At first, this might look like an acknowledgement of the snow, the calm stillness that a snowstorm brings, and a celebration of everything that comes along with the four seasons in Minnesota. Bright white snow sparkling in the sunshine can bring moments of peace when the cold seems to stay forever. However, for the M, this photograph has a deeper story, one of interconnectedness.
In 2020, Executive Director Dr. Kate Beane, her twin sister, and her father, were successful in helping to restore the Dakota name to Bde Maka Ska. As changemakers at the forefront of this effort, Dr. Kate Beane and her family were fighting for more than a name, they were looking for representation of their family and community history in this specific place. This challenging effort was buoyed by community members, activists, and neighbors around the Twin Cities and Minnesota. The impacts of his historic moment were felt and applauded throughout the country.
In a TED talk Dr. Kate Beane gave in 2019 in Minneapolis on the lasting legacy of place names, she said, “One of the first places that we came to when we first came back to Mni Sota, my father took us to Lake Calhoun, and we didn’t see ourselves acknowledged anywhere there. Our family history, our connections to this place, were absent.” Because of their dedication, Bde Maka Ska’s Dakota name was officially restored, and public art on the shoreline is dedicated to remembering Dr. Beane’s ancestor, Dakota leader Maḣpiya Wicaṡṭa and the community of Ḣeyata Ọtuŋwe (Village to the Side) that inhabited the area in the 1830s.