By Gail Lewellan
Working with Pilot Knob Preservation Association (PKPA) and the Pilot Knob Task Force, the City of Mendota Heights has applied to the State of Minnesota for $1,027,000 in capital bonding funds to improve accessibility and care for the land and to implement an interpretive plan for Oȟéyawahe. The proposal will be considered in the 2022 legislative session which ends in late May.
PKPA Board Member Juanita Espinosa (front row center of the photo below, next to Mayor Stephanie Levine) is an active member of the Task Force that recommended the funding proposal. She also is a member of the Indigenous Core Group working with a consultant to lay the foundations for the interpretive plan for the site.
Financial investment would improve the accessibility of the hill for people of all abilities while minimizing physical intrusions to the sacred character and open-space feel of Oȟéyawahe. Interpretive materials could be made available for the hundreds of school children and others who visit the site each year. A trail connection would be made to Dakota County’s Big Rivers trails, which would greatly increase the opportunities for people to learn about the presence of Dakota people at this place and their care for the land through generations.
Below: Members of the MN House of Representatives Capital Investment Committee, Dakota County, the City of Mendota Heights and Pilot Knob Preservation Association at the Seven Council Fires Overlook, on Oȟéyawahe, November 9, 2021.