Our office is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, across the Mississippi River from Fort Snelling and less than a mile from the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. This area marks the beginning of a special landscape known as the driftless region that extends south and east into parts of Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. The driftless region escaped the flattening effects of retreating glaciers during the last ice age and is consequently characterized by steep, forested ridges, deeply carved river valleys, and geology made distinct by spring-fed waterfalls and cold-water trout streams. Ecologically, the Driftless Area’s flora and fauna are more closely related to those of the Great Lakes region and New England than those of the broader Midwest and central Plains regions. Westward from here are the wide open grasslands that long ago featured thousands of grazing bison. North and East are the deep woods and rocky shores of the Boundary Waters, and the thousands of trickling streams that are the headwaters of the Mississippi.
The landscape of the Twin Cities of Saint Paul and Minnesota is particularly beautiful and fertile—it is a central attractor and feature of life here. The shapers of our city paid particular attention to public open space, we have hundreds of parks, parkways, bikeways and outdoor spaces that are a large part of our wellbeing, daily rhythms, and sense of belonging. We grew up here and we feel deeply connected to this place, yet, this land is not our land.
Despite the connections that may have been formed, we are relative newcomers to this land . Only in the mid 1800’s—just a few generations ago—white settlers began making claims on this land, claims based on deception, disruption, theft and genocide. This land was stolen from the people who lived here for thousands of years.