Indian Mounds Regional Park Cultural Landscape Study and Interpretive Plan

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Overview

Project Background:

The land we now call Indian Mounds Regional Park, located atop the bluffs of the Mississippi River on the eastern side of downtown Saint Paul, is rich in geological and cultural history and is sacred for the Tribal Communities especially the Dakota people.  

The City of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation staff has been working with MIAC to build a partnership with Indigenous Communities around the protection, interpretation, stewardship and potential improvements of the site.  A Cultural Landscape study and interpretive plan is an initial step to update the City’s practice for the preservation, awareness and understanding of the significance of this place.  The site is on the National Register of Historic Places and is protected by the Field Archeology Act (MN Statutes 138.40) and Private Cemetery Act (MN Statutes 307.08).

Project Description:

The purpose of this project is to develop a Cultural Landscape Study and Interpretive Plan through an innovative stakeholder involvement strategy. The development of the final product, which will be created with input and partnership of a Project Advisory Team of both local and national parties, will build upon and understanding of the role of physical features and locations within the park, and verbal and written stories gathered from the American Indian Community.  

The foundational Cultural Landscape Study will guide the design of the Interpretive Plan (interpretive elements and activities to demonstrate the significance of this land for American Indians to the wider public).  The Interpretive Plan will guide the future care for and development of this land including prioritization of the interpretive areas and elements, and as facilities requiring preservation and protection.  The stakeholder engagement will serve as a model for future protocol, both formal and informal, for future engagement work within and near sacred and culturally sensitive sites in the City of Saint Paul. 

As a nationally significant site, informing the public and interpreting the multifaceted history of the site is especially important to the understanding of this land as part of a history that has not been appropriately represented. 

The boundaries for the Cultural Landscape Study and Interpretive plan are determined by the Indian Mounds Regional Park boundaries. The narrative will also reference the adjacent bluffs and caves, and the views of the Mississippi River.

Project Updates

The City of Saint Paul has initiated a Cultural Landscape Study and Interpretive Plan for Indian Mounds Regional Park.  The purpose of the study is to understand the cultural significance of the site and build common ground for an innovative and inspirational approach toward long-term management and use of the park. It also presents an important opportunity to recognize and support Indigenous community connections to the landscape. The study will document the historic landscape, evaluate the significance and integrity of the landscape, and provide a compelling 10-year vision and plan for landscape treatment and interpretation. The document is being prepared by cultural landscape specialists, landscape architects, and interpretation experts from Quinn Evans Architects, Ten x Ten Studio, and Allies, LLC.

Project Advisory Team (PAT)

A Project Advisory Team (PAT) is being created to collaborate with the City and Consultants to guide the project.  The PAT will be comprised of community members, representatives of Indigenous communities, and other stakeholders.  There will be six facilitated PAT meetings throughout the project process, as well as six separate facilitated Community Engagement Events (CEE). 

PAT Meeting 1:  PAT Introductions, Project Expectations and Issues, Cultural Connections to and concerns about the Landscape, Focus Group Topics, Group Site Visit and sharing.

PAT Meeting 2: Overview of preliminary findings of research, inventory, and analysis, discuss cultural connections to and concerns about the landscape, collaborate in working session to develop draft Vision, Goals, and Guiding Principles.

Thursday, December 6 ,  2018 from 2pm to 4pm at Cerenity Marian Care Center. ( 200 Earl Street, St. Paul, MN 55106)

PAT Meeting 3: Finalize Vision, Goals, and Guiding Principles, preliminary interpretive themes (Workshop). (tentatively mid-January)

PAT Meeting 4: Preliminary site use/visitor experience program, refined interpretive themes and preliminary concepts (Workshop). (tentatively mid-March)

PAT Meeting 5: Development of Site Treatment and Interpretive Recommendations (Workshop) (tentatively end of April)

PAT Meeting 6: Final Presentation of Recommendations (tentatively Mid- August)

Community Engagement Events (CEE)

Over the course of the project, the consultant team will plan and facilitate six separate Community Engagement Event. The community engagement process will be adjusted to respond as information is gained and ideas develop.

CE Event 1: Introduction to the Project and Public Input to identify interest, concerns and connections to the landscape and expectations for the project (Open House).

CE Event 2: Sharing and listening session about significance of the park. Facilitated discussion about project goals.

Thursday, December 6,  2018 from 5pm to 7pm at Cerenity Marian Care Center. ( 200 Earl Street, St. Paul, MN 55106) Light meal will be provided.

CE Event 3: Public Engagement Event (combination of events as deemed appropriate: Presentation, Facilitated Discussion, Group Site Visit and Teaching/Listening event, Sharing, Open House. (tentatively mid-January)

CE Event 4: Preliminary site use program, interpretive themes and concepts (combine with PAT Meeting 4/Workshop or Open House following the Workshop. (tentatively mid-March)

CE Event 5: Development of Site Treatment and Interpretive Recommendations (combine with PAT Meeting5/Workshop or Open House following the Workshop. (tentatively end of April)

CE Event 6: Final Presentation of Recommendations. (tentatively mid- August)

PROJECT SCHEDULE

 

Past Meetings

 Monday, May 21, 2018 at Marian Center of Saint Paul, 200 Earl Street, Saint Paul, MN 55106 from 5:30 - 7:00 PM

 

Resources

Indian Mounds Master Plan
National Park Services - National Register of Historic Places Program
National Park Services - National Register of Historic Places Registration