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Dakota-led design team announced for restoration of
Owámniyomni (St. Anthony Falls) in Minneapolis

GGN selected as project’s lead design and landscape architecture firm

MINNEAPOLIS (June 12, 2024) — 

Owámniyomni Okhódayapi (formerly Friends of the Falls) today announced the selection of a design consultant team to support the Dakota-led nonprofit in the restoration of five acres of property at Owámniyomni (St. Anthony Falls), adjacent to the Upper Lock on the Mississippi riverfront in Minneapolis. The group will develop a site design that encourages Dakota people to use the site in traditional ways, rebuilding vital cultural and spiritual connections to the land.

The design team will be led by a group of Dakota Knowledge Keepers representing multiple Dakota Tribes and communities. GGN was selected as the lead design and landscape architecture firm for the project, and Full Circle Indigenous Planning + Design will provide project strategy and Tribal engagement.

“The structure of this design team emphasizes that while transforming the physical land at Owámniyomni will be important, restoring relationships to the land, Dakota culture and language are at the heart of this work,” said Barry Hand, Owámniyomni Okhódayapi program director. “It was critical for us to bring together Dakota Knowledge Keepers with extensive cultural understanding of language, lifeways, values, landscapes, and plant and animal relatives, to build consensus around the ultimate design for this deeply significant site.”

The Dakota Knowledge Keepers include Jewell Arcoren, Travis Bush, Vanessa Goodthunder, Erin Griffin, Samantha Odegard, Mona Smith, Ramona Kitto Stately, Cole Redhorse Taylor, Glenn Wasicuna and Gwen Westerman.

GGN and several Dakota Knowledge Keepers participated in previous site planning and community engagement phases. Early design ideas include restoring the flow of water on site, creating habitats for native plants and animals, and defining places to reconnect with the river.

“This project is rooted in the idea that what is most important about Owámniyomni is already here. Now is the time for the cultural and environmental restoration that have always been one and the same for the Dakota who know this place best,” said David Malda, principal, GGN. “GGN is honored to have been selected to continue the important work of designing this site under the guidance of Owámniyomni Okhódayapi and the Dakota Knowledge Keepers, and in partnership with the other experts and consultants involved.”

The design will be completed in 2025, with construction slated for 2027. Illustrations of the early design ideas from GGN are available for download here.

Additional firms and consultants offering design and technical support for the project include HDREORJohn Koepke with Urban EcosystemsTLÂL-LI CollaborativeLoefflerETM and Schuler Shook. These firms bring significant experience navigating regulatory, engineering and permitting processes; cost estimating; defining construction materials; and more.


About Owámniyomni Okhódayapi

Owámniyomni Okhódayapi is a Dakota-led organization creating a future where Dakota culture has a vital presence and Dakota values – such as mni wičóni, or water is life – are embedded into Minnesotans’ communal existence. The nonprofit is currently working to transform five acres of land at Owámniyomni (St. Anthony Falls), a place of deep cultural and spiritual significance to the Dakota people, into a place of restoration, education, healing and connection. For more information, visit

Media contact: Madeleine Rush, 651-214-6937, [email protected]