November is Native American Heritage Month

Clear or Cloudy Water?

Did you know that November is Native American Heritage Month? Minnesota is home to eleven tribal nations: four Dakota, also known as Sioux; and seven Ojibwe, also known as Anishinaabe, or Chippewa.

A calm fall day on Nine Mile Creek. The leaves have fallen into the creek and the creek is low.The state name of Minnesota came from the Dakota word Mnisota, which when translated can mean clear water. Mnißota is another way Dakota speakers pronounce Minnesota, which when translated means cloudy water. It can also be translated to “the land where the waters reflect the skies”. Learn more at the Bdote Memory Map here:


In Shakopee, MN there is the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Organics Recycling Facility (SMSC ORF). This facility diverts organic trash from landfills and creates mulch, compost, and compost blends that are available for public purchase. The SMSC highlights the Dakota tradition of caring for the earth by operating this facility. The SMSC ORF is hosting a pumpkin drop off event during the beginning of November, which is open to the public. Let your pumpkin become compost instead of sitting in a landfill!  Learn more at their website:

Learn about Dakota Culture

Shakopee is also home to Hoċokata Ti, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community gathering space and cultural center. There is a 3,805 foot exhibit open for public viewing called Mdewakanton: Dwellers of the Spirit Lake. Visitors can get a cultural experience and learn about the Mdewakanton Dakota and their history. During November there are a few family-friendly events that take place at including a Dakota language lesson, traditional games, an art activity, movie, and guided tours. Visit their website here: