The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux (Dakota) Community is a federally recognized Indian tribe formally organized under federal reservation status in 1969. Tribal members are direct lineal descendants of Mdewakanton Dakota people who resided in villages near the banks of the lower Minnesota River. Chief Sakpe, [Shock-pay], which means “number six” in the Dakota language, was leader of a village that was located near what is today the town of Shakopee, which was named after him. The SMSC presently owns more than 3,760 acres of land, all of which are located within or near the original 250-acre reservation established for the Tribe in the 1880s. Of that amount only 1,843 acres are held in trust by the federal government, protecting it forever from loss, theft, or swindle. Tribal lands are located in Prior Lake and Shakopee, Minnesota, located in Scott County.
As a sovereign government, the Community provides a multitude of services to its members, including health and dental care, social services, a full range of educational offerings, land administration, and public works services. The SMSC utilizes its financial resources from gaming and non-gaming enterprises to pay for the infrastructure of the Tribe. The SMSC builds and maintains roads; constructs and maintains water, wastewater, and sewer services; offers educational programs for youth; plows snowy streets; maintains environmental safeguards; monitors wildlife and wetland conditions; and utilizes alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power. The SMSC has a full time fire department and ambulance service, Mdewakanton Emergency Services, which each month responds to an average of 150-200 calls and transports 60 patients.
The SMSC has established intergovernmental agreements with the City of Prior Lake and Scott County for a number of projects. The SMSC also voluntarily makes payments to local governments for police protection and other services.
In 2013 a number of intergovernmental agreements, both formal and informal, were made with local governments, including Scott County, the City of Prior Lake, and Shakopee.
In February 2012 the SMSC signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding with Scott County, Shakopee, and the City of Prior Lake to work cooperatively to resolve land and other issues which have caused controversy in the past.
The SMSC has voluntarily paid Scott County and other jurisdictions $30,190,448 over the last seventeen years for services even though this is not required by law. SMSC payments have funded things like road projects, park improvements, wastewater and sewer fees, property taxes, transit and SCALE studies, emergency sirens, and police and fire protection.
Since 1996 the SMSC paid more than $7.6 million for shared local road construction 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. Total construction spending by the SMSC since 1990 is more than $758.7 million.
Millions of dollars are pumped into the area’s economy each year as a result of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community’s successful enterprises. The SMSC provides much needed employment opportunities for Indian people and thousands of non-Indian people from the surrounding area.
As the largest employer in the county, the SMSC employs more than 4,200 and is a powerful economic force. The SMSC payroll annually is over $157 million. Annually, federal taxes paid by employees of the SMSC are more than $15.3 million; state taxes are more than $6.2 million; FICA taxes are more than $6 million. Total payments to all vendors annually is $136.8 million, with annual payments totaling $10.2 million for goods and services to 226 vendors located in Scott County.
A total of $13.2 million in income related taxes are paid for and by SMSC employees who live in Scott County.
The Community financially supports a number of charitable causes both locally and nationally. Since 1996, the SMSC has donated more than $272 million to Indian Tribes, charitable organizations, schools, and Native American organizations. The SMSC has also made more than $523 million in loans to other tribes for economic development projects.
Through the Mdewakanton LIFE Program, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community donates Automated External Defibrillators to tribes, schools, police and fire departments, and charitable organizations. More than 789 AEDs have been donated through the program, with 23 lives saved due to their use, 12 of those in Scott County.