Because Saint Paul’s river flows through Dakota homeland, Great River Passage Conservancy has been working since its inception to cultivate relationships with tribal communities and ensure indigenous leaders play an active role in every step of the design process. In 2019, a Dakota convening was held to bring tribal nation partners and native community members together to discuss the many capital projects proposed, planned and underway on the Saint Paul stretch of the Mississippi River. Based on feedback from this convening and further discussion, Great River Passage Conservancy began partnering with Full Circle Indigenous Planning + Design to increase indigenous community member participation in project discussions. This collaboration is an ongoing collaborative effort to shape a shared vision for our work along the river that preserves and honors indigenous culture and heritage.
The Mississippi River Learning Center lies within B’dote, a sacred site to Dakota people, which is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. We are committed to designing the River Learning Center in ways that support cultural and historic preservation.
The River Balcony offers spectacular views of the Mississippi River in Saint Paul, which was called “Imnizaska” by the Dakota for the “white rock” bluffs along the river. Great River Passage Conservancy worked with Full Circle during the schematic design process to bring Indigenous voices to the planning process.
Equitable and inclusive design for the East Side River District is essential because the area is home to sacred and significant Dakota sites, and the 1,000-acre site has been long neglected as a place of recreation and preservation—both cultural and natural. Great River Passage Conservancy is currently seeking funding to begin the design process for the East Side River District, and more information will be added as the project moves forward.