In 2007 there was no wind turbine keeping its silent vigil over the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. There was no organic garden and no natural food market. These are just a few of the changes the SMSC has undergone during the time period of January 2008 through December 2011. Omakatob Wowapi, the Four Year Report, which was released in late 2011 by the SMSC, details these and other changes to the tribal Community.
Continued growth and development in all areas of the Community are chronicled in the 70 page, full-color, glossy report which describes activities of the Business Council, tribal sovereignty, land trust actions, services, enterprises, and infrastructure.
“Our strong tribal economy has allowed us to better provide all Community members with the best government services available. With the successes of the SMSC over the last four years, we have strengthened our tribal sovereignty and protected our Dakota culture. The Community, through its Business Council and with the support and confidence of the General Council, has built on the foundation that was laid by our predecessors. Our children, grandchildren, and, indeed, seven generations to come will have a bright and a healthy future,” said SMSC Chairman Stanley Crooks.
The chapter “Caring for Tribal Members” describes services provided by the SMSC for its members which include health and dental services as well as chiropractic care, vision care, and physical therapy. Educational services include afterschool and summer programs such as Artist in Residence, which introduces tribal youth to various types of art.
Major infrastructure improvements which occurred over the four year period are described. The construction of a new water well, the extension of sewer lines between the north residential area and the Water Reclamation Facility, and the construction of two Reverse Osmosis facilities are highlighted. Over the four year period, the SMSC spent nearly $300 million on infrastructure development and construction.
The section on economic enterprises describes the significant development of tribal non-gaming enterprises, with the opening of Mazopiya, a natural food market and the Dakotah! Ice Center. Two newly redesigned holes were featured at The Meadows at Mystic Lake. Both Shakopee Dakota Convenience Stores were remodeled and a new customer loyalty program initiated. A Water Bottling Facility began operations. Two “green” buildings were built to LEED standards.
At the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Gaming Enterprise, there were additions and improvements such as the remodel of the interior of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, the opening of the new Italian bistro Il Premio, construction on an outdoor amphitheater, and the installation of a License Plate Recognition system which has helped local law enforcement capture criminals. In 2011 the SMSC Gaming Enterprise was named one of the Star Tribune’s Top Workplaces in the state based on a survey of employees.
The chapter “Caring for the Environment” describes some of the new initiatives undertaken in recent years as well as summarizes successful programs. The growth of Mdewakanton Wozupi, the tribe’s organic garden, first planted in the spring of 2010, and its Tribally Supported Agriculture program is highlighted in the report. An update on the new 17-acre Organics Recycling Facility which opened in the fall of 2011 to process organic material such as leaves, wood, grass clippings, and food scraps into compost is provided.
With a goal of providing electricity and energy in an environmental responsible manner, the SMSC continues operation of several energy projects leading to energy self-sufficiency. Koda Energy, a biomass facility co-owned with Rahr Malting of Shakopee, continues to produce heat and electricity by burning agricultural waste products. Used vegetable oil from deep fryers in tribal restaurants is converted to biodiesel to fuel tribal vehicles and equipment. Excess vegetable oil and motor oil are burned to heat the Public Works Building and garage bays. A massive 1.5 mw wind turbine was installed at the SMSC Pow Wow Grounds in October 2009.
A separate chapter covers charitable giving over the four year period which totaled $127,978,110. Of that amount, $115,569,180 went to Indian tribes for economic development and community improvements. Over the same four year period, $253.8 million in loans has been extended, with a total loan portfolio of $419.1 million.
The chapter “Economic Influence” describes how the SMSC, as the largest employer in Scott County, directs proceeds from tribal government enterprises, including gaming, back into the reservation and surrounding communities. Voluntary payments to local governments, taxes paid, and construction dollars spent are also discussed.
The final chapter illustrates how the SMSC’s maintains government to government relationships by working together for the good of the larger community. More than 78 agreements have been signed between the SMSC and local governments since 1969 covering police and emergency services, road upgrades, emergency sirens, equipment sharing, sales tax agreements, well head protection, protection of burial mounds, cultural resources, ground water policy, traffic signal installation, watershed districts, and more. Road construction projects in recent years include the redevelopment of County Road 83, the extension of County Road 21, and the new intersection at Marshall Road and County Road 42. Since 1996 the SMSC has paid more than $7.5 million for shared local road construction projects and an additional $16.7 million for roads on tribal lands.