Human Rights Commission
Omar Bonderud Human Rights Award
The Omar Bonderud Award is presented by the Bloomington Human Rights Commission to an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to ensuring the rights of people in Bloomington. Omar Bonderud was the first Chairperson of the Bloomington Human Rights Commission, formed in 1968.
Stephanie Hope Smith
Stephanie Hope Smith has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Omar Bonderud Award for her work in the Dakota community. Smith assisted Chief Looking Horse and the Dakota in the organization of the 2011 World Peace and Prayer Day. The event included a two week horse ride culminating at Bdote, MN (the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi River near Fort Snelling).
A focus of the event was reconciliation and healing of the forcible removal of Dakota from this area following the US-Dakota Indian War of 1862. Smith assisted the Dakota in navigating the process in many communities, including Bloomington to utilize proper road and park permits. This included a visit to the Pond Dakota Mission site in Bloomington.
In addition, Ms. Smith penned the Bdote Peace Accord, which was signed by Governor Mark Dayton. This is a 4-year ongoing dialogue acknowledging Bdote as a sacred site and how best to manage the site. Smith has also spoken with thousands of students and professionals on her work with the Dakota. Smith's work continues today with an August 2013 appearance before the United Nations presenting the Universal Code on Holy Sites. Stephanie Hope Smith is another example of how one person can make a difference.
Lorinda Pearson, Human Services Division Manager