One hundred and forty six years after most of the Dakota were exiled from Minnesota, reclaiming Minnesota–Mini Sota Makoce, the Dakota homeland–is a goal of many Dakota people, even those who disagree on particular goals and tactics. Some are doing it with money, buying back the land one parcel at a time. Others, who do not have the money are using their bodies and their voices, risking and suffering arrest. Still others are working more quietly, using research, education, negotiation, and engagement to recover and re-establish the presence of Dakota in this region. All them are making an important contribution to the process. Successful movements to achieve change require all these complementary skills.
For any people dispossessed of their lands or exiled from their homeland, it takes the talents of many to reclaim what was taken from them or return to what they left behind, even though all who are involved may not appreciate that they are separate, complementary pieces of a larger struggle. It is a process that proceeds in fits and starts, concentrating sometimes on one place or another. At the moment a great deal of attention is being paid to the area of Bdote around the mouth of the Minnesota River, and specifically the Coldwater/Bureau of Mines property. The only unfortunate aspect of this current struggle to reclaim this area is that it may lead people to believe that this is the only place the Dakota care about. But in the months and years ahead, Dakota people, and those who support their efforts, will engage over many places in Minnesota, seeking to educate, to confront, and to reclaim. We hope to keep track of all the developments as they take place.