Brothers Danny and Dave Seaboy came from Sisseton, S.D., to visit their ancestral homeland and celebrate the second annual Great Dakota Gathering and Homecoming at Lake Winona in Lake Park on Saturday.
Danny teaches kindergarten through eighth-grade students about the Dakota language and culture at a school in Sisseton.
While in Winona, Danny, his brother and their families along with other Dakota taught Winonans and each other what it means to be Dakota.
"There are many things I don't want my children or grandchildren to know, because I want them to hold on to their culture," Danny Seaboy said. "The Dakota have had hard times, but our humor has helped us survive."
On the other hand, Dave Seaboy said "(The Dakota youth) need to learn the other people's ways, too."
He said he would like to create scholarships for Dakota students so they could attend Winona State University.
"We want our kids to better themselves economically, socially and spiritually," he said. "This is their ancestors' land. What better place could there be?"
Speakers came from as far away as Manitoba, Canada and Nebraska.
The reunion grew from 20 to 100 Dakota this year. The Dakota organizers hope to bring even more next year, possibly in buses.
Hereditary chief Leonard Wapasha also spoke during the truth-telling sessions.
"I am really proud of my Dakota people and of the Winona people who came out to see us," he said.
After the truth-telling session, there was a monument dedication next to the lake. Winona Monument donated the stone marker dedicated by city council members Tim Breza, Deb Salyards and Debbie White.
The inscription on the stone says, "Otakuye Hdihunipi - 'All relatives have come home'" and has the dates of the first reconciliation and homecoming on it.
During the dedication there was a light rain sprinkling.
"It has rained for the last two years. It's a sign of healing," Wapahsa said.