It is our intent to provide a forum for all members of the community to participate in the engagement process and contribute their thoughts, ideas, and priorities. We also 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 is structured to center Native voices and seek a fuller understanding of Indigenous experience in our community and on this site. Click here to view the complete Community Engagement Plan.
At the heart of the engagement process is the Native Partnership Council, a group formed to steer the planning process and shape priorities from an Indigenous perspective. These leaders share stories, cultural values, and priorities for this place. They are also stewards of the River and advocates for those who cannot speak for themselves – the four legged, the fish, the winged. The Partnership Council meets in circle, listening and developing strategies to find consensus according to traditional Indigenous governance processes.
Public meetings, online engagement, and outreach to key stakeholders are channels to broaden the conversation and bring the Native Partnership Council in dialogue with all members of the community.
Community Conversations and public engagement opportunities are focused on the following key topics:
- Indigenous Perspectives: Re-centering Native connections to the Falls and the site
- Environmental Restoration: Ecological sustainability and the health of the river
- Programming & Activities: Public use and activation
- Connectivity: Blue, green and gray access
- Business and Tourism: Financial sustainability and economic opportunities
Resources have been allocated to connect meaningfully with key audiences:
- The diverse Native community, including sovereign Tribal Nations, urban Indians and those in exile, and those held up by the community as important voices for the future
- Community and riverfront stakeholders, including recreation interests, neighborhood interests, business and tourism interests, river and environmental interests, education interests, and historic resources interests
- The greater BIPOC community and those engaged in the work of truth and reconciliation, recognizing the importance of acknowledging their shared experience of racism
The team shares feedback between the Native Partnership Council and the general public, building a bridge between the audiences and weaving their input together.