For over three decades now, the United States government's policy toward Indian tribes has been to encourage self-sufficiency and self-determination. The SMSC, like a growing number of tribes, is able now to experience - once again - true self-sufficiency. After over 150 years of forced dependence on the federal government, we are taking care of ourselves.
An overriding goal of the Tribe is to build a strong and united community where the Dakota history and culture is preserved. One way to accomplish this is to maintain a tight knit community where tribal members live near each other and actively participate in tribal governmental affairs.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community is a sovereign government, possessing wide-ranging authority over its membership, lands, and governmental affairs. The SMSC Business Council, SMSC Gaming Enterprise, and the Gaming Commission are three distinct tribal entities which play differing roles in operating the Community's gaming and non-gaming activities on a day-to-day basis. The Business Council governs, SMSC Gaming Enterprise manages, and the Gaming Commission regulates gaming operations.
Enrolled members of the Tribe ages 18 and older comprise the General Council, the governing body of the Tribe. Community members are also shareholders in Community enterprises. The General Council elects a three-member Business Council every four years, as is mandated by the Tribal Constitution. The Business Council is responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the Tribe and for implementing the decisions of the General Council.
The Business Council consists of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and a Secretary/Treasurer. Authority ranges from performing a specific, limited task to a general delegation of broad authority by the General Council. The main governing function of the Business Council is to promote the health, education, and welfare of Community members and their families now and for generations to come.
The present SMSC Business Council is: Chairman Charlie Vig, Vice-Chairman Keith B. Anderson, and Secretary/Treasurer Lori K. Watso.
The main role of the SMSC Gaming Commission, a tribal government entity, is to ensure that gaming conducted by the Community is conducted fairly, honestly, and in compliance with all applicable laws. The Gaming Commission serves as the regulatory body. The Commission regulates all gaming operations on the reservation and issues licenses to all gaming facilities, gaming devices, employees, and vendors. The Commission ensures that all applicable ordinances, regulations, and laws are followed to ensure the complete and uncompromised integrity of the game. They also monitor compliance with internal controls.
The Commission itself is comprised of five elected shareholders (Community members) of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community who serve staggered, four-year terms and are called Gaming Commissioners. The Gaming Commission is made up of a Commissioner of Gaming, an Assistant Commissioner of Gaming, and three general members of the Commission. The Commissioner of Gaming serves as the administrative head of the Commission staff. The Commission meets twice a month to vote on resolutions for formal actions. Gaming Commissioners and staff are subject to a background check and must qualify to be licensed. The Gaming Commission also inspects, reviews, and oversees all gaming contracts, records, books, and financial documents relating to the conduct of gaming to determine compliance with all applicable laws.