Bdote Mni Sóta: Human and geologic history at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers

Saturday 8:30am-4:00pm Fort Snelling State Park


Joshua Feinberg, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Darlene St. Clair, Saint Cloud State University

Bdote Mni Sóta is at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers and is a sacred place to the Dakota. It is also the site where the US government would build Fort Snelling in the 1820s. This field trip will explore the underlying geology and geomorphology of the area near the confluence, as well as the fascinating, troubling, and frequently untold story of the relationship of the Dakota within the area that would later be called the Twin Cities. This trip provides a unique opportunity to examine the cultural, social, and natural history of the area and to cultivate a deeper sense of place.


This field trip will not be physically demanding and we encourage participants to let us know during registration if there are any forms of support needed to allow them to get the most out of the day-long event (wheelchair, sign language specialist, etc.). Information about average weather conditions in the Twin Cities area during the summer can be found here. Cost includes both transportation and a box lunch.

  • Departure: 8:30am
  • Return: 4:00pm
  • Attire: Wear comfortable hot-weather clothing, hiking footwear, and a hat. Bring a backpack for lunch (provided) and water, sunscreen, a rain coat, and a camera.


Fort Snelling State Park, MN

Located in the heart of the Twin Cities, Fort Snelling State Park occupies the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. For many centuries, the area of the modern park has been of importance to the Mdewakanton Dakota people. The state park, which opened in 1962, is named for the historic Fort Snelling, which dates from 1820. The fort structure is maintained and operated by the Minnesota Historical Society. The bulk of the state park preserves the bottomland forest, rivers, and backwater lakes below the river bluffs. Both the state and historic fort structure are part of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, a National Park Service site. (Wikipedia)

During the last Ice Age, retreating glaciers left thick moraine deposits over the bedrock in the area. As the glaciers melted, torrential meltwaters carved through the deposits to form the valleys of what are now the Minnesota, Mississippi and St. Croix rivers. (Fort Snelling State Park)


Participants will depart from the Lilly Plaza side of Morrill Hall (see image to right) at 8:30am. Participants will be returned to the same location at 4:00pm. Additional details are forthcoming.

Cost and Registration

Registration for the field trip is open to the first 25 people to sign up. Participants can sign up when completing their Rendezvous registration form. Cost is $60 and includes transportation and a box lunch. Lunch arrangements (including dietary preferences) will be organized after registration.

« Previous Page