March 17, 2024

A Visit to Hoċokata Ṫi

A Visit to Hoċokata Ṫi
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for March 17, 2024
We were driving by Canterbury Downs in Shakopee and saw a large construction site actively at work.  I wasn't aware what was being built so I asked ChatGPT who told me the following:  
The big brick building being constructed near Canterbury Downs in Shakopee, Minnesota, is a new outdoor music venue. This open-air amphitheater, with a capacity of 19,000 seats, is part of a larger project expected to open in the summer of 2025. The project is being funded by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) and PCL Construction Services Inc. They are collaborating to develop a $400 million entertainment district in the area. Besides the amphitheater, the entertainment district will include a casino expansion, a hotel, a golf course, a water park, a multi-sport dome, retail spaces, and restaurants, aiming to create a comprehensive entertainment and leisure destination.
I had no idea this was coming to the area, but now that I do know I'm excited for summer of 2025 to get here.
Speaking of our local Native American Tribe, Miss Sheri had been asking to make a visit to Hoċokata Ṫi which is the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s (SMSC) cultural center and gathering space.  
It opened in July of 2019, but we'd never been here before.  We wanted to see their 3,805-square-foot public exhibit, Mdewakanton: Dwellers of the Spirit Lake, which their website says provides visitors with a cultural experience that enhances their knowledge and understanding of the Mdewakanton Dakota people and their history.
The beginning of the exhibit features a small theater with a neat multi-media set-up around a fake fire which makes you feel like you're in a teepee hearing stories from your elders.  It features tales of how the universe and human beings were created as passed down over the centuries from the tribe's ancestors.  I honestly found it to be pretty inspirational and very well done.
Miss Sheri is a big fan of eagles and always excited whenever we see one in nature.  So she was thrilled to see their display featuring an eagle's feather.  I'm not sure what they said about it as I forgot to read the display explanation, but I'm sure it was fascinating.

  Their pamphlet said the Dakota used canoes for travel and for Psinjhnaketu otherwise known as wild rice harvesting.  This dugout canoe was found in Lake Minnetonka in the 1930s and is almost 300 years old!  I'd sure like to ride in that thing.

I've always been fascinated with arrowheads, so this display of many of their hunting tools caught my attention.

 This book was pretty troubling to read.  It showcases the history of the land in Minnesota they once owned and how it was subsequentially "Negotiated" away from them throughout history through a variety of treaties with the US Government.  Pretty eye opening stuff.

 Before the age of Indian casinos, they didn't have a lot of money in their community.  They had an old trailer set-up to represent this era with a radio playing stories as told by tribe members for how they were treated in the community back in the day.  It was pretty powerful stuff.    

It's not a huge museum, but I was pretty impressed with it.  It does a nice job telling about the Mdewakanton Dakota people and their history.  If you're in the area and have an hour or two to kill, I'd recommend checking it out.  

On Saturday night, we connected with our buddies the Browns and the Zitzewitzes for an early St. Patrick's Day celebration.  They were serving corned beef and cabbage at the Savage Legion.  I draw the line at green beer for my celebrating, so enjoyed watching those who partook in that menu choice while I ate a burger instead.

Miss Sheri took this sunset picture earlier this week.  If you squint you can see a couple of trumpeter swans in the distance under the majestic hues painting the sky.  Ha ha.  I said hues.

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