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Prior Lake, MN – The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has awarded a $1 million grant to the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska to repair flood damage done to Casino Omaha in the summer of 2011.
Casino Omaha is a Class III gaming facility, racetrack, and a fuel plaza on the Omaha Indian Reservation near Onawa, Iowa, which opened in July 1992. During the summer of 2011, the facilities experienced flooding from the Missouri River, with damaged inflicted by both river water and ground water. The flood was triggered by record snowfall in the Rocky Mountains and near-record spring rainfall which impacted vast areas of the Missouri River Valley. At times the flooding was so severe that bridges, interstate highways, and other roadways were closed as well as river crossings extending hundreds of miles. The tribal Fuel Plaza, casino, and racetrack experienced severe damage from the flood.
Tragically, Casino Omaha had only been open about eight months after reopening October 15, 2010, after being closed for more than a year and a half because of declining business and regulatory difficulties. With new internal controls in place as well as a new management team, the casino reopened in 2010, with new coinless slot machines and a renovated gaming floor. The SMSC helped the Omaha Tribe make these changes along with debt reduction and loan consolidation with a $3 million loan and a $1 million grant. The loan and grant funds were specifically used for audits, consolidation of several debts, and a new surveillance system for their casino. Then in the flood of 2011, tribal cropland, the Fuel Plaza, and the casino itself were inundated with flood waters and the Omaha Tribe was again faced with closing their casino.
SMSC funds will help repair flood damage to the casino building itself, including kitchen and restaurant facility, and all public and private areas of the building. Funds from the Federal Emergency Management Administration will also be used for the project which will also include rebuilding the fuel plaza and racetrack in an alternate location.
“We are grateful for the previous economic development grants received and for loaning our tribe money at a time when few institutions would consider it. We desperately want to achieve self-sufficiency to meet our needs, and your support has allowed the Omaha Tribe to make slow but steady progress towards that goal. The requested economic development grant is essential for the Omaha Tribe to reopen its casino and restore tribal revenues. We have exhausted other avenues for making this a reality,” wrote Chairman Amen Sheridan in the request letter.
In February 2012 the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community was honored to host a delegation from the Omaha Tribe which visited to present star quilts and other gifts to the Community.
The Omaha Tribe is the largest tribe in Nebraska and occupies a reservation extending more than 30,000 acres in northeast Nebraska and western Iowa. Approximately half of that land is in tribal jurisdiction with the other non-tribal (allotted) land in what is commonly known as a “checkerboard” reservation. The tribal population on the reservation is about 6,500.
About the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
The SMSC utilizes its financial resources from gaming and non-gaming enterprises to pay for the internal infrastructure of the Tribe, including but not limited to roads, water and sewer systems, emergency services, and essential services to its Tribal members in education, health, and welfare. The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has a charitable giving program which comes from a cultural and social tradition to assist those in need.
Over the past 16 years, the SMSC has donated more than $229.3 million to Indian Tribes, charitable organizations, schools, and Native American organizations. The SMSC has also made more than $396 million in loans to other tribes for economic development projects. Since 1996 the SMSC paid more than $7.5 million for shared local road construction projects and an additional $16.7 million for road projects on the reservation. The SMSC has also paid $12.7 million to local governments for services and another $5 million for other projects.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, a federally recognized Indian Tribe in Minnesota, is the owner and operator of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Little Six Casino, Mazopiya, Playworks, Dakotah! Sport and Fitness, The Meadows at Mystic Lake, Shakopee Dakota Convenience Stores, and other enterprises on a reservation south of the Twin Cities.