Friends of the Falls is a 501c(3) public non-profit that engages all people to build understanding and embrace the value of Indigenous perspectives tied to Owámniyomni, a significant site on the Mississippi River. The organization was founded in February 2016 by Paul Reyelts and Mark Wilson in response to the closure of the Upper Lock to commercial navigation.
Our vision is to create places of healing and celebration that acknowledge the past and advance a more equitable and inclusive future.
We are committed to upholding the following guiding principles in our work:
- Friends of the Falls will prioritize Native voices and experience.
- Friends of the Falls will engage the community in a process that provides opportunity for truth telling and healing and that informs grassroots decision making.
- Friends of the Falls will create public spaces where all are welcome.
- Friends of the Falls will connect people to the river and contribute to a holistic experience of the Central Riverfront and the Mississippi River.
- Friends of the Falls will pursue collective impact and partnerships that build trust and shared leadership.
The Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) helps Native people create the future they envision. Their work is founded on the belief that all American Indian people have a place, purpose, and a future strengthened by sustainable development.
NACDI is a contract partner of Friends of the Falls and together they jointly lead community engagement for The Falls Initiative.