The Minnesota Goose Garden is a botanical sculpture garden based on Ojibwe history and located in east-central Minnesota. It was created to preserve and promote education of the flora used by the Ojibwe tribes for food, medicine, utility and ceremony. The Ojibwe belief was that EVERY type of plant has a use, given to them by the Creator: Gitchi Manitou. There were no weeds in the Ojibwe world!
Documentation of the flora used by the Ojibwe began in 1989, and planting began in 1991. Over the span of twenty-two years, these unique sculptures have grown into beautiful, three-dimensional shapes, some of which will reach a height of 80 feet. The Minnesota Goose Garden displays three living sculptures which include a Canadian goose in nesting position (830 ft long), a gosling (150 ft long), and a nest (70 ft in diameter.)
Enjoy walking a mile of paths through the world's largest living sculpture. Signs with photos and information regarding the use of each plant are posted in the garden and brochures are available as well. Animal and human-likeness sculptures are also found inside the garden.
Meet Woman Blown by the Wind (Nih soo shih way yah she kway). She greets you along with Ethnologist Frances Densmore as you explore the paths inside the Minnesota Goose Garden. Also placed among the flora are 23 sculptures (some are still in process.)
Totem animals were the Ojibwe form of government and defined individuals, and can be found along the paths. The five largest totems are: Black Bear, Caribou, Grey Wolf, Canada Lynx and Moose.* Other totems include: Timber Rattlesnake, Bald Eagle, Sandhill Crane, Channel Catfish, Common Loon, Pine Marten, Northern Pike, Merman, Double-Crested Cormorant, Canada Goose, White Sucker, Sturgeon, Lake Whitefish, North American Beaver, Herring Gull, Red-Tailed Hawk.
*Partial funding for these sculptures was made possible by a grant from the East Central Regional Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Partial funding for the dozer work, purchase of flora and the Minnesota Goose Garden sign was made possible by a grant from the East Central Arts Council (ECAC) and the East Regional Development Commission with funds appropriated by the McKnight Foundation.