Winona, which means first born daughter in Dakota, is located in Southeastern Minnesota on land once occupied by Chief Wabasha the III and his band of Mdewakanton Dakota Oyate. Their encampment once sat along the stretch of the Mississippi River under the rock formation now called Sugar Loaf.
The Wabasha Oyate lived, hunted, and fished these areas up until 1851 when treaties were signed, and then ratified in 1853, forcing Chief Wabasha III to a remote reservation in western Minnesota, now called the Lower Sioux Indian Reservation.
The Otakuye Hdihunipi, which means "All relatives have come home," emerged in 2004 as a result of the Sesquicentennial Celebration of the Grand Excursion. Also known as The Dakota Homecoming, it originated as the brainchild of the Diversity Foundation and Winona city officials, groups that later gave rise to the Winona Dakota Unity Alliance.
Led by the efforts of the Diversity Foundation's Ed Lohnes and Lyle Rustad, along with the City of Winona's Mayor Jerry Miller, City Manager Eric Sorensen, and City Council Member Tim Breza, this alliance has forged a bond between Winona and the Dakota Nation that used to call this place home.