Mahkato Revitalization Project shares indigenous culture

Emily Erck
Staff Writer

Born and raised near the Rosebud Indian Reservation, Megan Schnitker, now living in Mankato, is the founder of the Mahkato Revitalization Project. 

The Mahkato Revitalization Project is a non-profit organization, but does offer Lakota made plant products, homemade soaps, and personal care products. Now a Mankato Resident for four years with her husband Ethan and six daughters, a lot has happened since she first moved here. 

Before she came to Mankato, she taught Lakota and Dakota history and culture for 14 years all around South Dakota. 

She was often caught teaching at her mom’s nonprofit in South Dakota, as well as learning plant medicine from a friend in Mission, South Dakota. 

While co-teaching the class, she picked up a lot of information about plant medicine, and started her own research through books, and Youtube. 

She has taught kindergarten through college, community groups, Blue Earth Circle Society, in the Omaha School District, and whoever else requests her to speak about the Lakota and Dakota culture.

When she moved to Mankato four years ago, she had been there previously to teach at Education Days for the Powwow in Mankato. That is where she met her current husband, Ethan. 

After they got married, they partnered for a short time on a non-profit dedicated towards a community based recovery program. Unfortunately, they ended up having to move on from the non-profit and she became a stay-at-home mom.

As much as she loves spending her time with kids, she felt the urge to do more. She described herself as a person who cannot sit still for too long and missed teaching. 

She talked to her husband about how she felt, and together they came up with the idea of the Mahkato Revitalization Project.

When asking her the goal of the organization, she responded, “The goal of the Mahkato Revitalization Project is to share the history and culture of the Indigenous people because it is not taught in the public school systems.” 

Not only does she want to share the history and culture with other Indigenous people, but anyone that is interested in learning and becoming more informed. 

She wants to make an impact and have their culture included in the nation’s history.

Along with being the founder of the Mahkato Revitalization Project, she is also involved by being a chair on the board of the Indigenous People’s Committee and the Vice chair on the Mankato Powwow Board.

Wednesday, September 11th, Megan came to the Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Women Center and held an interactive lecture on Lakota Women’s Medicines and coming of Age Ceremonies. 

During the lecture, she taught the group about different plant medicines and the combinations to use for each illness. She also discussed the dangers and precautions you must take when using plant medicines. 

To enhance the discussion, she brought supplies for the audience to make medicine pouches similar to the pouches the Lakota and Dakota people make.

The main objective Megan wants her audiences to receive from the lectures and classes is that her entire goal is to teach.

 She appreciates questions because she knows there is different avenues to asking and learning about the Indigenous culture and plant medicine.

There are also other ways to get involved with the Mahkato Revitalization Project, such as taking classes, learning skills one on one, or requesting a lecture.

To become more involved with this organization and other ones like it, everyone is invited to the 47th Annual Mahkato Wacipi (Powwow), Sept. 20-22, at Land of Memories Park, as well as Indigenous People’s Day Celebration, Oct. 11-14, throughout the community and on campus.

Header photo by Emily Erck | MSU Reporter.

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