The indigenous artist-led Healing Place Collaborative is a group of artists, educators, researchers, and activists who play leadership roles in articulating the vital role of the Mississippi River in the life of the Twin Cities. Core membership emerged from participation in the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board’s planning processes. In response to an invitation from planning group member Mona Smith (Dakota media artist), representatives from the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Minnesota, Innocent Technologies, Inc., and Mill City Museum, with Emily Johnson of Catalyst Dance, committed themselves to collaboratively examine and express the identity of the River as both a source of healing, and a place in need of healing. Other individuals and organizations, from the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota Historical Society, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Dakota Language Society and others have joined the group to form the Collaborative.
The many issues that our community faces are too often approached in isolation from one another. People working diligently on solutions often operate with distinct agendas, budgets, and disciplines. Similarly, competing environmental, commercial, and cultural interests limit their impact on the health of the River.
Both the River and the society it has engendered need healing. The Healing Place Collaborative is grounding its approach to repairing community, River and relationship in the Dakota concept of “bdote.” This word means a confluence of waters (in this case, the Mississippi and Minnesota) but also confluence in general. We intend to encourage a confluence of interests among people who recognize that the River is important to creating a healthy community, and that a community-wide effort is needed to heal our River.
Initially envisioned as a two-year project for diverse organizations and individuals to share and collaborate, the project is now seen as an evolving long-term broad field cross-pollination effort. HPC is a developing connector of thinkers, activists, policy makers, artists, language workers, environmentalists, organizations, cultural workers and more all focused on healing, place, the river and interrelationships. Healing Place partners seek unexpected solutions and opportunities to share information and creative approaches with each other, with other stakeholders in the area and with the public. Healing Place has already achieved significant progress since Summer, 2014. Scroll down for the informal 2014 year end report.
Two levels of partnership have been developed: CORE partners meet monthly to share updates and participate in decisions, planning, resource development and strategies. PARTICIPATING partners will be engaged in ALL Partner Gatherings — one day events that will include performance, panel expressions, papers, group discussions, informal exhibits and more. The first of these gatherings took place in Late Spring 2015 at the Minnesota Humanities Center. A second gathering is planned for October, 2015. Check the HPC Calendar! Scroll down to view a current list of CORE Partners.
Partners (click names for more information)
- Matt Brandt, PhD, Innocent Technologies, Inc., Chair of Board of Directors
- Pat Nunnally, PhD, River Life Program, University of Minnesota
- Emily Johnson, Emily Johnson/Catalyst – Artist Lead of Healing Place Collaborative
- Mona Smith, Allies: media/art – Artist Lead of Healing Place Collaborative
- Jennifer Tonko, Minnesota Humanities Center
- Christine Bauemler, PhD, Art Department, University of Minnesota
- Rebecca Krinke, Artist, Landscape Architecture, University of Minnesota
- Sharon Day, Executive Director, Indigenous People’s Task Force
- Laura Salveson, Director, Mill City Museum
- David Stevens, Public Programs Specialist, Mill City Museum
- Jewell Arcoren, Wicoie Wakandagikan, Consultant for Healing Place Collaborative
- Marty Case, Allies Research and Writing
- Dan Spock, Exhibit Consultant
- Jill Ahlberg Yuhe, PhD, Curator of Native Art, Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA)
- Shanai Matteson, Collaborative Director, Works Progress
- Colin Kloeker, Collaborative Director, Works Progress
- Joyce Lyon, Retired Art Department, University of Minnesota, Form + Content Gallery, Artist
- Marcus Young, Behavioral Artist, DYFIT.org
- Kaitlyn Flick, Institute on the Environment, PhD candidate Natural Resource Science and Management, College of Food Ag and Nat’l Resources, University of Minnesota
- Veronica Quillien, Curriculum and Instruction, University of Minnesota
- Ethan Neerdaels, Dakota Language Society, Dakota language activist and educator
- Bruce Chamberlain, Loam, LLC
- Kate Lamers, Minneapolis Parks Foundation
- Austin Evert,
- Janice Bad Moccasin, Shakopee Dakota Community
- Bruce Chamberlain, Minneapolis Parks Foundation
- Kate Lamers, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation
- Piero Protto, Landscape Architecture, Artist
- Alexandra Olson, Landscape Architecture, Artist
- Graham Hartley, Migizi Communications/Native Academy
- Heid Erdrich, Educator, Poet, Author, Curator
- Gwen Westerman Wasicuna, Mankato State University, Artist/Educator
- Denise Nelson, Healing Place Staff, Coordinator Owamani Festival
- Seitu Jones, Artist
- Mary Lynn Pulsher, Minneapolis Parks and Recreation
- Andrea Carlson, Artist
- Jim Rock, Math and Science Educator, Star Knowledge Educator
- Scott Russell, Healing Minnesota Stories, Writer
Informal First Year End Report
In the months since June 2014, Healing Place has accomplished significant work including the following;
- Developed a group of Participating Partners, which will be expanded by Core Partners and staff in the coming months. These partners will be engaged in Partner Gatherings and various collaborative events and projects.
- Gained commitments from Matt Brandt, Mona Smith, Marty Case and James Rhodes to work as volunteers in coordination, strategic planning and grant writing until substantial funds are raised. Brandt and Case intend to remain volunteers.
- Produced a video art piece to introduce the project to interested parties (potential partners and funders, in particular).
- Provided a performance at Mill City Museum with Catalyst Dance and community members for Northern Spark (an all night/all city celebration of the arts), June, 2014.
- Created monthly meetings for Founding Partners, Mona Smith, Emily Johnson, Matt Brandt, Pat Nunnally and ‘staff,’ Jewell Arcoren.
- Developed a group of thirteen Core Partners who are meeting monthly to share partners’ work connected to Healing Place and to plan approach, funding and events.
- Developed a structure for operation. Emily Johnson and Mona Smith are Artist Leads. Jewell Arcoren serves as admin and community resources consultant. Marty Case volunteers with fundraising. Day to day decisions are made by the staff team. Decisions about strategy, approach and production of events are made by Core Partners with staff.
We look forward to the future and the growth of the Healing Place partners’ roster, scheduling of the first partner gathering (May, 2015) and initial plans for another partner gathering (Fall/Winter 2015/2016). It is clear that this evolving project is moving toward becoming a long term alliance of Healing/Place workers and organizations. We have rented office space at 1308 East Franklin Ave. which offers a terrific meeting place for partner meetings and small public events. We will be creating communication mechanisms for the group, strengthening the foundation for ensuring that a wide range of river stakeholders enjoy sharing information and ways of approaching the work that are not their own, thus creating new collaborations and creativity.
Collaborations are happening at an amazing rate. This list was shared at the First All Partner Gathering at the end of May. The Blog and the Facebook page will share info about new collaborations.
Talking together is leading to wonderful things.
Partners have collaborated on this list (updated through the end of May, 2015)
- River Life hosted a terrific Healing Place event at Northrup in Feb
- Thanks to Wicoie Nandagikendan for allowing pre-school students to come to that event and sing in the languages
- Healing Minnesota Stories included both Jewell Arcoren and Wicoie and Mona Smith for Healing Place as part of their speakers series
- MIA became involved in the Wicoie fundraiser
- The History Center and the Humanities are working together on the Smithsonian Water exhibit project
- Works Progress, planning the fall Hand in Glove Conference is including a lunch presentation on Healing Place collaborative
- River Life included Healing Place partners in central speaking ways at their Sawyer Symposium seminar
- Dakota Language Society participating partner Ethan Neerdaels developed and hosts our website
- Kate Flick is getting help with her doctoral research from HPC partners
- And Rebecca Krinke may spearhead the development of a course on Healing Place at the University
- Healing Place is developing a shared project; a sculptural – literal Language Table (with Rebecca as primary artist) that will serve to teach appropriate language to partners and create public sharing of place names and other language around the metro area