Shakopee mdewakanton sioux community



Community Members

A Good Neighbor to Local Communities

Good Neighbor

To the Shakopee Mdewakanton, being a good neighbor is an extension of the cultural tradition of being a good relative. The Dakota people believe that all living beings are relatives and should be treated with dignity and respect, as well as helped in their day-to-day lives. The common expression Mitakuye Owasin [mee-tah-ku-ay oh-wah-seen], “We Are All Related,” is often used to end prayers and ceremonies. The SMSC is grateful for the opportunity to not only provide significant financial assistance to other tribes and charitable organizations through a charitable giving program but also to contribute to its neighbors in many other ways, some of which are highlighted below.

Intergovernmental Agreements Reached

To improve life for all area residents, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and the Prior Lake, Shakopee, Scott County and other governments have worked cooperatively on many projects over the years. The governments have signed more than 67 agreements since 1969 covering police and emergency services, road upgrades, emergency sirens, equipment sharing, sales taxes, well head protection, burial mounds, cultural resources, ground water policy, traffic signal installation, watershed districts, and more.

The SMSC makes voluntary annual payments to cover the cost of services provided by local jurisdictions. Since 1996 the SMSC has made total inter-governmental payments of $30,190,448 million to Scott County and other jurisdictions.

In April 2012 the SMSC, the City of Prior Lake, and the Prior Lake/Spring Lake Watershed District reached an informal agreement to study the current status and potential for habitat restoration on Arctic Lake with the intent of decreasing nutrient outflows and restoring native plant and fish populations.

In February 2012 the Shakopee reached an agreement on sharing land information with the City of Shakopee, the City of Prior Lake, and Scott County. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was approved between the parties with the goal of reducing conflict in the future regarding land use and other issues which have arisen in the past. The intergovernmental agreement was approved by both cities February 21, 2012, whereas the SMSC Business Council approved it February 10, 2012. Scott County approved it February 28, 2012.

The MOU establishes an Intergovernmental Working Group (IWG) consisting of two members appointed by their respective government which shall meet at least once each three-month quarter to identify and investigate issues of concern to the Governments. The IWG may establish Technical Working Groups of elected, appointed, or retained experts to study and recommend solutions on matters of mutual concern, may receive and review the reports and recommendations of these working groups, and periodically shall develop and recommend solutions to the Governments in keeping with the intentions of the MOU.

The IWG will serve as a forum for enhancing intergovernmental relations, resolving intergovernmental disputes, and joining in mutually beneficial cooperation in service to their citizens. The IWG may investigate and discuss alternatives to litigation for resolving disputes among the Governments and shall recommend to the Governments such alternatives as may be appropriate.

It is the Governments’ intention that productive and respectful government-to-government relations among them be based upon the following principles:

  • Conflicts of jurisdiction that may from time to time arise should be resolved through productive problem solving, collaboration and cooperation that serves to minimize or eliminate intergovernmental dispute and litigation.
  • Mutually-agreed upon cooperative agreements, memoranda of understanding, and similar instruments of cooperation may be appropriate means of establishing respective roles and responsibilities in intergovernmental relations and undertakings.
  • When shared interests warrant, joint and cooperative efforts should be undertaken in dealings and interactions with other governmental and non-governmental entities.
City of Prior Lake

As part of an agreement with the City of Prior Lake, the SMSC continues to fund a City of Prior Lake police officer position housed on the SMSC reservation. This officer is detailed to serve for two years and works out of an office at the Mdewakanton Emergency Services Fire Station. Since 1997 this police liaison officer has served residents of the SMSC as well as Prior Lake residents. The SMSC makes a contribution of $400,000 each year to the City of Prior Lake for this and other services.

The SMSC and the City of Prior Lake have worked together on numerous projects over the years including a mutual aid agreement for the two fire departments and ambulance service and the sharing of asphalt maintenance equipment and sewer equipment. Other projects include the installation of warning sirens; $450,000 for lighting at Ryan Park; $25,000 for a permanent skate park; funding for SWAT team ballistic vests and helmets; and more.

Scott County Agreement

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and the Scott County Board of Commissioners have an intergovernmental agreement in which the SMSC makes annual contributions of $280,000 to Scott County for services. The funds are allocated towards road maintenance, county administration, the Sheriff’s Office, and County Attorney’s Office.


While the SMSC is not legally required to pay for improvements to the system of roads and highways that lead to its reservation, it has a history and practice of supporting projects which are mutually beneficial. The county in which a reservation lies is legally responsible for these projects. However, to be a good neighbor and to better meet the needs of members and guests, the SMSC has paid more than $7.6 million for shared road construction projects since 1996 and an additional $16.7 million for road projects on the reservation. The SMSC has also paid $14.4 million to local governments for services and another $6.4 million for other projects, like Dakotah Parkway.

In 2005 the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community purchased $17.5 million in bonds for road construction from Scott County. The sale of the bonds funded construction of the Highway 169 Interchange at CR 64/Highway 25 in Belle Plaine. Scott County and the City of Belle Plaine developed a frontage road project that removed several access locations on Highway 169 in May of 2005. This section of Highway 169 which was replaced with a freeway had the highest accident severity rate in the State of Minnesota at the time.

In 2008 the SMSC fully funded the installation of two stoplights on county roads which pass through the Community. The SMSC has also granted more than 50 acres of right of way to other governments for construction of county roads flowing through the area.

An upgrade of County Road 83 was completed in 2010 to increase vehicle capacity as well as pedestrian and vehicle safety. The road was reconstructed to a four-way divided roadway with bituminous trail from County Road 42 to County Road 16. The SMSC paid $4.5 million of the $7 million reconstruction project cost. The remainder of the cost of the project was shared between Scott County and the City of Prior Lake and Shakopee. Including this project, the SMSC has paid more than $11 million for construction of county roads through the reservation in recent years.

In a related project, Scott County and the SMSC reached an agreement on County Road 21 which now extends from County Road 18 to County Road 42. The four-lane divided highway provides a direct link with Highway 169. The SMSC provided easements on approximately 24 acres for roadway and utility purposes for this project.

County Roads 42 and 17/Marschall Road
The SMSC, Scott County, and the City of Shakopee cooperated on a reconstruction project for the intersection of County Roads 42 and 17/Marschall Road. Federal and tribal funds were used for the project with the SMSC contributing $1.65 million of the project, with an estimated total cost of between $5 and $7 million. This intersection had a high crash rate with four fatalities since 2005. In addition to making this a safer intersection, grade separation provides  for efficient movement of traffic, an overpass carries traffic north on CR 17, separate exit and entrance ramps dramatically decrease the possibility of t-bone accidents, and  trails and storm water treatment are included. Construction was completed in 2012.

In addition, the SMSC leased 12 acres to Scott County for 25 years with an option to extend the lease an additional 25 years for a 545-space Eagle Creek Transit Station or “Park and Ride.” The site is located near Highway 169 and the County Road 21 extension.

Adopt a Highway

Since 1992 the SMSC has participated in the Scott County Adopt a Highway program. Litter is picked up on County Roads 42, 82, and 83 on a regular basis. A tribal family has also adopted a section of County Road 16 for clean-up. The Scott County Adopt A Highway program began in 1991 as a way for citizens to serve their community and protect the environment.

Mdewakanton Public Safety

Mdewakanton Public Safety is a full-time, professional fire and ambulance department staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As an exercise of governmental authority Mdewakanton Public Safety serves Community members, guests and patrons of the Community, and residents of nearby communities by request through mutual aid agreements. Each month the department responds to an average of 150-200 calls with 60 medical transports.

Several times a year Mdewakanton Public Safety conducts trainings to enhance readiness. During several mock crashes over the years, staff from Mdewakanton Public Safety participated along with the Minnesota State Patrol, Shakopee Police and Fire Departments, Allina, and North Memorial Medical Center’s Air Care helicopter.

Mdewakanton Public Safety also provides emergency medical training including Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), First Responder, and American Heart Association CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) classes.

The SMSC Mobile Unit can also serve as an Emergency Command Center under the direction of SMSC Emergency Services personnel.

For the past 10 years Mdewakanton Emergency Services has provided an opportunity for local youth to learn about the fire service through Mdewakanton Fire Post 9100. Post members devote more than two hours each week learning what fire fighters do. The SMSC Explorer Post 9100, which began in October 2003, has members from Shakopee, Prior Lake, and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community ranging in ages from 14 to 17. Explorers are a national career education program which provide life experiences to help youth grow into the leaders of tomorrow through hundreds of Explorer groups across the country. To participate youth must maintain an overall minimum grade point average, and they also have attendance requirements for Explorer functions.

Mdewakanton LIFE Program
Through the Mdewakanton LIFE Program, the SMSC has donated 787 Automated External Defibrillators to tribes, schools, police and fire departments, and other organizations with 23 lives saved due to their use, 12 of those in Scott County.

Applications are available online at

Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency (SCALE)

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is proud to be an active member of the Scott County Association for Leadership and Efficiency (SCALE). Representatives from local governments including the SMSC, Scott County, local townships, school districts, and cities in Scott County make up SCALE, which meets monthly to discuss ways to collaborate. The primary purpose of SCALE is to encourage greater efficiencies and leadership in public service through enhanced communication, collaboration of services, and sharing of resources. The SCALE Joint Training Facility for police and fire departments opened in 2008 in Jordan, Minnesota.

Organics Recycling Facility

The SMSC opened an Organics Recycling Facility in the fall of 2011 on trust land off County Road 83 which is open to the public. Local haulers transport materials to the facility where they are ground up and mixed together following a science-based recipe that carefully blends carbon, nitrogen, and moisture. The output is then placed on a windrow pad, a designated area which contains the rows, and turned every three days. The materials are then screened and ready for use after about 12 weeks.

In a unique collaboration, the ORF is available for use at no charge to neighboring governments. Shakopee, Prior Lake, Savage, and Scott County bring their leaves, brush, and other organic materials to the site, saving their governments money and promoting good will among the tribe’s neighbors. Organic waste from school lunches in the Prior Lake Savage School System are also hauled to the site, saving the school system money and teaching the youth about the environmental benefits of composting food and other organic waste.

Dakotah! Ice Center

In late 2008 the SMSC opened Dakotah! Ice Center, a 72,000 square feet facility which contains a second sheet of ice. Dakotah! Ice Center is home ice for the Prior Lake High School girls’ and boys’ hockey teams, as well as the Prior Lake Savage Hockey Association. During the spring and summer seasons, the Ice Center hosts youth and adult tournaments, several Junior ‘A’ tryout camps, and youth camps.
At a ribbon cutting and open house on December 19, 2008, local dignitaries and residents gathered along with members of the Business Council to dedicate the facility.

Jack Haugen, Mayor of Prior Lake at the time, spoke at the event, talking about the way the facility benefited the local area and promotes good will and understanding between the SMSC and Prior Lake residents. “The SMSC truly understands the nature of partnerships. This is a tremendous gift to our community, and it represents the strength of the relationship between the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and the City of Prior Lake. I appreciate all you’ve done for the community and for the City of Prior Lake,” he said.

The Dakotah! Ice Center contains a number of innovative, environmentally friendly features including a 32,648 square foot green roof; a compressor system and heat exchanger to take the waste heat from the ice-resurfacing equipment and redirect it through the concrete in the floor to heat the bleachers; eight skylights coupled with daylight harvesting sensors to reduce energy usage; and 16 solar panels atop the roof to heat water for use in the ice-resurfacing equipment.

DSF Lakefront Days Triathlon

The eighth Dakotah! Sport and Fitness Lakefront Days Triathlon was a great success. Held on Saturday, August 3, 2013, at Cleary Lake Regional Park, Prior Lake, Minnesota, the event was a prelude to the city’s annual Lakefront Days celebration. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community co-sponsored the event along with the City of Prior Lake, the Three Rivers Park District, and Cleary Lake Regional Park. The triathlon drew 244 participants from surrounding areas and included a team event for the first time.

Oicimani Media Center

The SMSC’s library has more than 12,046 items in its collection and is mostly dedicated to Native American materials. The collection includes books on the Dakota, history, biography, geography, government, sociology, anthropology, religion, science, health, literature (fiction, poetry, drama, and journals), art, music, dance, arts and crafts, and education (including curricula). There is also a juvenile section and an extensive audio/video section. Indian newspapers and magazines are also available. Books on gardening and children’s materials have recently been increased, and adult fiction has also been added. Oicimani Media Center is open to researchers, students, and educators by appointment only.

Economic Impact

Millions of dollars are pumped into the area’s economy each year as a result of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s successful business enterprises. The SMSC provides much needed employment opportunities for Indian people and thousands of non-Indian people from the surrounding area.

The SMSC is a powerful economic influence in the areas of employment, vendor purchases, construction, and voluntary payments to other governments. For example, more than $136.8 million is made in payments to vendors annually for goods and services. In addition, the annual payroll is $157.1 million for tribal enterprises and the tribal government, and $29.7 million is spent in annual benefits for employees. Total construction spending since 1990 is more than $758.7 million.


The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community owns and operates enterprises which provide services both to its members and to the larger community as well as jobs for local residents. A total of 4,200 employees, many with good benefits, including on-site medical care, work for the SMSC, the largest employer in Scott County.

The SMSC Gaming Enterprise provides jobs at its Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Little Six Casino, The Buffet, Mystic Steakhouse, Minnehaha Café, Mystic Express, The Meadows Bar & Grille, The Coffee Bar, Fusion Noodle Bar, Mystic Deli, Tipi Restaurant, and the Little Six Restaurant.

  • Dakotah! Sport and Fitness is the area’s premier family fitness center. Thousands of local residents enjoy good health by working out at Dakotah!’s facilities which include a double gymnasium, two sheets of ice, an indoor pool, an indoor track, rock climbing wall, fitness floor, group fitness facilities, more than 10,000 pounds in free weights, a bowling alley, and the new Dakotah! 24, with 24 hour member access. Dakotah! also sponsors a 5K Turkey Trot, an indoor triathlon, and the DSF Lakefront Days Triathlon.
  • Dakotah Meadows RV Park has 122 paved, back-in, pull-through RV sites with electric, water, and sewer hook ups. Dakotah Meadows also has six tipis painted with Dakota designs available for overnight rental during the warmer months. The RV Park features showers, laundry facilities, a pavilion for group gatherings, picnic tables, barbeque grills, a fuel center, and a Self-Serve RV Wash.
  • Dakotah Meadows Mini Storage features ground level, indoor storage units, both heated and unheated, 24-hour access, and security surveillance.
  • Playworks is a one-of-a-kind, world-class facility for children, open to the general public for Summer Camp, birthday parties, PW’s Playtime (drop-off hourly care), Family Play, and group trips. Playworks offers contracted child care to SMSC employees and a Before and After school program that is open to the public.
  • Playworks LINK Event Center is a 9,000 square foot, full-service banquet facility designed with flexible space to accommodate small and large events, banquets, receptions, meetings, and all manner of group gatherings.
  • The Meadows at Mystic Lake is an 18-hole championship golf course located next to Mystic Lake Casino Hotel. The award winning course was named one of the Best New Courses in the country in 2006 by Golf Digest; multiple annual honors followed. 
  • Two Shakopee Dakota Convenience Stores provide fuel, car washes, fresh and frozen foods, beverages, and household and automotive items.
  • Mazopiya, a natural food market focuses on selling clean, organic foods. Mazopiya offers classes, hosts a weekly Farmer’s Market in season and is a Community hub for healthy living and wellness activities. 
  • South Metro Federal Credit Union is a community-chartered, federal credit union, providing a wide range of financial products and services for everyone living, working, or worshipping in Scott County, Minnesota. Though not an SMSC enterprise, it was started with a capital contribution by the SMSC.
  • The SMSC Water Bottling Facility opened in July 2008 at the corner of Orion Road and County Road 82 in Prior Lake, Minnesota.  The facility bottles water for gaming and non-gaming enterprises and for outside customers looking for high quality water bottled in a variety of sizes.
Blood Drives

For 25 years the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has sponsored blood drives as an active participant in the local community. Typically three blood drives are held each year at Dakotah! Sport and Fitness with additional drives held specifically for Team Members at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel.


The SMSC enters partnerships with local entities when it is to the benefit of both parties and meets goals that the SMSC tribal members and Business Council have set.

St. Francis Regional Medical Center
A longstanding relationship between the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and St. Francis Regional Medical Center of Shakopee, Minnesota, was formalized through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in May 2012. The agreement was signed May 17, 2012, by SMSC Chairman Stanley R. Crooks and St. Francis President Mike Baumgartner. The MOU resulted in the creation of Witaya Care. Witaya Care’s goal is to foster a relationship between the two parties to share and maximize resources for the betterment of tribal members and employees by establishing a working partnership of dialogue, coordination, collaboration, resource-sharing, and measurable results.

Canterbury Park
On June 12, 2013, Canterbury Park Holding Corporation and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community announced a ten-year cooperative marketing agreement. Highlights of the new agreement include:

  • Substantially increased purses for live races during Canterbury Park’s race seasons through a purse enhancement program funded by the SMSC, a commitment totaling approximately $75 million over the life of the agreement.
  • New joint marketing opportunities between Canterbury Park and SMSC’s Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, taking advantage of their proximity to one another in the southwest corner of the Twin Cities metropolitan area, including annual payments to Canterbury Park for joint marketing totaling $8.5 million over these ten years.

Koda Energy
Koda Energy is a joint partnership of the SMSC and Rahr Malting, a 164-year-old company in Shakopee. The facility, which began operating in May 2009, is a combined heat and power plant which generates electricity and heat utilizing agricultural byproducts and grown energy crops. Koda Energy is an environmentally friendly energy project and is considerably cleaner than a coal plant. Products burned in Koda Energy are agricultural and plant seed byproducts, materials which do not deter land from use as row crops. This biomass energy generation project provides energy for Koda Energy and Rahr Malting, with excess sold to Xcel Energy. The project gets its name from the word “Koda” which means "friend" in the Dakota Language. Koda Energy was honored by Friends of the Minnesota Valley in 2009 with the Leadership in Stewardship Award for their corporate leadership on conservation issues in the Minnesota River Valley.

University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota and the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community have worked together on several important projects, most notably on the SMSC Endowed Scholarship at the University which has provided scholarships to 112 students to date, the Minnesota Tribal Nations Plaza and TCF Bank Stadium. Grants totaling $14.5 million supported these projects. SMSC members and Marketing Department staff worked with the University on the content and design of the Plaza. Representatives of the SMSC helped create the guidelines for the scholarship and continue to sit on the Scholarship Selection Committee.

The SMSC has also donated more than $100,000 to the University of Minnesota Cancer Center and another $96,435 to support other programs, research, and scholarships, such as $20,000 in grants to the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry for scholarships and $10,009 for an epilepsy study.

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