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New Videos and StoryMap Explore Water Works Stories

Opened in 2021, Water Works Park and Pavilion was conceived as a space for celebrating the power of the Mississippi River and our relationship to it as people – from many cultures and backgrounds and with many different stories to tell.

When you visit Water Works, you’ll see some of the ways stories are being told here – through the food at the restaurant Owámni by The Sioux Chef (and by the diners who commune there), in performances of music and words on the Mezzanine Lawn, and in the Dakhóta language inscribed on the City Steps and botanical signs. Even the walls of the inhabited pavilion itself tell a story, built in the 19th century for saw and flour mills, and in the 20th century housed the visionary Fuji-Ya restaurant.

Now we’re beginning to reveal unseen stories through a new multimedia project that explores the relationship of Dakhóta culture and language to this special place and allows visitors to hear the language spoken. This project also (re)introduces us to Reiko Weston, whose Fuji-Ya legacy influenced generations of Minnesotans and ultimately led to the riverfront rebirth we enjoy today.

There is much more story to tell, of course, and many different storytellers to share them. We hope you have a chance to visit Water Works yourself, and make it part of your story, too.

Special thanks to Liz Cates and our partners at, and to Carol Weston Hanson and the Weston and Hanson families. We’re so grateful for your collaboration and honored that you shared a part of your story through this project.

Water Works Stories: Reiko Weston’s Fuji-Ya Legacy

Additional Resources

Water Works Park at Owámniyuomni: Dakhóta Language Exploration

The StoryMap: Hear the Dakhóta Language, On Site or Online

Of the 38 native plant species restored at Water Works, there are 14 which have been labeled in Dakhóta (and translated in English) with their original names and relationship to food and ceremony. Use this tour to explore them in person and online, and hear Liz Cates interpret the Dakhóta inscriptions. You can also access the StoryMap via this link.

Additional Contributors

Plant Names and descriptions were translated by Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye.

Description of cultural relationships with plants was provided by The Sioux Chef.

Our project consultant was Kate Lamers, from TLALLI Collaborative; Murphy Byrne was our videographer and editor; and Joe Ayers of the Minneapolis Park Board developed the StoryMap. THANK YOU!

Thank You to Our Funders

This project was made possible through a grant from the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board, and with the ongoing support of the donors to the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. Thank you!

YOUR DONATION helps ensure the parks in our city remain accessible, equitable and serving everyone.