To sustain the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for generations to come, land is needed for housing, cultural purposes, educational services, and government offices.
Land held in trust by the United States government is protected from being taken, sold, or otherwise lost. The history of Indian lands is a history of lost lands. Since millions of acres of tribal land were lost through unscrupulous dealings largely by government entities, non-Indian settlers, and opportunistic traders, the promise to hold land in trust protecting the land in perpetuity is especially important to Indian people.
Only 1,606.62 acres of 3,361.36 acres held by the SMSC are currently in trust. Taking land into trust to be protected under the responsibility of the United States government provides a level of protection from future loss that is very effective. It guarantees that the tribe will not lose the land by theft, swindle, mistake, or by the acts of unscrupulous governments. Trust status allows the SMSC to fulfill the policy of self-determination and be responsible for its own lands.
Over 20 years ago the SMSC General Council adopted the first Tribal Building Code in the country. It was updated in March 2003 to adopt international building standards, including the International Residential Code, International Building Code, mechanical codes, and fire codes. The Minnesota State Building Code was adopted by reference. The Uniform Building Code is used as a reference for existing structures.
The SMSC is the first Tribe in the state to have its own building code and inspection program and, in fact, one of the few nationwide that have its own adopted code and program. The SMSC also established a Fire Code, a Zoning Code, and erosion control requirements, which are enforced on the reservation. These standards ensure high quality residential and commercial construction that provides a safe and comfortable environment for our members and guests.
The SMSC's Zoning Code delineates which areas of the reservation can be used for specific purposes, such as housing and gaming. The General Council as part of the Consolidated Land Management Ordinance adopted this code.
The SMSC follows best practices in all its policies and procedures when it comes to construction projects. SMSC inspectors hold certification by the State of Minnesota and the International Code Council as building officials and plan examiners. The building inspectors enforce building codes; problem solve in a variety of areas including site development and erosion control; issue building, mechanical, plumbing, and land use permits; and assign addresses and administer a database of addresses. They monitor and maintain exiting strategies for all buildings to make sure there are enough doorways and exits and that escape corridors are fire protected. They monitor the initial installation of fire protection systems, do plan review on sprinkler systems, and check them periodically, working in conjunction with SMSC Emergency Services on fire and public life safety issues.
The Dakota way is to plan for the Seventh Generation, to make sure that resources will be available in the future to sustain life for seven generations to come. Conserving and protecting the earth today ensures that there will be food, trees, natural areas, traditional wild foods and medicines, cultural resources, and open spaces in the environment for coming generations to not only survive but also to thrive. A staff of biologists, water resource specialists, technicians, managers, and others in the Land and Natural Resources, Public Works, and Cultural Resources Departments fulfill that mission.
The SMSC is committed to clean, natural foods and conducts activities to support this goal:
The SMSC is committed to alternative forms of energy:
Other activities which support environmental stewardship: