The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued an apology Friday for failing to include the Dakota word for “thank you” in one of its newsletters.
“Yesterday we sent out the latest issue of the Trailblazer newsletter with a theme of gratitude. Today I’m sharing with you our deep regret for unintentionally omitting wópida, which is the Dakota word for ‘thank you,’ from what we had intended to be an inclusive message of thanks,” Ann Pierce, director of the DNR’s Parks and Trails Division, wrote in an email Friday.
“With that omission,” Pierce continued, the DNR “failed to represent the Dakota people.”
“It is commonly stated that the Dakota people are invisible in their own homeland. This incident demonstrates the truth in that statement,” she said.
Pierce said it was brought to her attention that the “omission of the Dakota language in our newsletter felt like a form of erasure, which is something the Dakota people have experienced in multiple ways.”
“With this email, we want to acknowledge this truly regrettable omission and apologize to all Dakota people and all readers of the Trailblazer,” she added.
Pierce assured readers that her division works with “the experts of the cultures we represent so we can get it right.”
“We’re committed to learning from our mistakes, and we’ll continue to work collaboratively to represent the Dakota accurately and all people who share the geography of Minnesota,” she concluded, issuing a corrected version of the newsletter.
The corrected newsletter now includes the Dakota, Ojibwe, Spanish, German, Italian, Somali, Hmong, Greek, and English versions of thank you.