Nicole Bansal

A woman with long brown wavy hair, wearing a black tank top.

When beginning this process, I noticed that the destruction of sacred American Indian burial grounds has become a significant issue as large corporations and developers have overtaken these plots of land and desecrating the burial sites of hundreds of indigenous people. Even after the discovery of these American Indian burial grounds, the corporations continue with the extraction and disposal of hundreds of remains. Although several nations are currently fighting for their voices to be heard through protests and legislation proposals, these American Indian communities are unfortunately not being heard. However, at Indian Mounds Regional Park in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Dakota Nation has been given rights to take back this burial land and preserve it, moving the trails away from the sacred mounds.

Culture is at the forefront of architectural creation and discovery. For the Dakota Nation, cosmology serves as the foundation for the community's belief system, and it is incorporated in their customs and rituals. A strong relationship exists between the sky/spirit world and the earth/material world, as the Dakota people believe in the idea that "as it is above; it is below" (kapemni). 

The objective of this thesis project was to study Indian Mounds Regional Park in St. Paul, Minnesota, explore the traditional customs of the Dakota people and the relationship of these ceremonies to native cosmology, and initiate an understanding of this sacred land through the introduction of a temple structure and ceremonious walkway near the mound site.

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