Makoce Waste, Wiconi Waste (Sweet Land, Sweet Life)

Who We Are

2014.Scott 031Scott Wilson has an academic background in history and American Indian studies, but his breadth of knowledge comes from his love of learning and a broad-range of skills and life experiences.  Throughout his life he has performed a variety of jobs including working for an outfitter guiding pack-trips in the mountains of Wyoming, serving Upper Sioux youth as a counselor in the schools and as a Dakota language immersion preschool teacher, selling motorcycles, being a stay-at-home dad, beekeeping, gardening, and most recently, receiving his Level I ETA certification in photovoltaics.  In addition, he has served on the boards of Clean Up the River Environment (CURE) and the Milan Village Arts School.  As a lover of the natural world, Scott has been a long-time critic of mainstream consumer society, always seeking ways to live with more integrity and authenticity.  In addition to his relatively recent interest in natural building, his other long-term passions include motorcycle riding, playing guitar, wood-working, archery, hunting, hiking, and canoeing. 2014.Scott 018

In 2009, Scott took his first wood-turning class and began using a power lathe.  In 2011 he built his own spring-pole, foot-powered lathe and has been turning out hand-carved bowls since then.  When he is not turning bowls, he is likely strumming a flamenco melody on his guitar or carving spoons or knives out of bits of wood.

Scott is also a dedicated husband and father. Waziyatawin has been his partner for 27 years and they have raised three children together.

2012 Bowls 024 2012 Bowls 018  2014.May6 0242012 Bowls 012 2014.May6 028 2014.May6 032


Waz.Nov2012.AWaziyatawin is a Dakota writer, teacher, and activist from the Pezihutazizi Otunwe (Yellow Medicine Village) in southwestern Minnesota.  She is committed to the pursuit of Indigenous liberation and the protection and reclamation of Indigenous homelands and ways of being. She earned her PhD in American history from Cornell University and has held tenured positions at Arizona State University and the University of Victoria where she also held the Indigenous Peoples Research Chair in the Indigenous Governance Program.  She is the author or co/editor of six volumes, including What Does Justice Look Like? The Struggle for Liberation in Dakota Homeland (St. Paul: Living Justice Press, 2008), which won the 2009 Independent Publishers’ Silver Book Award for Best Regional Non-Fiction in the Midwest, and the co-edited volume with Michael Yellow Bird entitled For Indigenous Minds Only: A Decolonization Handbook (SAR Press, 2012).  More information on her books is below, along with links to the publishers’ websites.

Outside of the academy, Waziyatawin has engaged important projects in the Dakota community.  In 1999 in her home community of Upper Sioux, she established the first Indigenous language immersion program in Minnesota and the first Dakota language immersion program anywhere.  This program helped launch the Indigenous language immersion movement in Minnesota that continues today.  She was also the founder and co-organizer of the Dakota Commemorative March, a 7-day, 150-mile walk to honor and remember her Dakota ancestors who were force-marched from the Lower Sioux Agency to Fort Snelling in 1862.  The March began in 2002 and is still held biannually.  In addition, in 2008 Waziyatawin founded the nonprofit Oyate Nipi Kte (The People Shall Live) where the pioneering reparative justice project Makoce Ikikcupi (Land Recovery) program began. That project has since branched out and achieved its own nonprofit status as of 2015 and Waziyatawin serves as its executive director.  

Waziyatawin is also committed to developing food sovereignty and food security. She has been an avid gardener for decades–a love nurtured by her grandmother who passed on to her the family’s heirloom Indian corn.  In the coming years she plans on developing with Scott a resilient and abundant food-system involving extensive perennial cultivation, heirloom gardens, grazing animals, box-elder-maple tapping, and bee-keeping.

A few of Waziyatawin’s speaking presentations:

From her Minnesota Public Radio interview in June 2016:

From her 2013 keynote at the He Manawa Whenua Indigenous Research conference in New Zealand:

From her 2011 Earth at Risk interview with Derrick Jensen:

From an interview by Jamie Utt for Everyday Feminism:

FIMOCover.LgCo-editor with Michael Yellow Bird, For Indigenous Minds Only: A Decolonization Handbook (Santa Fe: School of Advanced Research Press, 2012),

This volume features Indigenous scholars, writers, and activists who have collaborated for the creation of a sequel to For Indigenous Eyes Only (SAR Press, 2005). The title reflects an understanding that decolonizing actions must begin in the mind, and that creative, consistent decolonized thinking shapes and empowers the brain, which in turn provides a major prime for positive change. Included in this book are discussions of global collapse, what to consider in returning to a land-based existence, demilitarization for imperial purposes and re-militarization for Indigenous purposes, survival strategies for tribal prisoners, moving beyond the nation-state model, a land-based educational model, decolonization strategies for youth in custody, and decolonizing gender roles. As with For Indigenous Eyes Only, the authors do not intend to provide universal solutions for problems stemming from centuries of colonialism. Rather, they hope to facilitate and encourage critical thinking skills while offering recommendations for fostering community discussions and plans for purposeful community action. For Indigenous Minds Only will serve an important need within Indigenous communities for years to come. WhatDoesJustice3_1

What Does Justice Look Like? The Struggle for Liberation in Dakota Homeland (St. Paul: Living Justice Press, 2008),

This volume relays the history of genocide, ethnic cleansing, land theft, and brutal colonization in Minnesota while also offering a vision for how these historical harms might be addressed through an aggressive strategy of truth-telling, reparations, and decolonization. It calls on Dakota people to imagine the possibility of a liberated future and at the same time challenges the current occupiers of Dakota homeland to work toward justice as a way to not only make amends to Dakota people, but also to help ensure their own future survival. What Does Justice Look Like? won the 2009 Independent Publisher’s Silver Book Award for Best Regional Non-Fiction in the Midwest and was also selected as the October 2008 Book of the Month by Native American Calling, a national Indigenous radio show in the United States.

Footsteps Book CoverEditor, In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors: The Dakota Commemorative Marches of the 21st Century (St. Paul: Living Justice Press, 2006),

In November 1862, the U.S. military force-marched approximately 1,700 Dakota people, primarily women and children, from the Lower Sioux Agency to Fort Snelling in St. Paul, Minnesota in the first phase of Dakota expulsion from our homeland. In 2002, the first Dakota Commemorative March was held to remember and honor the victims from 1862 and to initiate community healing. This volume tells the stories in words and photographs of the 1862 forced march of Dakota women and children and the 21st century commemorative walks, highlighting the voices and perspectives of Dakota people and challenging the master narrative regarding this painful episode in American history. This is an expanded and revised version of the special issue of the American Indian Quarterly Waziyatawin guest-edited on the 2002 Dakota Commemorative March that appeared in Spring 2004. This book won the 2007 Independent Publishers’ Silver Book Award for Adult Multicultural Nonfiction. rememberthis

Remember This! Dakota Decolonization and the Eli Taylor Narratives (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005),,671772.aspx?skuid=10462.

This monograph forges completely new ground in historical scholarship because of its use and privileging of Indigenous oral narratives and Dakota language text. Stories relayed by Canadian Dakota elder, Eli Taylor, are presented in a bilingual format (with English as the sub-text), followed by an analysis of the contributions they provide to the understanding of Dakota historical consciousness, identity, and worldview. Rooted in a framework of decolonization, this work illuminates the relevance of Indigenous stories to the building of Native nationalism, and ultimately, to the empowerment of Indigenous Peoples in resistance to oppression and colonialism. The premiere press in Indigenous history published this text as part of their Contemporary Indigenous Issues series. indigenouseyes

Co-editor with Michael Yellow Bird, For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook (Santa Fe: School for Advanced Research Press, 2005),

Eight Indigenous intellectuals created this workbook in response to the urgent need in Indigenous communities for practical, hands-on, decolonization strategies. These scholars recognize that Indigenous Peoples have the power, strength and intelligence to develop culturally-specific decolonization strategies and systematically pursue their own liberation from oppression. Rather than providing solutions to Indigenous problems, this collection was designed to demystify the language of colonization and decolonization and help Indigenous communities identify useful concepts, terms, and intellectual frameworks in their struggles toward liberation and self-determination. Many aspects of Indigenous life are covered including Indigenous governance, education, language, oral tradition, diet, repatriation, images and stereotypes, citizenship, and truth-telling as healing. The workbook aims to facilitate critical-thinking while offering recommendations for fostering community discussions and plans for meaningful community action. academy

Co-editor with Devon Mihesuah, Indigenizing the Academy: Transforming Scholarship and Empowering Communities (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004),,671140.aspx?skuid=9034.

This work is essentially a sequel to the popular text Natives and Academics edited by Devon Mihesuah and published in 1998. Indigenizing the Academy continues the dialogue surrounding the crucial themes of decolonization, recovery of Indigenous knowledge, and empowerment of Indigenous Peoples. It includes essays from a diverse group of scholars who are pushing the boundaries within their own academic disciplines and speaking with strong tribal voices to help articulate an activist/tribalist approach to the challenging of the academic status quo.

4 thoughts on “Who We Are

  1. Beautiful site. Very inspirational and thought provoking. It was wonderful to meet the both of you at the Mother Earth News Fair in West Bend, WI. Good fortune to you with the rest of your build. -Richard & Becky Flatau


  2. One more thought. We were blessed to work at White Earth in Naytahwaush in 2009 and 2010. Here is who we bonded with.
    Richard & Becky Flatau


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