The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is located approximately 25 miles southwest of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. It lies within the geographic borders of Scott County and portions of the Community are in both the cities of Shakopee and Prior Lake.
As of June 24, 2013, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community owned more than 3,760 acres with only 1,843 acres in trust and 1,917 acres held as fee land.
The SMSC does not release specific membership information. A small tribe, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is a testament to survival in the face of extreme odds: government policies of termination, religious convictions to “kill the Indian but save the man,” removal from tribal lands, exclusion from Minnesota, racial persecution, bounties for their scalps, and more. It is a wonder that any members have survived and that the SMSC continues to thrive today.
To honor our ancestors and continue our Dakota traditions, the Community engages in a variety of cultural activities. Each August the SMSC holds a three-day Wacipi (Pow Wow) on the reservation, which celebrates Native American culture with song and dance. Dancers of all ages from tribes around the country come to compete for thousands of dollars in prize money. The day before the Wacipi, the SMSC holds a dance exhibition in the Rotunda at the Mall of America with dancers, drum groups, and a Master of Ceremony who educates the crowd about the dance styles.
The Community works to preserve cultural sites, including Shakopee Memorial Park, which contains Mdewakanton burial mounds. Children and adults are learning the Dakota language, song, and dance. Each year Community youth celebrate Dakota heritage with Young Native Pride, a free event open to the public, which celebrates Native American culture, traditions, and spirituality through song and dance. Students and their family members and staff work toward the performance for months making outfits, doing beadwork, sewing designs, cutting ribbon, making moccasins, and practicing dance styles. Each summer, youth spend several days at Culture Camp where they learn traditional lifeways, crafts, songs, and values.
A cultural center is planned to display many of the thousands of items in the Community archival collection. In the meantime, cultural galleries, which display Dakota pieces in the lobbies of the SMSC Community Center, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, and the Mystic Lake Store at the Mall of America, rotate periodically.