Before European Contact
In the 1640s, the first recorded non-Indian contact with the Dakota took place. For the next 200 years, our ancestors tolerated the presence and ever increasing numbers of non-Indians encroaching on their homelands.
The Treaty and Reservation Era
Aftermath of The Dakota War
Twentieth Century Life
Life on the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community was like that on many other reservations. Deficient government policies had left us with dirt roads, inadequate housing, and few prospects for a better future for our children. Health care, educational opportunities, and steady employment on the reservation seemed only to be a dream. During the early 1970s, Community members depended on food subsidies, and low paying jobs were the norm. But Mdewakanton Dakota families did not give up. Through a number of tribal initiatives, members created a health care program, a childcare facility, and a home improvement program.
The Arrival of Indian Gaming
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community continues its infrastructure improvements and growth in the new century. Since 2000 the Community has dedicated the Tiowakan Spiritual Center and Community Cemetery, completed second and third hotel towers, opened a storage and archival facility, completed the Playworks LINK Event Center, opened The Buffet at Mystic Lake, opened a Mystic Lake retail store at The Mall of America, and completed Phase III and Phase IV at Dakotah Meadows RV Park. The Community has completed construction of new parking ramps, built Dakotah Parkway, and opened a new championship golf course, The Meadows at Mystic Lake. In 2001 the SMSC developed a professional fire department called Mdewakanton Emergency Services. The department now responds to an average of 200 calls a month and provides mutual aid to area departments upon request. Ambulance service was added in 2004, and monthly transports average 60.
On May 30, 2005, a Veterans Monument honoring tribal veterans was dedicated on the grounds of the Tiowakan Spiritual Center.
In 2006 a state-of-the-art Water Reclamation Facility was completed which utilizes biologically aerated filter technology to treat water for reuse as irrigation for the golf course. The building also houses the largest Green Roof in the Midwest, over 30,000 square feet containing more than 45,000 plants. The WRF also produces vast quantities of treated biosolids which are useable as fertilizer. In its first year in operation the WRF won three prestigious awards for excellence.
In March 2007 the SMSC 0pened a pharmacy at the Dakota Mall to provide services for Community members, employees, and their families. In September 2007, the SMSC opened a Wellness Center which initially features a Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Care Clinic. A vision clinic is planned for 2008.
Ground was broken September 13, 2007, for an innovative venture to generate electricity using agricultural byproducts. Called Koda Energy this environmentally friendly project is a joint venture with Rahr Malting of Shakopee. Waste from malting and food processing will be burned to generate electricity. Considerably cleaner than a coal plant, this "green" biomass energy generation project will some day be able to provide energy for all Community needs with excess available to sell to others. The project is expected to be operational by December 2008.
A second Shakopee Dakota Convenience Store opened in October 2007, offering the same great service and products as the first SDCS. In the fall of 2007 a new Entertainment Center opened at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel which contains the Mystic Showroom and a new Bingo Hall. Construction also began on two projects (a second ice arena at Dakotah! Sport and Fitness and an addition to the fire station) which will feature “green” initiatives. The fire station addition will contain solar panels and skylights and will utilize daylight harvesting to conserve energy. The second sheet of ice will contain a green roof, daylight harvesting, and skylights.
Construction to relocate Little Six Casino across the parking lot to the original site of Little Six Bingo took less than a year to complete. The new Little Six Casino opened to the public on December 14, 2007, on the site where the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community first introduced High Stakes Bingo and Indian Gaming to Minnesota October 16, 1982, changing life for the Community dramatically.
The success of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community's enterprises has allowed the Community to create and provide numerous education, health, and social service programs for Community members, staff, and Native Americans living in Scott County.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is proud to be a leader in sharing its prosperity with other Tribes and Communities by making charitable donations. Over the past several years the SMSC has donated more than $115 million to charitable organizations and Indian Tribes, including a gift of $12.5 million to the University of Minnesota for a new football stadium and for an endowment for scholarships in 2007.
The SMSC also provides much needed employment opportunities for more than 4,140 Indian and non-Indian people from the surrounding area. 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.
Today, Mystic Lake Casino Hotel is known as one of the largest and most successful Indian-owned casinos in the United States and is one of the largest tourist attractions in the Upper Midwest. It is in the forefront of gaming technology and is a leader in the hospitality industry.
To honor our ancestors and continue our Dakota traditions, the Community engages in a variety of cultural activities in addition to our annual Wacipi. The Community works to preserve cultural sites. Children and adults are learning the Dakota Language, song, and dance. The SMSC story is being told to a wider audience through the distribution of videos, commercials, informational and town hall meetings, the internet, and kiosks.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota are proud of our accomplishments, and we honor our ancestors, for it is because of their strong sense of survival and pride in being a Dakota, that we have the ability to prosper today.
For more information please visit the SMSC website: http://www.shakopeedakota.org
© 2007-2012 Indian Affairs Council.
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