At the heart of The Falls Initiative engagement process is the intention to center Native voices.
We acknowledge that the site of the Upper Lock is within Dakota homeland, and that the conspicuously missing story within this historic district is that of its first inhabitants. Therefore, our engagement process was structured to seek a fuller understanding of Indigenous experience in our community and on this site, and to put Native voices and individuals in a position to lead.
Friends of the Falls and the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI), convened the Native Partnership Council as a channel to share stories about Owámniyomni, consider this place from an Indigenous perspective, and set guiding principles for the project.
Dakota Tribal leadership endorsed this approach, as a method to center Native voices at the beginning and throughout the community engagement process.