Dakota Spirit Walk - Augmented Reality

The Dakota Spirit Walk will be an augmented reality public art installation

that that honors, educates and connects visitors to Dakota history, culture and significance of land.


It will take place Summer 2021 at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and the Union Depot Greenline stop.

Downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota.



Augmented Reality: Metaphor of Native Presence

Dakota/Indigenous peoples histories and stories are here, invisible at the moment, but folks only need to look with new eyes at the land they walk on has stories millennia old.


The perfect location

The Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary region is visited by 300,000 people annually. The Lower Phalen Creek Project has a variety of educational resources for classrooms to visit the area. Accessible from the Union Depot Greenline stop (15 minute walk).


Authentic Voices

Many of my past works have focused on sharing Dakota history of our homelands with all Minnesotans.

Station 1: Union Depot Greenline Stop

3D map/guide that invites the viewer to start their journey on the Dakota Spirit Walk.


Relatable works created previously:

Dakota land map of the Twin Cities


Station 2: Unci Maka (Earth Spirit) @ field Restorations

I imagine this station to feature a talking woman (Earth Spirit) that has a 3D garden of flowers done in a Dakota-floral style. She speaks the Dakota for each plant and asks the viewer to repeat after her.

Relatable works created previously:

Illustation of Unci Maka @ the location. Dakota Plant coloring book.

Station 3: Inyan (Rock Spirit) @ Sand Castle

The Dakota creation stories, Inyan the rock spirit is the oldest/first spirit. I imagine this station will feature a face on the “Sand Castle” (as this sandstone is refered to) that speaks to the place history of the stone and how Saint Paul is named after these white cliffs in Dakota.

This animation that I created for the MN Humanities Center shares information that I would split into station 4 & 5.

Station 4: Unk/Unktehi (Water Spirits) @ Wakan Tipi Cave

This cave is one of the most sacred places to Dakota people. A spring flows from the covered-cave entrance. After Dakota people were forced to leave this location in the 1850s, the railroad destroyed the cave’s atrium that used to feature petroglyphs that told of the celestial origins of Dakota people, how what happens on earth is reflected in the stars above. 

For this station I imagine the water spirit as either/or both Unk (a feminine figure) or as Unktehi, Dakota water serpents. The petroglyphs that used to exist could be illustrated around them. They could speak to “water is life” and the Mississippi River.


Station 5: Wakinyan (Thunder Spirit) @ Burial Mounds

Because this station is above the bluffs, it may become isolated from the stations below the bluff. The animation “We Come From the Stars” could be the main feature here with a Thunder Spirit character added to it to implore the visitor to complete the Dakota Spirit Walk if they are starting at this station above.

Wakinyan the thunder being can speak about how Dakota people honored their elders by burying them in places of honor, high up on the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi river.

Examples of my Dakota Thunder being as a puppet and illustration.

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