Lunch and Learn

Learn something new over your lunch hour. Lunch and Learn programming at the Minnesota Humanities Center features community leaders who inform and engage on important community issues. All Lunch and Learn activities connect to Humanities Center programs, so there is always an opportunity to continue learning after the lunch and to share what you have learned with others. We hope that you can join us at one of the upcoming Lunch and Learns.

Previous Lunch and Learns


Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - Mnisota Makoce, an Indigenous Place: Exploring Bdote

“The name of the state of Minnesota comes from the Dakota language. The Dakota language is written on the landscape of the Twin Cities, in place names from Mendota to Anoka. The language is a reflection of deep connection to this place. This is a place where Dakota people started. We were here to greet the explorers and traders who arrived in the 1500’s. We were here to greet the soldiers who arrived in the 1800’s.” (

Come and hear Mona Smith, creator of the Bdote Memory Map, talk about Minnesota as an Indigenous place. As you challenge assumptions made about Dakota history and identity, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the significance of places in Minnesota like Minnehaha Falls, Coldwater Springs, and the Mississippi River to this land’s first people.

Mona Smith has been a long-time partner of the Humanities Center, designing the Bdote Memory Map, gathering and sharing Absent Narratives, and creating the Between Fences video. She continues to work with the Humanities Center on the Omaha Public Schools program and helps the Humanities Center staff to better understand Minnesota as a Dakota place. Mona, a Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota, is a multi-media artist, educator, and co-founder of Allies: media/art. Her new media work includes art projects for the web, and multimedia installation work, most notably, Cloudy Waters; Dakota Reflections on the River (Minnesota History Center, 2005 and permanent audio installation at the Mill Ruins Courtyard at the Minneapolis Riverfront 2011), City Indians (Ancient Traders Art Gallery, Minneapolis, 2006-2007), MniSota Dakota Home, (Form+Content Gallery), Presence, a multimedia/performance event, (Mill City Museum, 2010 and 2011, and BV Studios, Bristol, England, 2011), Between Fences, (The Box Studio and Performance, Galway Ireland, 2012), and the Humanities Center’s Bdote Memory Map. Mona owns the media art and research company, Allies, LLC and heads the media division, Allies: media/art since 1996. She is a member of the PLaCE (Place, Location and Context and Environment) Research Consortium based at the University of West England in Bristol, and is a member of the Mapping Spectral Traces International Network. Her artistic and educational practice uses image, sound and place to work ‘between,’ the place of healing, of relationship, of meaning, where spirit and physical, life and death, fear and strength, night and day intersect.

March 20, 2013 - Got Poetry? Poetry in Your Pocket, Poetry Out Loud, and Poetry for Lunch (PDF)


October 25, 2012 - Why Treaties Matter: Sovereignty and Treaty Rights as Economic Tools (PDF)
August 23, 2012 - The Secret Behind Minnesota’s Thriving Latino Business Centers (PDF)
June 28, 2012 - Firsts: Minnesota's African American Groundbreakers (PDF)
April 26, 2012 - Prayers on the Prairie: Muslim in Minnesota (PDF)