. In the 1860s, we survived imprisonment in concentration camps and forced removal, and continue to know this place as our own. Today, we share our home with people from throughout the world.
As stated in Honor Native Land: A Guide and Call to Acknowledgement, “Acknowledgment is a simple, powerful way of showing respect and a step toward correcting the stories and practices that erase Indigenous people’s history and culture and toward inviting and honoring the truth.”
Native American Heritage Month in November and Indigenous People’s Day in October aim to celebrate the contributions and culture of Indigenous people; recognize the deep traumas faced by their community; reshape the narrative surrounding Columbus’ “discovery” of the Americas; begin to repair relationships with Native communities and with the land, and serve as a reminder that colonization is an ongoing process, with Native lands still occupied due to deceptive and broken treaties.
Here at the co-op, you can celebrate the importance of this month by shopping/voting with your food dollars and choosing to partake in Indigenous-inspired recipes, such as those found in Dream of Wild Health’s Youth Leader Cookbook.
Both Red Lake Nation Foods and White Earth Nation provide us with local, hand-harvested wild rice; Red Lake Nation Fishery provides Red Lake Walleye; and Native American Natural Foods is well known for their TANKA snack bars made by Oglala Lakotas on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota using hormone-free, grass-fed buffalo. We also carry Red Lake Nation wild fruit jellies and jams.
Later this month we will welcome candles from Sequoia, an Indigenous brand 100% owned and operated by Indigenous women, and products from Incausa, which works with Indigenous tribes, acting as a guide to bring their wares to the wholesale market pro bono.
By purchasing these items, you directly support independent, Indigenous, community-led food systems.