To dominate the conflux of the rivers,
the Minnesota with the Mississipi,
a place inhabited for ten thousand years,
Bdote in the local language,
Fort Snelling was built on the bluff above.
The confluence of the rivers was sacred
to the Dakota Sioux, who believed
that their first ancestors had come as spirits
from the stars, and had been made human
from the clay along the riverbanks,
with life breathed into them like a newborn’s cry.