Common Ground

Minneapolis Parks Foundation > Common Ground > Events > News Release: The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Food Movement, Next Generation of Parks, April 29, 2021

News Release: The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Food Movement, Next Generation of Parks, April 29, 2021


The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Food Movement, with Sean Sherman and Dana Thompson

Join us on Zoom Thursday, April 29, at 7:00pm, for a special preview of The Sioux Chef’s globally anticipated restaurant Owamni, opening soon in the future Water Works Park Pavilion

Minneapolis, Minn. – As the Water Works Park Pavilion and surrounding park near completion on the Central Mississippi Riverfront in Minneapolis, excitement for the debut of Owamni by The Sioux Chef grows. On Thursday, April 29, at 7:00pm, Sean Sherman and Dana Thompson will close out the Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s 2020-2021 season of the Next Generation of Parks Event Series with a special preview of the restaurant at the center of an Indigenous food movement and its inter-relationship with planned educational and cultural experiences at the Water Works park and pavilion. The event is free and pre-registration is recommended via Eventbrite.

“Owamni will be the first locally Indigenous restaurant in a major US city and we’re excited to create an experience that’s Dakota inspired on Dakota land,” says Sean Sherman, founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Sioux Chef and James Beard Award-winning author of The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen (with Beth Dooley). “At Owamni, we’ll be serving a lot of healthy, Indigenous food that’s relevant to this region, in a modern restaurant that’s welcoming and beautiful.”

During this one-hour virtual event, Sherman and Thompson will talk about the restaurant’s role in The Sioux Chef’s broader Indigenous economic development efforts through a network of Indigenous partners and their nonprofit NATIFS (North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems). They’ll also share the deeply significant relationship Dakota people have with Owamni (St. Anthony Falls in English) and the surrounding area, including Thompson’s grandfather’s role in preserving Dakota place names.

“We’re really excited to share the Dakota story, which we feel hasn’t been told yet, and we want to do that through food, community, and cultural preservation,” says Dana Thompson, co-owner and Chief Operating Officer of The Sioux Chef. “There’s been so much homage paid to the industrial history of the Minneapolis riverfront. The Dakota story has so much wisdom and beauty, and I think the time is right for people to hear it and incorporate it into their lives, because it’s truly a message of sustainability.”

Through its RiverFirst Capital Campaign, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation is the primary funder of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board-owned Water Works park project, which was conceived as a place for stories and storytelling, as inspired by its layered Indigenous, immigrant, and industrial history. “The Minneapolis Parks Foundation believes parks have the power to connect us, heal us, and make us whole. This new park is an incredible example of the power of place to create community through the stories we tell and make,” says Tom Evers, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.

About Our Speakers

Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, born in Pine Ridge, SD, has been cooking across the US and World for the last 30 years. His main culinary focus has been on the revitalization and awareness of indigenous foods systems in a modern culinary context. Sherman has studied on his own extensively to determine the foundations of these food systems which include the knowledge of Native American farming techniques, wild food usage and harvesting, land stewardship, salt and sugar making, hunting and fishing, food preservation, Native American migrational histories, elemental cooking techniques, and Native culture and history in general to gain a full understanding of bringing back a sense of Native American cuisine to today’s world.

In 2014, Sherman opened the business titled The Sioux Chef as a caterer and food educator to the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. In 2015, in partnership with the Little Earth Community of United Tribes in Minneapolis, he also helped to design and open the Tatanka Truck food truck, which featured pre-contact foods of the Dakota and Minnesota territories. Sherman has been the recipient of a 2015 First Peoples Fund Fellowship, 2018 Bush Foundation Fellowship, National Center’s 2018 First American Entrepreneurship Award, 2018 James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook, and a 2019 James Beard Leadership Award.

A lineal descendant of the Wahpeton-Sisseton and Mdewakanton Dakota tribes and lifetime Minnesota native, Dana has worked for nearly a decade within the food sovereignty movement. As co-owner and chief operating officer of The Sioux Chef, she manages all business development strategies for the company. She has traveled extensively throughout tribal communities, engaging in critical ways to improve food access and implementing strategies to do the most possible good as a social entrepreneur. In 2018, Dana jointly founded the non-profit NATIFS (North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems) for which she is executive director. Through this entity, she focuses her expertise on addressing and treating ancestral trauma through decolonized perspectives of honoring and leveraging Indigenous wisdom.

About the 2020-2021 Next Generation of Parks Season

The first all-virtual season the 10-years-strong Next Generation of Parks Event Series, 2020-2021 featured Adam Arvidson, landscape architect and author of Wild and Rare: Tracking Endangered Species in the Upper Midwest (December 2020), and wildlife photographers Dudley Edmondson and Monica Bryand’s inclusive introduction to birdwatching in Winter Birding 101 (February 2021). Videos from the season’s earlier events can be viewed at The season is presented by Minnesota Public Radio News and produced in partnership with The Great Northern.

About the Minneapolis Parks Foundation

Since 2003, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation has raised more than $25 million for transformative parks and programming in Minneapolis Parks by aligning philanthropic investment and community vision. Today, the Parks Foundation champions equitable investment in Minneapolis parks through the RiverFirst Initiative and Reimagining the Civic Commons and is responsible for private fundraising and implementation of the Water Works and Great Northern Greenway River Link projects. The Parks Foundation also supports community-based parks projects with the People for Parks Fund, and explores the intersection of parks and today’s most pressing issues by presenting the Next Generation of Parks™ Event Series. Learn more at

# # #

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