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Owámni: Falling Water Festival showcases the history and artistry of Indigenous culture

Indigenous cultures are alive and thriving in Minnesota. In "Communities that KARE," we're celebrating a festival sharing the beauty of Native American life.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — The Twin Cities are reconnecting to their native roots thanks in part to the Owámni: Falling Water Festival, a celebration of Indigenous culture and creativity. 

"We wanted to come together and highlight a lot of musicians and artists, and just celebrate with food and music and things like that," explained Deanna StandingCloud. Deanna is an organizer as well as the urban facilitator for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe.

The name of the event, Owámni, is a Dakota word. "Mni" means water, and "Owá" is falling or whirling. It's appropriate considering the location. 

"The area where the Father Hennepin Bluff Park is a sacred and very iconic landmark for the Dakota people," StandingCloud said. "There's the Mississippi River and the Minnesota River. So, it's a very powerful location."  

Credit: Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Photo of the Owámni Falling Waters Festival in Minneapolis.

StandingCloud is working with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to help the festival evolve. 

"The Indigenous culture, it's not something that's past. It's something that is alive and thriving and happening now. We'll be featuring everything from comedians to hip-hop artists this year," said Erica Chua, event coordinator for MPRB.

Credit: Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Photo of the Owámni Falling Waters Festival in Minneapolis.

Also new this year, the Owámni: Falling Water Festival will be on both banks of the Mississippi River, with the Stone Arch Bridge serving as the connecting pathway. Greeting you on the other side are fresh dishes from The Sioux Chef and his aptly named restaurant, Owámni. 

RELATED: The Sioux Chef's Indigenous restaurant Owamni is now open

"A lot of the Sioux Chef's recipes are land-based. We've had his food truck there before, but to have the restaurant is a whole other dimension," said StandingCloud. 

If there's one thing to take away from the Owámni: Falling Water Festival, organizers say it's the Ojibwe, and Dakota people are here and thriving. 

Event information:

Owámni: Falling Water Festival is Saturday, Oct. 9, from 1 – 5 p.m. at Father Hennepin Bluff Park, 420 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN, and the new Water Works Park, 333 1st Street S., Minneapolis, MN 55401. 

This is a free, family-friendly event co-presented by the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board and the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board. 

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