Prior Lake, Minnesota – Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Director of Land and Natural Resources Stan Ellison has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 Taimi Lynne Hoag Award for Environmental Stewardship by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5. Both an attorney and a geologist, Ellison has been an employee of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for 19 years; he is also a veteran of the United States Army.
SMSC Chairman Charlie Vig and Tribal Administrator Bill Rudnicki traveled to the meeting where they joined other tribal leaders at the award presentation on February 14, 2013, at the Region 5 Tribal Operations Committee (R5TOC) Tribal Caucus meeting in Chicago. This was in conjunction with the annual Tribal Environmental Program Management Conference. Representatives from tribes in Region 5 attended.
Chairman Vig spoke as part of the award presentation. He said, “All of the land on this continent was Indian land originally, and our connection to it is part of what makes us Indian. We’re not going anywhere; this land is our home. We’ve been its caretakers for years and will continue to preserve and protect it for future generations.”
Vig continued, “We are proud of Stan for helping us preserve and protect the land on our reservation for these many years. He has been involved in many innovative programs including our Koda Energy facility, installation of our wind turbine, and our Organics Recycling Facility.”
In accepting the award, Ellison said, “Thank you all for the honor but in actuality, nearly anything attributed to my actions is really the result of the vision and leadership provided by the Shakopee Sioux Community Business Council and General Council and the cooperative efforts of tribal leaders and environmental staff throughout the Region 5 tribes. Twenty years ago, I was working with a small nucleus of tribal environmental staff that has grown into large, competent and active group of professionals. These people and the tribes they work for are the real leaders in environmental action in Indian Country. I thank all of you, and the staff of the Agency, for your efforts. On a final note, please remember that tribes were here before the United States, against all odds they managed to survive to today and they are not going away. It is incumbent on all of us to protect the resources that provide sustenance, both physical and spiritual, to Indian people and, in fact to all people.”
The R5TOC Tribal Caucus established the Taimi Lynne Hoag Award in March 2003 to recognize significant contributions in environmental management or environmental stewardship by a tribal government leader, manager, or staff person. Taimi, who was a leader at the regional and national levels for environmental protection in Indian Country, served as the Environmental Director for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians from 1999 until her untimely passing in December 2002.
“My congratulations on your selection. You should know that we received many statements of strong support for your nomination from across the Region; your colleagues clearly believe this selection is well deserved,” wrote C. Darrel Harmon, Director Indian Environmental Office, EPA Region 5, in the award letter.
Ellison was nominated for the award by numerous organizations and individuals, including the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy; Main Street Project; Environmental Initiative; Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; Izaak Walton League, Minnesota Division; Intertribal Council on Utility Policy; and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
About the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community
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, The Meadows at Mystic Lake, and other enterprises on a reservation south of the Twin Cities. 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 members in education, health, and well-being.
A tribal charitable giving program which comes from a cultural and social tradition to assist those in need has given away more than $258.2 million to Indian Tribes, charitable organizations, and schools since 1996. Through the Mdewakanton LIFE Program, the SMSC has donated 775 Automated External Defibrillators to tribes, schools, police and fire departments, and other organizations with 21 lives saved due to their use.
The SMSC has also made more than $523 million in loans mostly to other tribes for economic and infrastructure development projects. Since 1996 the SMSC paid more than $7.6 million for shared local road construction and an additional $16.7 million for road projects on the reservation. The SMSC has also paid $14.4 million to local governments for services and another $6.4 million for other projects. Total construction spending by the SMSC since 1990 is more than $758.7 million.