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Mní Wičóni


Wókizi. Ihdúwitayapi. Waúŋspekhiye. Wówaš’ake. Wówakhaŋ.

Heal. Connect. Teach. Strength. Power.

Owámniyomni Okhódayapi (formerly Friends of the Falls) is creating a place of healing, restoration, education, and connection at the Upper Lock on Minneapolis’s Central Riverfront.

Our work is rooted in an understanding that Owámniyomni was central to Dakota culture long before the Falls were claimed as “Saint Anthony’s.”

First Season

Engagement that centers Native voices.


Second Season

Developing a framework for Dakota leadership.


Third Season

Transformation through cultural & environmental restoration.


Fourth Season

Connecting and healing with all our relatives.


Owámniyomni Okhódayapi

Turbulent waters. To be friends with, to be friendly, to befriend.
Pronounced: Oh-WAH-mini-yo-mini Oh-KOH-dah-yah-pee

Owámniyomni Okhódayapi is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that was founded in 2016 after the Upper Lock closed to commercial navigation. The organization was originally called the St. Anthony Falls Lock & Dam Conservancy and soon renamed to Friends of the Lock & Dam. Its focus was to prevent hydropower interests from further industrializing the site. The Friends convened community, business, and civic leaders to discuss creating a visitor center to increase tourism on the River.

In 2020, the organization transitioned to the name Friends of the Falls to emphasize that its mission was to protect and honor the Falls – the only major waterfall on the Mississippi River. The Friends set aside its concept for a visitor center and began a journey to engage with Native American communities and gain an understanding about the cultural and spiritual significance of this place.

The Friends committed to creating an engagement process centered on Native voices. We convened the Native Partnership Council and hosted a series of Community Conversations that brought Native and non-Native communities together to create a shared vision for the Falls. These discussions were grounded in Indigenous values, like Mitákuye Owas’iƞ (We Are All Relatives) and Mní Wičóni (Water is Life).

The recent transition to Owámniyomni Okhódayapi is not just another name change. It marks an important, intentional, and fundamental shift in how the organization operates. The name Owámniyomni Okhódayapi uplifts Dakota language and makes visible the fact that this is Dakota homeland. Owámniyomni Okhódayapi is Dakota-led and the organization has a Native American majority board of directors.

We are dedicated to centering Native voices, strengthening our connections to Dakota relatives, and uplifting the actively silenced stories of Dakota people through our work at the Falls. We will continue this work in a good way.

Centering Native voices.

Tribal leaders, culture keepers, artists, and environmentalists convened to set guiding principles for this work.

Indigenizing the River.

A network of Indigenous-led projects are connected by water, spirit, and intent. Together, we have collective impact.

Care for land and water as relatives.

Early design ideas include restoring Indigenous landscape and reintroducing active, flowing, water to the site.