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Dakota Day 2017

June 24 @ 10:00 am - 4:00 pm

Celebrate Minnesota’s First People!

Dakota Day

Gibbs Farm Tipi

Join us as we celebrate the lifeways, language, stories, arts, and games of Minnesota’s First People.

Have you ever wondered what the word Minnesota really means? Wanted to make your own beaded bracelet? Or discover why trade was important to Dakota people in the early 1800s? You can discover all this and much more at Gibbs Farm during Dakota Day, on June 24, 2017, from 10 am-4 pm!

Dakota Day will highlight the stories and language, the crafts, the food and fun that are all part of the lives of the Dakota. The event is open to the public, and provides an exciting and educational experience appropriate for families of all ages. Costumed interpreters will greet visitors, and will provide activities, tours, and insights.

We are also excited to host a resident artist at Dakota Day this year. David Louis is a nationally-recognized Dakota artist, whose work in quillwork and beading using traditional methods has been featured in museums and shops throughout the United States. David Louis grew up on the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota reservation in a very traditional family. He took up the mission of learning quillwork on his own about 30 years ago when he realized it was in danger of dying out. By studying museum collections and talking with elders, David gained a foundation for teaching himself the techniques of quillwork. David will be demonstrating his art during Dakota Day, the culmination of a week-long residency at Gibbs Farm. (Bio from the South Dakota Arts Council).

Dakota Day Schedule of Tours & Events


  • Step Into Jane’s Pioneer World: Farmhouse Tours
    10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm
  • Say It In Dakota: Mini-Language Presentation
    10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm
  • Jane & the Dakota: Mini-History Presentations
    Stories about Jane, Cloud Man, Lawrence Talliaferro, the Pond brothers, Seth Eastman.
    11:00 am, 12:00 noon, 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:00 pm
  • Shelters Tour: Replica “Soddy,” Dakota Summer Bark Lodge, Tipi
    10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm


  • The Hunt & Archery
  • Tipi Life & Buffalo Nation
  • Psin (Wild Rice): Mainstay of Dakota Diet
  • How Trade Inspired a New Dakota Art Form
  • Quillwork and Beadmaking Demonstrations with resident Dakota artist David Louis at 11:00 am-12:00 noon, and 1:00-2:00 pm. Presentations are on-going at those times, drop in when you like.
  • Dakota-Inspired Foods (included in admission)

The Story of Dakota Day

Dakota Day commemorates the friendship between the Gibbs family and their Dakota neighbors, and celebrates the partnerships that RCHS and the Gibbs Farm has developed with other organizations. Gibbs Farm tells the true story of the pioneering Gibbs family of Heman and Jane Gibbs and their friendship with the Dakota of Cloud Man’s village. Gibbs Farm offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore a unique story that spanned generations and ignored the cultural tensions of the time. The Dakota people and the Gibbs family achieved what society at large could not, providing mutual aid and friendship.

The Dakota’s friendly interactions with the Gibbs, and the hospitality shown by both sides began in 1835 when Jane DeBow (Gibbs) arrived at Fort Snelling as a child of eight, and lived among Cloud Man’s band of Dakota on the shores of Lake Calhoun in present-day Minneapolis. She learned to speak Dakota and gained an intimate knowledge of the Dakota way of life. The Dakota gave her the name “Little Bird That Was Caught.” Later, when Jane had married Heman Gibbs and they had acquired their farmstead where the Farm is today, Cloud Man’s Dakota band, sometimes numbering as many as 150, camped on the Gibbs’ farm to rest and visit Jane, often for as long as three weeks. Many in this band were Jane’s childhood friends, and appreciated Heman and Jane’s hospitality.

Gibbs Farm continues that tradition today, working closely in partnership with the Dakota community to provide educational opportunities to families, schools and day campers about Minnesota’s First People.

Gibbs Farm offers a unique look at the two cultures that existed peacefully side by side at the farm, their methods of housing and agriculture, and provides insight into the Gibbs’ special relationship with the Dakota. Gibbs Farm has become nationally known for its presentations of historic pioneer and Dakota life and culture. Gibbs’ interpreters frequently visit local schools to educate students on Dakota life and culture.

Gibbs Farm features tipi, a Dakota summer bark lodge, farm buildings, a one-room-schoolhouse, a replica of the original “soddy” sod house that the Gibbs built, the Gibbs’ original farmhouse, and three gardens that demonstrate the agricultural methods of the Dakota, the pioneers and the Victorians, and a restored prairie. Exhibits show farm implements, household furnishings, clothing, kitchen implements, and more. Costumed interpreters will guide visitors and answer questions.

Admission for Dakota Day is $8 adults, $7 seniors (62+), $5 children (4+), free for RCHS members.

For more information, please call the Gibbs Farm at 651-646-8629, or Contact Us.

Dakota Day


Ramsey County Historical Society


Gibbs Farm
2097 W Larpenteur Ave
Saint Paul , MN 55113 United States
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