This weekend a new piece, created by Dakota artist Angela Two Stars, will open to the public in the same space. The structure, called “Okciyapi” is designed as a gathering place and a celebration of the Dakota language.
Just yards from the iconic Spoon Bridge and Cherry, water spills out from the center of “Okciyapi.” It’s a bubbling dome of liquid about 3 feet across, surrounded by concentric rings designed to be many things: a labyrinth, somewhere for children to climb, maybe an informal language classroom. It’s a place that Two Stars, a member of the Wahpeton Sisseton Dakota, hopes will welcome visitors to come, sit, and think a while.
“The word Minnesota in Dakota is ‘Mni Sota Makoce,’“ said Two Stars: “’The land where the water reflects the sky.’”
“Okciyapi” (pronounced OH-key-YUP-ee) was inspired by Two Stars’ late grandfather Orson Bernard, a noted scholar of the Dakota language who worked for years to keep it alive.
This whole piece is infused with the Dakota language, history and tradition. The seats are inscribed with Dakota