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The Falls Initiative


Join the conversation to shape the future of the Upper Lock.

Our vision is to create a place of healing at Owámniyomni (meaning “turbulent waters” in the Dakota language), or Saint Anthony Falls, that acknowledges the past and advances a more equitable and inclusive future.


The first season of work for The Falls Initiative, September 2021 through December 2022, might be considered “winter”, a time for connection, storytelling, and preparation for what’s to come.

The first season of work included the initial convening of the Native Partnership Council, broader community engagement, and development of a conceptual vision for this place.

Phases 1-6 below refer specifically to Community Engagement, which spans the first and second season of work.

Phase 1


Coalition Building

Phase 2


Inform & Connect

Phase 3



Phase 4

Jan – June 2022


Phase 5

July – Aug 2022


Phase 6

Nov – Mar 2023


We now approach the second season of work. In this “spring” season, as the flora and fauna come alive again, we move closer to implementation.

We consider models of ownership and operations – particularly Native ownership – and the technical considerations for transferring land from the federal government to a local entity.

We imagine how programming rooted in Native values can enliven this place and make it feel distinctly welcoming to the Dakota and other Indigenous communities.

And we explore the collective impact of this work – asking ourselves how The Falls Initiative can support and reinforce the work of other projects amplifying Native voices, locally along the riverfront and on a national stage.

Native voices.

We’re centering the project on Native voices, with the Native Partnership Council at the heart of the engagement process.

Share your voice.

View public comments and feedback submitted through our online survey. Additional reports forthcoming.

Immersive experiences.

Visit a simulated museum exhibit from your desktop to learn more about the process and this place.

What we heard.

Key takeaways from the Community Conversation series, field engagement, and Immersive Exhibit.

Engagement Opportunities

There are no upcoming events.

Voices of the Falls

Media Coverage

Alley Newspaper: Shaping a Vision for Owámniyomni, St. Anthony Falls

By Amanda Wigen, Friends of the Falls | August 1, 2022 This editorial was featured in the August 2022 edition of the alley. Long before they were claimed as “St.…