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Indigenous Estate is the Minnesota American Indian community’s response to the scaffold installation placed in the Walker Sculpture Garden in 2017, and the effort is being led by the Board of Oyate Hotanin.
Indigenous Estate is so named because we remain despite the malfeasance visited upon American Indian people that sought to extinguish, in part, our collective cultural property – our stories, lives, and images – part of our estate. Our stories and images have been denied or appropriated by non-members, devastating both our economies and our cultures.
We are leading community conversations and organized actions to include the American Indian narratives missing from most historical accounts, to correct the false narratives that are told, and to end the co-option of American Indian images, art, and thought. Currently we are working to remove harmful Dakota images in St. Paul City Hall murals. In August, we hosted Dakota Voice on Public Art, an online webinar that featured American Indian artists, activists, and leaders and drew more than 230 participants.
Our work in this area began with the Walker Arts Center’s 2017 “Scaffold” installation, which shone a light on the invisibility of Dakota people in Minnesota. Following this ill-conceived installation, we held a series of community conversations to help our community process and contribute to a solution, engaging more than 200 individuals to work in collaboration with American Indian thought leaders to convince the Walker to remove the Scaffold and change how the Walker engages and presents works by, about, and for American Indians.
The American Indian culture is an active and living legacy in the State of Minnesota, and our culture has been marginalized and denied. Indigenous Estate is creating solutions and ways to continue our heritage and create more space and resources that allows it to be kept it alive and functioning. We have survived. This is our heritage. We are the original culture. The first teachers, storytellers and artisans of this land.
This living culture continues to adapt, inspire and guide us, and all people living on this land.