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Shakopee Mdewakanton Announce $7.3 Million in Tribal Grants

Monday, April 19, 2010

Prior Lake, MN – The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community announces their second round of fiscal year 2010 tribal grants totaling $7,318,000 to seven American Indian Tribes and an intertribal Indian college. Donations of $1 million each will go to the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, the Kickapoo Tribe, the Omaha Tribe, the Santee Sioux Tribe, and the United Tribes Technical College. The Shoalwater Bay Tribe of Washington State will receive $750,000 and the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Wisconsin will receive $568,000.

The Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas will receive $1 million for construction of an administrative center. The Center will house the tribal government and will feature a community meeting room and kitchen. The two-story building will have more than 26,000 square feet to house the offices of the tribal council members, public relations, legal department, a conference room, and break room.

The Kickapoo Indian Reservation is located forty miles north of Topeka, Kansas, and ninety miles northwest of Kansas City, Kansas. The reservation is five by six miles and is home to approximately 800 of its 1,650 members. The tribe manages a farm, tribal law enforcement department, a tribal court, clinic, fire department, school, water plant, Boys & Girls Club, and the Golden Eagle Casino.            

In fiscal year 2007 the SMSC made a grant for $250,000 to the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas for a new 14,000 square foot Boys & Girls Club facility. In fiscal year 2008 they received a $1 million grant for land purchase.

The United Tribes Technical College has been approved for a $1 million matching grant for a

math, science, and technology facility contingent on themreceiving a similar donation or combination of donations from any other charitable source, foundation, tribe, government grant, or individual between now and September 30, 2010.

In previous years, the SMSC funded $100,000 for student housing; $500,000 for a wellness center to serve students, children, faculty, staff, and community members; and $250,000 for construction of a 28,000 square foot, two-story dormitory.

The United Tribes Technical College is a fully accredited inter-tribally controlled higher education institution governed by the five tribes located in North Dakota. Its tribal owners are the Mandan, Arikara, and Hidatsa Nation; Spirit Lake Tribe; Standing Rock Sioux Tribe; Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate; and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Annual enrollment is over 1,000 students from 66 different tribal nations around the country. UTTC was the second tribal college in the country, opening in 1969. Today there are 35 tribal colleges in Indian Country.

The Omaha Tribe in Nebraska will receive $1 million for casino renovations to reopen CasinOmaha which opened in 1992 but closed in 2009. It featured 430 gaming machines, eight table games, and a restaurant. Renovation plans include the addition of a coinless slot machine system and a complete renovation. This summer it is expected to reopen.

We appreciate the assistance that the Shakopee Mdewakanton have given us,” said Omaha Tribal Chairman Amen Sheridan.

In fiscal year 2008 the SMSC gave the Omaha Tribe a $3 million loan and a $1 million grant for debt reduction and loan consolidation. The Omaha Tribe is the largest tribe in Nebraska and occupies a reservation extending over 300,000 acres in northeast Nebraska and western Iowa. The Omaha Tribe lives approximately 80 miles north of Omaha on a reservation between Sioux City and the Missouri River. The Tribe today consists of over 6,000 members, with nearly 2,500 residing on the reservation. Their headquarters is located in Macy, Nebraska.

The Omaha Tribal Council confronts many of the same important issues as policy makers do at the state and federal levels. Employment, health care, education, public safety, and quality of life issues dominate the Omaha Tribal Council’s attention. These contemporary public policy challenges are influenced by the Omaha Tribe’s traditional culture and values.

The Leech Lake Band of Chippewa will receive $1 million to help improve the economy on the reservation in northern Minnesota, specifically, development of the Band’s Shingobee Island property into a restaurant/marina near Walker, Minnesota.

The Leech Lake Reservation, established in 1855 by treaty with the United States government, is one of six Ojibwe (Chippewa) reservations that comprise the federally recognized Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. The reservation primarily consists of forests, lakes, and wetlands, few towns (none larger than 1,000 people), and 14 Indian communities that are separated by distances of up to 80 miles. More than 6,200 people live on the Leech Lake Reservation, which has an unemployment rate of approximately 30%.

In previous fiscal years the SMSC also funded housing units, a gas station at the Northern Lights Casino, renovations to the White Oak Casino, a well drilling truck and equipment, Leech Lake Tribal College, and other programs.

The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe will receive $1 million for construction of a convenience store in West Brule near the tribal justice center, tribal government offices, and the local Bureau of Indian Affairs as well as cluster housing areas. The 5,667 square foot convenience store will feature a four pump gas station and will provide much needed jobs and services for the community as a whole. Soil testing began in the fall of 2009 for the project which is expected to open in 2010.

The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe is part of the Oceti Sakowin, the Seven Council Fires of the Dakota Nation. The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, also known as the Kul Wicasa Oyate, is located along the Missouri River in central South Dakota on the Native American Scenic Byway. It is approximately 60 miles southeast of Pierre, South Dakota. Reservation population is 2,600 on a total area of 221,646 acres in Lyman and Stanley Counties.

The Santee Sioux Tribe will receive a $1 million grant for youth development, security, tourism, redevelopment of their Shop EZ, Lakeview gas station/convenience store in Santee,language programs, energy assistance, mental health development, elderly assistance, community services, the buffalo program, the tribal building, and the tribal ranch.

As you have seen, the projects that we have started have been great successes and are models for other Tribes to emulate. The Santee Tribe has been able to not only survive the recession but has in fact become stronger and more competitive. I would as always like to express my gratitude to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and Business Council for its support and past donations, as I have said in the past ‘you have given us a hand up and not a hand out.’ It is my great hope that we continue the relationship that we have established and have continued over the past years and that we all live up to our Dakota values of generosity and respect by providing hope, support,  and success to each other, including all of our Indian brothers, sisters, children, and families. Thank you,” wrote Santee Chairman Roger Trudell.

The Shoalwater Bay Tribe will receive $750,000 for construction of a convenience store. In fiscal year 2007 the SMSC gave them a grant for $486,415 for community improvements and tribal programs. In 2001 the SMSC donated $91,888 to the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe for a gymnasium. The Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe is located on a little over 334 acres along the Pacific coast in southwestern Washington State (about 80 miles west of Olympia). It is a small tribe in an isolated location trying to address issues related to poverty.

Without the help of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Tribe, our dreams would not be coming true. It’s so hard to express how truly important your gift is to our community and what the short and long-term effects will be! We hope that we will someday be in the position to share our wealth with other tribal communities, following the example you have set,” wrote Tribal Chairwoman Charlene Nelson.

The Lac Courte Oreilles Band will receive $568,000 to complete an early Headstart center funded by $2.6 million in American Recovery Act (Stimulus Bill) funds. Requirements of the ARA grant are such that the project must be completed by September 30, 2010. With their other funding source unexpectedly unavailable, the project was in danger of being cancelled and the entire ARA funds lost if the SMSC grant had not been approved.

The new Early Childhood Center, which will combine an existing Headstart facility with a new early Headstart, will provide services to 88 children ages birth to kindergarten. Since there is no daycare facility on the reservation, it is especially needed. The facility will provide employment for 23 full time and eight part time positions in addition to construction jobs during the summer. With an unemployment rate of 66% on the reservation, every position is crucial.

Full operating costs for the Early Childhood Center will be funded by Headstart after the second year. ARA will fund operating costs the first two years. Groundbreaking will be held in May, and sustainable building practices like structural insulated panels and insulated forms for the basement and other materials like steel roofing will be used to reduce energy use for the building once constructed.

Already in fiscal year 2010, $1 million grants were announced to the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and Yankton Sioux Tribe all of South Dakota; the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa of Minnesota; and the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe of North Dakota.

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