Prior Lake, MN – The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community today announced that it will provide $900,000 in grants to neighboring governments. The Tribe will provide $150,000 each to Scott County and the cities of Belle Plaine, Jordan, Prior Lake, Savage, and Shakopee. Specifically, the grants are for the benefit of local residents as determined by each governmental unit.
In a letter announcing the grants, SMSC Chairman Charlie Vig wrote, “Our Dakota culture includes a strong tradition of sharing. We offer this grant as a way to continue our good faith effort to work with you on a government to government basis and to build and strengthen our relationship based on mutual respect.” He concluded by saying, “I look forward to working with you on issues that impact both of our communities.”
“We are pleased to provide these grants so that local units of government have the opportunity to provide additional services for their citizens,” stated Lori Watso, Secretary/Treasurer of the SMSC.
The SMSC’s collaboration with neighboring governments has increased in recent years, working together on common projects and initiatives to improve community-wide services throughout the region. The Tribe’s economic growth has also spurred growth in the communities surrounding the reservation, boosting growth in the housing market and provided economic growth to local vendors.
Vice-Chairman Keith B. Anderson stated, “Providing local government aid in lieu of revenue sharing guaranteed by a written agreement allows for more responsible government to government interactions. This is something I’ve heard our current Chairman speak of often. This is also a continuation of our commitment to joint cooperation with local governments initiated by our former Chairman Stanley Crooks.”
SMSC Chairman Charlie Vig, who has participated in SCALE and other meetings with local government officials, said, “These cooperative efforts have provided our Community members with a greater appreciation for the challenges and opportunities facing the county and city governments surrounding the reservation. We have worked with local governments on public safety, transportation, and other infrastructure support systems in the recent past. Also, it is important that I acknowledge our tribal members. They are supportive of the work we are doing to improve cooperation between our governments and their guidance is a key factor in administering our grant program.”
The Shakopee Tribe’s governmental responsibilities have grown dramatically in recent years. As the largest employer in the area, SMSC employs more than 4,100 employees and provides good employee benefits for them, such as comprehensive health care coverage. The SMSC’s Mobile Unit is used by Scott County to provide services for local residents who are un- or under-insured. Mdewakanton Emergency Services provides ambulance and fire service through mutual aid agreements to area departments. Since 1996 the SMSC paid more than $7.5 million for shared local road construction and an additional $16.7 million for road projects on the reservation. The SMSC has also paid $13.1 million to local governments for services and another $6.4 million for other projects.