Bdote – The Center of Dakota Creation

Bdote – The Center of Dakota Creation

A view of Bdote from artist Seth Eastman.
A view of Bdote from artist Seth Eastman. MNHS Collections

The confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers is located almost directly between the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.  Just above the confluence sits Fort Snelling, a military garrison built in 1819.  Since the time that Fort Snelling was built, the junction of these two rivers has become a major point of influence in the history of modern Minnesota.  But well before the European-American influence settled upon this land, the confluence of these two rivers was important and sacred to the Dakota people who have lived here since time immemorial.  This sacred place is known as Bdote Mni Sota.  Bdote literally means the junction or joining of two bodies of water and mni sota refers to the clarity of the water and its reflection of the sky.  For the Dakota, Bdote is the center of everything.  It is the place where thousands of years ago their people were first created by the land.  Today, it still acts as a place of cultural, historical, and spiritual significance for the Dakota people.

To learn more about this sacred place and what it really means to the Dakota people, please visit bdotememorymap.org.

Image source:  The U.S. – Dakota War of 1862:  Bdote.  http://www.usdakotawar.org/history/dakota-homeland-land-lifestyle/bdote

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