Next phase of interpretive planning and capital improvements on Oȟéyawahe

Indigenous planning process begins for Oȟéyawahe under Minnesota Historical Society grant

Oheyawahe is a place of cultural importance for Dakota people and of historic importance for the State of Minnesota. Good ideas abound for ways to learn about Oȟéyawahe while visiting the hill. But up to this time, there has been no unified plan for interpretation and visitor experience on the hill.

That is about to change.

Pilot Knob Preservation Association is working with Full Circle Indigenous Planning +Design, the City of Mendota Heights and Dakota County to create the next phase of interpretive planning and capital improvements on Oȟéyawahe.

Full Circle Indigenous Planning + Design is a 100% Native American-owned and operated, multidisciplinary research-based planning and visioning design practice. The first meeting occurred on Oȟéyawahe on October 11, 2023, and the second at Mendota Heights City Hall on November 16.

Oct. 11, 2023 planning meeting on the hill, Sam Olbekson, Full Circle Indigenous Planning photo

The desired outcome of this project will be an interpretive concept design that provides a guiding vision for engaging and educating visitors in the cultural, historical and natural resources of this Dakota sacred site. Design specifications for interpretation will be recommended for three entrances and two to three interior locations. The process enables engagement with Indigenous stakeholders to identify the histories that are appropriate to share and to ensure they are guided by an Indigenous perspective.

Nov. 16, 2023 planning meeting in Mendota Heights City Hall, Regine Kennedy photo

The project is funded under a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society and is the second phase in a four-phase project: (1) Indigenous development of themes for interpretation; (2) Concept Design for interpretation on site; (3) Development of text and images for interpretative modules; (4) Fabrication and installation of interpretive modules.

The project will identify concepts for three entrance areas and three interior locations, landscape design elements and interpretive themes. Preliminary plans will be available for review in May, 2024.

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