Bird-Friendly Communities

Honoring Nature and Tradition

Groundbreaking Ceremony for Urban Woods and Prairie Site at the 34th Annual Powwow

In a world where urbanization often feels synonymous with the encroachment upon nature, there are rare moments where we get to take a step back to honor and improve the land we inhabit. Such an experience was illustrated beautifully in Minot North Dakota’s 34th Annual Powwow Celebration. Given the perseverance of organizations and individuals securing use for the unmanaged land, the groundbreaking ceremony marked the beginning of a transformative project: the establishment of an Urban Woods and Prairie Nature site at Plum River Native Prairie.

The ceremony commenced with a land acknowledgment, honoring the Indigenous peoples who have stewarded the lands for generations, setting the tone of respect and reverence. The event was infused with cultural significance, featuring drum songs and the presentation of red and green star quilts to project partners. As a project partner it was my honor and privilege to receive a Star Quilt on behalf of Audubon Great Plains. Dressed in vibrant regalia Ruth Plenty Sweet Grass She-Kills, Native American Studies Director at Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, delivered a keynote address, adding depth and insight to our celebration. She articulated the significance of the land as a place once full of gardens so abundant tribal nations from around the world would come to trade with her tribe. We shared a moment to reflect on the deep history of the land, the traditions of those who have walked its path long before the city was developed. There was a sense of unity, and shared understanding that we are all stewards of our earth, entrusted with the responsibility to nurture and protect it.

The 14-acre site chosen for the newest Urban Woods and Prairies project sat unmanaged since flooding that occurred in 2011 that destroyed the Erik Ramstad Middle School previously located on the property. Near Minot State University (MSU), the location is in an urban setting within walking distance of residential neighborhoods and offers educational opportunities for the community and research opportunities for students. Specific sections will provide pollinator habitat with others focusing on short grass prairie plants. 

The groundbreaking ceremony at the 34th Annual Powwow was more than just a celebration; it was a testament to the power of community, the resilience of nature, and the enduring spirit of tradition.

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