“Preserving, Protecting and Promoting the Dakota Culture for Future Generations”

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Wacipi Sept 10,11,12 2021. We are looking for donations to help fund our 21st Wacipi

Wacipi Sept 10,11,12 2021. We are looking for donations to help fund our 21st Wacipi – Pow Wow. We did not get our Pow Wow grant this year.

Our Wacipi, or Pow-Wow (Wa-chee-pee in Dakota means “they dance”) is a Native American celebration and social gathering where dancers and singers from across the country gather to celebrate their culture and tradition. The two most common types are known as traditional and competition Wacipi’s respectively. In traditional Wacipi’s, dancers are awarded day honorariums and participate in many different Native American ceremonies such as honoring’s, giveaways, and dances. A competition Wacipi on the other hand, has significant prize money available for the dancers and drum groups. While everyone can still compete and dance, only the dancers who place near the top of the competition receive prize money.

To continue our tradition as Mdewakanton people, MMDTC hosts a three-day traditional Wacipi during the month of September. We did not get our Pow Wow grant this year. The Wacipi is held outdoors on St. Peters Church grounds in Mendota, Minnesota. Breathtaking dance, accompanied by traditional singers, crafts, food, art, and drum groups grace the sacred Dakota grounds. Clothed in elaborate traditional dress, the Wacipi dancers and singers express the many stories of their tribes. Stories of honor and family, war and conquest, songs of joy, encouragement, humor, and mourning, expressed by song and dance.

It is a time for relatives and friends to come together to enjoy their culture and tradition, and for guests to learn more about Native American traditions. Hundreds of dancers, artisans, and drums groups throughout the Midwest participate in our Wacipi. The Mendota Mdewakanton Annual Wacipi is one of the very few traditional Wacipi’s in the metro area. We, the Mendota Mdewakanton Tribe firmly believe in keeping our Wacipi traditional, to keep our rich heritage alive.

 

We are the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Tribal Community (MMDTC), and our mission is: “To preserve, protect, and promote the Dakota culture for future generations.” We are a community of Dakota indigenous Native American people from the Mendota, Minnesota area and are direct Descendants of Chief Cetanwakanmani (Little Crow). In the late 1800’s, our ancestors and culture were nearly exterminated due to the attempted genocide of our people. We are the descendants of the survivors and formed an official community in 1994. Since then, we have dedicated ourselves to reviving and preserving our Dakota heritage and culture. Our main arts-based event is our annual Wacipi (Pow-Wow) where we express and share our arts, culture, heritage, and history the public. It is free and open to the public. During the Wacipi, we perform our cultures ceremonies of dance, drum songs, arts, crafts, and food. The goal of this GoFundMe is to raise funds to help us hold our 21st Wacipi (Pow Wow) on September 10-12th 2021.

The Dakota people are part of the “Great Sioux Nation” of indigenous Native Americans in the Minnesota, North, and South Dakota regions. It is estimated that there over 60,000 Native Americans living in Minnesota, all of which share a spirit of ancestry and cooperation. Many aspects of culture have been shared between the different tribes such as dances, arts, ceremonies, storytelling, and more.

In the United States today, there are no ethnic groups more oppressed than its own indigenous people. Throughout the country, Native American culture has been systemically and institutionally oppressed and, in many cases, eradicated. In the late 1800’s Minnesota Governor Alexander Ramsey put a legal bounty on the Dakota people in what is now the metro area. He placed a $200 bounty on the murder of our ancestors in their own indigenous land. This is only one example of the harshly brutal past that Native people endure. This trauma to our heritage has done catastrophic damage to all aspects of our culture and traditions. It is estimated that there are less than a handful people who can speak the Dakota language fluently in Minnesota today. We have no church, schools, or any institutional ways for our very existence to heal. It is because of this that our efforts to keep our culture alive are so vital. Through our various programs, we have been able to resuscitate our culture in many impactful ways. With this new project initiative, we aim to modernize and streamline our methods of outreach.

In 2021, our Wacipi had to be scaled back to meet covid-19 safety guidelines. This year we are looking forward to holding a full Wacipi, and we would appreciate your support to do it!

The Mendota Tribal Council.

Sharon Lennartson Tribal Chairwoman.