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Minnesota Tribal Nations Plaza at new Gophers football stadium to be dedicated Monday

A plaza honoring Minnesota’s 11 Indian tribes — located just outside the new Gopher football stadium — will be dedicated Monday at 1 p.m. with such American Indian elements as a Dakota prayer, a traditional blessing of the sky markers, and songs by a traditional drum group.

The plaza, on the west side of the stadium, was built with a $10 million grant from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC). It includes 11 sky markers, each 18 feet high and each incorporating information about one of Minnesota’s 11 Tribal Nations with tribal flags, images and facts.

SMSC Chairman Stanley R. Crooks said: “We feel it is very important to tell the story of American Indians in Minnesota through this plaza. We all know that the history books haven’t always told our true story, so we commend the University for their efforts to include us. We hope that the Minnesota Tribal Nations Plaza will help others better appreciate the unique historic and ongoing contributions made to the state of Minnesota by the sovereign Tribal Nations who call Minnesota home.”

SMSC also donated $2.5 million for a matching endowment fund to provide scholarships for American Indian and other students.

The 11 tribal nations in Minnesota are:

  • the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa,
  • the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa,
  • Grand Portage Band of Chippewa Indians,
  • the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe,
  • the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe,
  • the White Earth Band of Chippewa Indians,
  • the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians,
  • the Lower Sioux Indian Community,
  • the Prairie Island Dakota Community,
  • the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community,
  • the Upper Sioux Community.

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