Shakopee mdewakanton sioux community



Community Members

Frequently Asked Questions about the
Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community


Where did the name Shakopee come from?

The word Sakpe [shock-pay] is a Dakota word meaning the “number six.” It refers to a historic Dakota leader, Chief Sakpe, who was leader of a village that was located along the river where the modern city of Shakopee now exists. Tribal members are descendants of the Dakota who lived in this area before European settlers arrived. The town of Shakopee is named after this Dakota leader and his village.

What was life like in the twentieth century for the Shakopee Mdewakanton before Indian gaming?

Life was difficult, with few jobs and limited prospects. Before Indian Gaming came to Minnesota, the roads leading to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community were dirt or gravel. There were few houses, and few resources for Community members. Health and dental care were insufficient as were educational and housing opportunities. Jobs were scarce, and SMSC members faced economic hardship.

How did the SMSC become so successful?

Many different economic development initiatives were tried before SMSC Chairman Norman Crooks suggested bringing Indian Gaming to Minnesota in 1982. With support from the General Council, the SMSC began the process of bringing high stakes bingo to the SMSC. Community members worked very hard in the early days to set up the Bingo Hall, working many long hours and late into the night to get everything ready for opening day. It was a successful opening, and suddenly there were jobs, with Community members working in all areas of the bingo operation as security guards, maintenance staff, and in other positions throughout the facility. Community members continue guiding the SMSC Gaming Enterprise today, serving on the Gaming Enterprise Board of Directors and the Gaming Commission and through the actions of the Business Council and General Council.

With the arrival of Indian Gaming, this new source of economic opportunity brought many changes to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. Tribal Government services grew, and opportunities for the tribe and its members increased. Jobs were available for everyone.

During the 1990s, the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community continued its transformation from an economically distressed reservation to one of the most economically successful Indian tribes in the United States. In this new era of self-sufficiency, the Community used its inherent sovereign rights and growing economy to purchase additional lands and to radically improve its economic base. In 1992 Mystic Lake Casino was unveiled, and the impact was incredible. The SMSC was able to provide a new level of service and infrastructure to Community members with increased health and dental services, childcare, educational opportunities, and more.

What is the official name of the Shakopee Tribe?

The official name is the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community but the Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota Community is also acceptable. For a second reference the SMSC, the Community (capitalized only), or the Shakopee Tribe can be used. The SMSC is not a band, so it is inaccurate in a modern context to refer to it as one. (That term is generally used in Minnesota to refer to Ojibwe or Chippewa tribes.) Since there are several Mdewakanton communities in Minnesota, it is essential in referring to the SMSC to distinguish which community by using the word "Shakopee."

Please note: It is unacceptable to use Mdewakanton Community or Mdewakanton Tribe without using the word “Shakopee” before these phrases since there are two other Mdewakanton Communities in Minnesota.

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