Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

Native American Heritage

Celebrating the Rich Culture and History of Native Americans

November is a significant month for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) and Indian Country as a whole. Throughout the month, Indigenous peoples are celebrated across the nation during Native American Heritage Month and on Native American Heritage Day. At the SMSC, the month of November also brings with it the tribe’s annual CommUNITY Day event geared toward sharing Native American culture and history, as well as the SMSC's federal recognition anniversary. Read on to learn more!

Native American Heritage Month

Since 1990, the month of November has been recognized as Native American Heritage Month—a time dedicated to paying tribute to the diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of Native Americans. What began as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions Natives have made to the establishment and growth of the United States, resulted in an entire month designated for that purpose. During Native American Heritage Month, and throughout the rest of the year, the SMSC is committed to enhancing the public’s understanding of Indigenous cultures and history—including raising awareness about the unique challenges that Native people have faced both historically and in the present, and the ways in which tribal citizens have worked to overcome these challenges.

Native American Heritage Day

Each November since 2008, the U.S. has observed the day after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day, closing out the celebration of Native American Heritage Month. This civil holiday celebrates the vibrant cultures, traditions, and heritages of Native Americans while recognizing the many contributions the first Americans made and continue to make to our nation.


An annual SMSC-original event, CommUNITY Day—hosted at the SMSC’s cultural center, Hoċokata Ṫi—welcomes all to share and learn about Native American culture and history. During this educational open house, guests are invited to learn more about the SMSC and Native American culture and history, and explore the building—including the public exhibit, Mdewakanton: Dwellers of the Spirit Lake. Led by Community Members and SMSC staff, the day features an overview of topics and issues important to Indian Country, such as Native American arts and crafts, culture and language, local history, Indigenous foods, federal policy impact, gaming history, and so much more! The event is family-friendly and an opportunity to learn about the storied history and rich culture of Native Americans both past and present.

Federal Recognition

November 28, 1969 marks the SMSC’s federal recognition from the U.S. government. As a tribal nation with a history that far precedes this date, the tribe has made remarkable and sustainable progress—from establishing housing and developing infrastructure to preserving its Dakota heritage and attaining economic self-sufficiency. The tribe’s sovereignty is at the foundation of the Community—past, present, and future. It is because of the resiliency and hard work of the SMSC’s relatives and ancestors that the tribe is able to mark this occasion with pride and continue to protect and uphold sovereignty and self-sufficiency for generations to come.

What does it mean to be federally recognized?

Federal recognition signifies that the U.S. government formally recognizes the right of a distinct group of Native Americans to exist as a sovereign entity, capable of governing themselves and interacting on a government-to-government basis with the United States.

Hoċokata Ṫi

Learn more about Dakota culture and history year-round at the public exhibit at Hoċokata Ṫi.

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Learn More About the SMSC

Read about our people or visit our frequently asked questions for additional information about the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.

Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

2330 Sioux Trail NW
Prior Lake, MN 55372
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