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Minnetonka's Path to Reconciliation with Indigenous Communities

Credit: Minnetonkal | Women's Thunderbird "Animikii" Hardsole | NATIVE DESIGNED

Introduction to Minnetonka's Journey

Minnetonka, a renowned Minnesota-based shoe company, has embarked on a meaningful journey towards reconciliation with Indigenous communities. This journey, which took a significant turn in 2020, involves acknowledging past missteps in cultural appropriation and taking concrete steps towards making amends.

Historical Context and Acknowledgment

Founded in 1946, Minnetonka has become a staple in the community, known for its iconic moccasins among other products. The company's recent efforts to reconcile with Indigenous communities stem from a deep-seated recognition of the importance of listening, understanding, and acting upon the lessons of cultural appropriation. This acknowledgment came to the forefront following the civil unrest in Minneapolis after the tragic murder of George Floyd, propelling the company's commitment to reconciliation into a top priority.

Credit: Minnetonkal | Lucie & her son, Animikii

The Apology and Its Impact

A pivotal moment in this journey was the public apology issued by Minnetonka in the summer of 2020. This act of vulnerability was a significant step, marking the beginning of a series of actions aimed at fostering genuine relationships and collaboration with Indigenous designers and communities. For those interested in reading the full statement, you can find it on Minnetonka's website: Our Commitment to the Native American Community.

Collaboration with Indigenous Designers

Key to Minnetonka's reconciliation efforts is the collaboration with Indigenous artists and designers, such as Anishinaabe artist Adrienne Benjamin and Red Lake Nation citizen Lucie Skjefte. Skjefte, in particular, has made a notable contribution with the redesign of one of Minnetonka's classic moccasins, the Thunderbird Animikii. This redesign is not just a shoe; it's a story, a tribute to Skjefte's Anishinaabe heritage, and an act of reclamation and sharing of Indigenous culture.

Credit: Minnetonkal

Building Long-term Relationships

The collaboration goes beyond design; Minnetonka is committed to building long-term relationships with Indigenous designers and communities. This includes ensuring that designers like Skjefte own the rights to their designs and receive royalties, as well as supporting Indigenous non-profits like the Mni Sota Fund, which aids Indigenous people in Minnesota.

A Testament to Meaningful Action

This journey of reconciliation Minnetonka has embarked on is a testament to the power of acknowledgment, apology, and action. By collaborating closely with Indigenous communities and artists, Minnetonka is taking meaningful steps towards respecting and uplifting Indigenous cultures.

To learn more about Minnetonka's reconciliation efforts and the impactful stories behind their collaboration with Indigenous designers, I encourage you to read the original article by Morgan Wolfe on Their journey is a powerful reminder of the importance of listening, understanding, and acting with integrity when it comes to cultural appropriation and reconciliation.


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